When the Me and My Net team went to Nairobi and Dar es Salaam for Malaria Youth Summits earlier this year we asked all the young people attending to tell us their Malaria Story.
We collected stories from ninety participants, each telling us how malaria has affected them. Some of recount when they had malaria themselves, others talk about when members of their families were suffering, others when they learnt about Malaria at school. The stories highlight the importance of bed nets. Many of those with memories of suffering with malaria were not using them at the time, or had old nets with holes in them.
Below are just two examples…
“I have a cousin, who is very young, her age is 4 years old, she lives with her mother who doesn’t care about the importance of sleeping under a mosquito net. She believes that, there are no mosquitoes to bite them. One day, I don’t remember the exact date, but I think it was in January, the girl woke up in the morning, she felt every part of her body aching, then she felt very wide as if she was in a bridge or near a mountain. Because of her youngness she started crying because of the different which appeared on her body. Then her mother realised that there were something different in her baby’s body – she touched her baby’s body, her temperature was very high, then what she did, she took her to the hospital, but it was too late, the baby’s eyes started to change, they became very yellow, the mother got into a fear, she knew that her baby is dying. She rushed to the hospital and the baby was in a critical condition, then the doctors checked the baby, and they found that she has malaria and her condition was very bad. After the check up, the baby was unconscious for a long time and after she woke up, she was given medicine, then she felt better. The doctors gave some advice to the mother about the use of mosquito nets. Since that day my cousin and the whole family are always sleeping under the net. “
Zainab, age 11
“It’s so cold. No one talks, walk or shouting. The village was so quiet. Everybody at the village took themselves in heir homes. In that village there was a girl, her name was Wande. Her tribe was a sukuma. She was so beautiful, charming, respectful in fact she was a very good girl. One day when my mother sent me to my uncle, I hear a voice and when I listen it carefully, I hear my friends name, her name is Wande. She was aging, weak in fact she was weak and suffer. No body in the house was there. The house was so silent. The voice which you can hear is only Wande’s voice. Her mother travelled to Arusha because there was her sister’s wedding. When I enter to their house I saw Wande crying. When I told her to take her to the hospital she refused because in their tribe has the tribalism. When I convince her, she refuse again. When I tried to convince her, the door was knocked. I went then I open the door. When I open I saw her brother Maganga. Manganga was the first born in their family. He went to London for education. When he enter in, he saw his sister Wande crying and he asked her ‘what’s wrong?’ she required ‘ I have a fever’ M: ‘how do you tell?’ W: ‘my head aches, my stomach hurts too.’ M: ‘nothing else?’ W: ‘I have been vomiting since yesterday.’ M: ‘so did you go to the hospital?’ W: ‘I go to the witch doctor and he give me a natural medicine muarobaini. I drunk it but there’s no solution’. M: ‘come and I will take you to the hospital’. W: ‘no, out tribalism doesn’t want us to go to the hospital. Our god will never forgive us.’ W & M; ‘No’ they shouted for one house and then Wande agreed to go to the hospital. The doctor gave then the mseto medicine and Wande starts to use it. For a week, Wande was so strong and she start using the Olyset net. Now she is strong.”
Miriana, age 13
The stories have been entered into the Royal Commonwealth Society’s Jubilee Time Capsule – the world’s biggest online time capsule. The Jubilee Time Capsule is collecting people’s stories and memories since 6th February 1952 (when Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II ascended the throne) to mark HM The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and sixty years as the Head of the Commonwealth. The Me and My Net entries will join 22,000 other entries – one for each day of HM The Queen’s reign - to tell the story of the modern Commonwealth. Find out more and share your own malaria story at www.jubileetimecapsule.org.
Click here to see all the Me and My Net entries in the capsule.