Scholarship Student Has Malaria…Malaria Nets

Alex and James saying goodbye in March

When James and I were talking a couple of days ago he said that he had not seen Alex at school for a while and had heard he was sick. Alex is the student that I am sponsoring so I asked James if he could find out more. As so often happens events overtook his efforts and Alex has been back at school at least part of the past two days. Apparently he has malaria. Please pray for Alex to recover fully from this dreadful disease. He is a very smart young man who is working hard to learn and helps to support his widowed mother.

This reminds me again of our frustration in finding any way to get nets to the village. Let me vent a bit. When we arrived at the school in March we saw a woman carrying her baby up the steep hill on the road past the school. She greeted us and we went over to visit with her and learned that her baby, at most two years old had malaria. The baby was visibly very ill and it made us very sad.

We contacted Nets for Life to see if we could arrange for some nets to be distributed in the village. They said that they do not distribute in that area. They, not unreasonably, focus on areas which have been designated as higher risk areas with a more dangerous strain of malaria.

We also learned that even those who can afford nets cannot get them unless they go to Nairobi.  They are not for sale in Kitui. The reasons we were given were: the nets are only available in barrels of 16,000 (I may be a little off on that number but that is the order of magnitude). A small shopkeeper cannot afford to purchase an entire barrel and store the nets until they sell. They do not have a large enough customer base or the funds to make such a large purchase on speculation. Also, the large NGO’s distributing nets  have created a demand for the nets so there are not many nets available. An unintended consequence of some of the very good work being done…The flutter of beautiful butterfly wings causing a cyclone.

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