Saphyra swatted again and felt the satisfying splat of a mosquito’s demise. She turned over only to discover another mosquito buzzing over her head. Saphyra sighed. It would be another restless night. How many would this be in a row? She had lost count.
Closing her eyes, Saphyra prayed for sleep. She could only hope the mosquito’s bite would not bring sickness—or death.
It would take only one bite from a mosquito carrying a disease like malaria or dengue to make Saphyra or one of her family members ill. Living in an area prone to vector-borne diseases, they could easily become one of the 700,000 people who die each year from such illnesses.1
Saphyra’s parents were poor agricultural workers. The family struggled financially even when its members were healthy. If they became sick, they wouldn’t be able to work, which would strain an already meager income.
In rural places such as Saphyra’s village, there is often no access to medical facilities or care. Even if there were, Saphyra’s parents and other wage laborers who struggle to feed their families cannot afford the extra expenses of medical treatment, so they are left to suffer in their illness. The longer they remain sick, the more they miss work—and the income they could have earned—and the more they struggle to provide for their families. Poverty and sickness become a vicious cycle.
Saphyra considered her options. Her family needed protection from these pesky, potentially deadly mosquitos. Perhaps GFA pastor Gaspard could help. GFA workers had helped her through difficult times in the past.
When Saphyra was a child, she witnessed her alcoholic father, Raekwon, beat her mother. Their home was full of strife, and the couple was unable to provide for Saphyra and her brother. Thanks to GFA World's child sponsorship program (Bridge of Hope), Saphyra was provided with a proper education and helped supply her basic needs. The entire family was being transformed by the peace and love of God, but they still struggled financially. Poverty and mosquitos nagged at them.
The struggle against the pests intensified. Saphyra’s entire village was fighting against the spread of sickness caused by mosquitos. With malaria comes symptoms such as high fever, chills, aches, nausea and general weakness.2 Left untreated, it can kill.3 In 2019, 409,000 people died from malaria,4 making it the leading cause of illness and death in many countries.5 Pregnant women and children under the age of 5 are among the most vulnerable.6
Though Saphyra was in neither of these categories, she was still at risk. Seeking a solution for her family, Saphyra visited the pastor.
“I am not getting peaceful sleep due to lots of mosquitos in our village, and people are going through sickness,” Saphyra told Pastor Gaspard, “but I would like to have a healthy life.”
Pastor Gaspard advised Saphyra to use a mosquito net, one of the most effective ways to prevent vector-borne illnesses. Mosquito nets protect people from being bitten, and when treated with insecticides, kill mosquitos that come in contact with the nets.7 Treated nets also reduce the number of mosquitos that enter the house8 and can reduce the transmission of malaria by as much as 90 percent.9
Saphyra’s heart sank upon hearing her pastor’s advice. The solution seemed so simple, but she knew her parents could not afford to buy a net. They could barely provide for the basic needs of the family. Saphyra resigned to endure her suffering, swatting away as many mosquitos as she could.
“I am not getting peaceful sleep due to lots of mosquitos in our village, and people are going through sickness. . .but I would like to have a healthy life.”
Meanwhile, Pastor Gaspard organized a GFA gift distribution. God had gifted Saphyra with a beautiful voice, and the pastor invited Saphyra to sing a special song at the event.
Throughout the distribution, Saphyra watched as friends and neighbors received the gift she desired most: a mosquito net. Maybe a little flame of hope ignited in her heart, wondering if she would get one too.
Then, to Saphyra’s amazement, Pastor Gaspard called her name! His hands extended toward her, offering a precious gift, and she received a brand-new mosquito net. It was a dream come true! And now Saphyra could dream in peace.
“The Lord is so gracious to me,” said Saphyra. “He extended all necessary things in my life … Mosquito nets remain my best defense against the disease in our family.”
There are many others in malaria-prone areas of the world in need of the simple protection of a mosquito net. Some may be dreaming of one even now.
Nighttime is when people need protection the most, as that is when mosquitos are most active.10 Mosquito nets are one of the cheapest and most effective means of protection, from the insect as well as from diseases they may carry. If a community has enough treated nets, the mosquito population will be reduced to the extent that even those without a personal net are protected.11
Mosquito nets can mean the difference between life and death for those vulnerable to vector-borne diseases, yet poverty often keeps them from obtaining this essential protection.
You can fulfill someone’s dream of a restful night’s sleep—safe from devastating mosquito bites—by providing a mosquito net for people who can’t protect themselves.
*Names of people and places may have been changed for privacy and security reasons. Images are GFA stock photos used for representation purposes and are not the actual person/location, unless otherwise noted.Previous Article Next Article
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