related to malaria, according to WHO. Fear is a constant companion for parents of young children, but bed nets help everyone sleep more soundly. “The net is doing very well,” Adama says. “When I have it, the mosquitoes don’t bite.” The project is providing nets first to children under 5 and pregnant women—the most vulnerable. In Sierra Leone, 18 percent of children die before their fifth birthday, which is the highest rate of under-5 deaths in the world, according to UNICEF. Pregnancy reduces a mother’s immunity, making her more susceptible to malaria, which increases the risks of miscarriage, still birth, and low birth weight. By preventing malaria, bed nets are saving lives. Katiatou, 20, is also a mother of three children, ages 6, 3, and 9 months. She works as a petty trader selling snacks, but when a child is sick, she not only has to pay for medical care, but she also misses work and the income that comes with it. Her older children have both had malaria. “I can’t work when they’re sick,” she says. “The net helps.” Fatmata, 75, lives in a one-room home with four grandchildren, including an infant granddaughter. Their mother died from Ebola, and their father passed away years earlier. The grandmother once had a soap-making business, but the last time Kroo Bay flooded, the waters carried away all her supplies— and her livelihood. At least now there is one thing she doesn’t have to worry about. Before, she and the children were sick from malaria periodically, but with the new bed net, she can sleep peacefully, knowing they are protected from disease-carrying mosquitoes. “Blessings on the church [that gave the nets],” Fatmata says.
Although Alusine and the others receive a small stipend for their work, he says, “We’re not doing this for the money. We do it because of the community.” Cole originally asked how the church could help because of work that the group was already doing. “I met them when they were doing the work for free, with no tools,” he says. Henry, 32, also helps with the clean-up efforts. “All my life I’ve lived here, and things are getting worse,” he says. “I won’t sit back and watch my people die, my community go down the drain.” Kroo Bay can’t be cleaned up overnight, but through a partnership with the church, the community can make steady improvements and work to prevent the sting of malaria. n
“I want health for the community,” says Chief Kabempa.
PLAY AND BATHE, ALONGSIDE PIGS WHO ROOT IN THE MUCK—
AND SWARMS OF
DEADLY MOSQUITOES CARRYING MALARIA.
alaria is a silent killer. Mosquitoes that carry micro-
scopic malaria parasites transfer them to humans when they bite.
RUBBISH ROUND-UP Alusine, 30, a young leader in Kroo Bay, is part of a group of 25 who work from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. two days a month clearing out garbage from the waterway where mosquitoes breed. The Nazarene church provides gloves, buckets, and other tools to assist the group in their work. He points to a bridge crossing the water. Pieces of trash catch on the concrete footers, adding to the problems of stagnation and flooding during rainy seasons. “If we reduce the garbage, we will reduce the flooding and mosquitoes,” he says.
Fatmata cares for four grandchildren on her own. A new bed net protects her and the children from the threat of malaria.
If not treated, people die—thousands of them each year in Sierra Leone, and more than 400,000 each year globally. For the cost of about $10 (USD), an insectiAdama says their new bed net “is doing very well” for her three children.
cide-treated bed net can prevent the deadly disease. To learn more or support the church’s efforts in Kroo Bay, visit ncm.org/kroobay.
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