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The Buzz on Mosquitoes

October 17, 2011

I’m not a big fan of mosquitoes. And yet I keep traveling to places where they are abundant and carrying multiple deadly diseases. A week before we left for Honduras, our entire group had to start a round of anti-malaria medicine to protect us while we were there. Sunday night became my routine time to take these pills. This is probably the third or forth time I’ve been on anti-malaria pills for the duration of a mission trip. This is the first time I’ve bought a mosquito net to sleep under at night.

Trying to avoid bites under the mosquito net.

Instead of wondering why I’m traveling to places where I’m risking bites from disease carrying bugs, I tend to just feel spoiled. Spoiled because I know there are thousands of children dying every day of malaria, a perfectly preventable and treatable disease. Spoiled because I can simply take a pill, or rather two pills a week for seven weeks. That’s all it takes for me to avoid malaria. I wear long pants and spray deet all over myself to avoid bites from the incessant buzzing pests. Yet somehow, even with all the precautions, they attack. So I get covered in red, itchy annoying bites. But that’s all they are…red, itchy, and annoying. Not life threatening like they would be for so many others in less abundant parts of the world.

Perhaps instead of spoiled I should feel blessed. Blessed that I have access to healthcare for immunizations, preventative medications, and treatment of anything I encounter. Blessed that I have been born to privilege and have knowledge of and access to these things. Blessed that I don’t have to be afraid of a tiny little buzzing mosquito that could easily cause my demise.

There are so many who are not so lucky, so I wish to share my blessings as much as possible. It has become my tradition that every time I start a dose of anti-malaria pills, I give thanks to God, and purchase a treated mosquito net from $10 is all it takes to buy a net that can cover a family of four sprayed with an insecticide that lasts four years. It comes hand delivered to a family in need by a trained leader who teaches how it should be used. It offers a break from the incessant buzzing; it offers a bit of hope and a new chance at life.

So as I sit here scratching my pesky bites, I give thanks to God that my deepest concern is itching. I give thanks that I can purchase a net to be sent to a family in need of protection. And I give thanks for the chance to share this resource with others who I know also care deeply about saving lives and might join me in purchasing a net. Won’t you help me kill the buzz?

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