Colorful clothes, backpacks with cartoon characters, smiles, and inquisitive eyes. All these images struck me as the students entered the classroom and neatly arranged themselves on the long wooden benches. Visiting Zinder on Friday, we spent time taking photos of each of the sponsored children. What fun it was to see them in the school environment and get a sense of their energy and a glimpse of their personalities.
After going through our list of students we realized one was missing. We found out Tihitche was suffering from malaria! Tihitche is Houge’s sister and is the daughter of the guardian who passed away at Zinder. We were able to visit her, and although she was obviously quite ill, it was comforting to see the loving care she was receiving from her family. As a mother, it was frightening to me to think about a child being so vulnerable to such a serious disease, but for Nigeriens it is a way of life. That message was reiterated the following day when we went to the boarding school at Tsibiri. Of the approximately 265 students who stay there, more than 50 have already been treated for malaria since the school year began two short weeks ago!
Fortunately, there is something we can do to make a difference! We are purchasing medical kits for each of the five schools, which will contain medicine to treat malaria as well as other diseases. We’re working to provide mosquito netting for all the dormitory beds at Tsibiri. In addition, it has been suggested that spraying the school grounds there would help keep the mosquito population down, so we are finding out more about that option.
With your support we can continue to bring positive change to the children in Niger!