I wanted to teach the neighborhood kids about malaria for malaria awareness month and in preparation for World Malaria Day last Wednesday, April 25th. Anna and I also wanted to interact with the neighborhood kids in a way that wasn’t us yelling at them for provoking our dog. So a few weeks ago I lovingly created a bright blue (we had food coloring lying around the house, why not?) paper mache mosquito piñata, complete with wings, legs, a large stinger, and candy inside. Last Monday afternoon, as a lead-up to World Malaria Day, Anna and I gathered the neighborhood kids outside our front gate. We showed them the mosquito and promised that it was full of candy that they would receive at the end (yep, I’m not above bribery). I talked to them about malaria transmission, prevention, symptoms, and treatment, and we reviewed each of these points a few times. Each time a neighbor would walk over and ask what was going on I would ask the kids to explain to them. And happily a few of them would excitedly yell something about malaria or mosquitoes.
A few of the older kids (probably 4-6 grade) had already learned some of the basics, like that mosquitoes transmit malaria, that mosquitoes lay their eggs in water, or that you can protect yourself by sleeping under a bed net. What surprised me was that even the kids who knew this much couldn’t name the symptoms of malaria. Honestly I’m not sure what means. Is it a classic case of aid in developing countries: bombard people with marginally useful information (for example, telling people to “always use their mosquito net” is only useful when every person has a bed net) but not tell people who malaria actually looks or feels like? (I have been told that you literally feel like you’ve been hit by a bus when you have malaria, your body aches and you can’t move, in addition to the nausea and headaches. Put this in contrast with the common PCV complaint that any runny nose or indigestion in Mozambique might be called “malaria” by our colleagues and friends.)
After I made the kids repeat a few malaria basics enough times that I was satisfied they would remember even if they didn’t want to, the fun began!
The youngest kids speak little to no Portuguese (kids in Mozambique often don’t learn Portuguese until they enter 1st grade), but I think they had a good time all the same!
See more pictures I posted at http://stompoutmalaria-mozambique.tumblr.com/
My name is Scooter Anata Walsh and I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Mozambique from '09-'12. I arrived in September '09 as a chemistry teacher in the education sector. I taught 8th grade math my first year and 11th grade English my second year, and facilitated multiple youth development groups. During my second year I was also the National Financial Director of REDES, a girls' empowerment group. During my third year extension (2012) I was the Malaria Activities Coordinator for Peace Corps in Mozambique, as part of the Peace Corps initiative Stomping Out Malaria in Africa. From January-April 2013 I will be working in Swaziland.
the trend where you paint one nail a different color than the other fingers
call me maybe
the whatshouldwecallme phenomenon
the "hey girl" phenomenon
groupon and rue la la
the greek yogurt craze
the weird barcode thing in magazines that your smartphone can read
4G and Android ( i dont actually know what either of these mean)
Muammar Gaddafi and Osama bin Ladin were alive
Facebook "checking in"
Oprah was still on tv
the ipad, ipad2, and ipad3
Maroon 5 is back?
multi-trillion dollar deficit
AA credit rating
where you can @someone on Facebook
the Democrats had a majority in congress
the Washington Monument wasn't cracked
B.o.B, Taio Cruz, Mike Posner
the new design on the back of the penny
Icing (or something, with Smirnof)
The Jersey Shore
the Tea Party movement
Stomping Out Malaria in Africa
The Stomping Out Malaria in Africa initiative is a new partnership between Peace Corps and the President's Malaria Initiative (PMI). Currently 23 countries are part of this continent-wide concerted effort to stomp out malaria!
Check out the following sites to follow malaria prevention activities going on across Africa and in Mozambique:
Friends of Inharrime
This is the website to support the mission where I lived and worked during my first two years: