Blog: Loosening poverty’s grip

I often refer to malaria as a disease of poverty. It is language that I have become comfortable using. It is descriptive language and people understand it. It is not difficult to make the connection that people often have malaria because they are poor and do not have access to resources. As a United Methodist, I am absolutely convinced that our determination to see the elimination of death and suffering from malaria is a holy calling. We heard the cries of those most affected by this disease and responded with Imagine No Malaria.

Malaria really is a dreaded disease of poverty. And this week I looked poverty in the face. Poverty again became for me more than just descriptive words. Poverty wore the face of beautiful children play acting cooking in the dust and the dirt and the sand, near the Kwanza River in Bom Jesus, Angola. I stared poverty in the face of a toddler contently playing while suited in a soiled diaper that appeared to be days old. I witnessed the visible connection of malaria to poverty. Malaria as a disease of poverty is real.

The grim grip of poverty was intruded upon as an Imagine No Malaria volunteer stooped down in the dirt and the sand and the dust to offer kind attention to children at play. For me, the moment was almost angelic — because a messenger of hope paused for a moment to care.

Malaria as a root cause of poverty was assaulted as Imagine No Malaria volunteers called “activist” moved through Bom Jesus teaching about malaria and giving instruction on the care and hanging of insecticide treated bed nets. The use of these nets will save lives. These nets will be the source of a more abundant life.

Jesus said: “I have come to give you life that you might have it abundantly” (John 10:10). Imagine No Malaria is one tangible way that our church is offering abundant life.

*Henderson is theexecutive director of the Global Health Initiative at United Methodist Communications.

Sign up for our newsletter!

SUBSCRIBE

Latest News

The Rev. In-Sook Hwang. Photo courtesy of Rev. Hwang.

Achieving inclusion: Break barriers, build bridges

It’s time to meet and accept people where they are, not where we think they ought to be, writes a Korean clergywoman.
The Rev. Kathleen LaCamera. Photo by Chris Loughlin.

Son's vote for peace set his father's killers free

Those who remember “the troubles,” fear the effect of Brexit on more than two decades of still-fragile peace in Ireland.
The Rev. Christopher Momany.  Photo by Hollie Smith, Adrian College

Live tomorrow's life today

The Rev. Christopher Momany, who is leaving his post as chaplain at Adrian College after more than 23 years, delivered this baccalaureate sermon about the importance of vision in the church and academia.