Hope Looks Like a Pink Mosquito Net

Writing from Luanda, Angola, Elizabeth McKee
continues to write about seeing the faces that reveal the diseases of poverty.
Today she writes of a pink mosquito net as a symbol of hope.

(For Elizabeth McKee, writing from Luanda, Angola, a pink mosquito net has become a symbol of hope. Elizabeth posted the following explanation on her blog. She has been accompanying a team of observers from NBA Cares to see bed net distribution in Nigeria and health care at United Methodist-related clinics and hospitals in Angola. Staff from United Methodist Communications, the General Board of Global Ministries and the West Angola Episcopal Area, led by Bishop Gaspar Joao Domingos, have also supported the observers.)

My Symbol of Hope is a Pink Net!

The symbol of hope for me today is a pink mosquito net. On Monday, we met Esperanca Afonco at the Pediatric Hospital in Luanda. She was admitted a week ago due to complications with malaria. We did not see her until the end of our day because she is in the pediatric AIDS/HIV (SIDAS) ward hidden behind the hospital.

Esperanca, eight years old, suffers from both AIDS and malaria. New studies have shown that these two diseases have direct correlation with each other, due to many similarities such as immune deficiencies. Her mother, Bela, decorated her hospital bed like something a princess would sleep under in Disney World. She put a pink insecticide treated net over her bed with dolls strewn everywhere. Esperanca had on a beautiful pink satin dress that swallowed her frail body.

As I think back on this picture, it is a stark contrast from every other inch of the hospital. The wards we visited had two to three children in each bed, sharing misery and passing disease. Bela got the ITN from an integrated campaign sponsored by PSI that sold nets for affordable prices. Her mother said she can not contract malaria again because her immune system could not fight the disease, so she has to sleep under a net. I asked her why she put forth so much effort to create such a lovely environment. Through an interpreter, she told me we have to have hope. Dr. Margarida Correia told me the child only has a few weeks to live. Though, with her spirit, I would give her longer. And by the way, Esparanca means hope!

Elizabeth McKee

Nothing But Nets

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