World Malaria Day(s) was a huge success! I ended up doing 3 events in Aykel and coordinating with my mom in Arlington to do an event with her Kinder kids.
Wednesday evening I met with a handicap group I have been working with and used football to teach them about Malaria with my Counterpart (not the one with Malaria) and their teacher. I asked my counterpart about this and he thought it was fantastic. He said “we’re are going to kick malaria out of Aykel!” Hence…Kicking Out Malaria. I asked them questions about what malaria is, prevention, symptoms, treatment, etc and they had to raise their hand. I tossed the soccer ball to whoever raised their hand first and they had to catch the ball (or head it) and answer. It was so fun and they had a really great time. They said they were really grateful to learn about malaria and other health issues because a lot of times (as most of know) they are forgotten or ignored in a lot of areas in education. Then afterwards we just had fun with the football and goofed around.
Next: Yesterday, I had coordinated with the Health Center to do a training at one of the primary schools. Of course, there was confusion over the time (oh Ethiopian vs. Firenj time). But it worked out really well because one of the employees who is responsible for Malaria prevention in Aykel ended up meeting us at the school. I had him and my counterpart conduct the training as I supported them. Then we showed the students how to use a bed net (and how NOT to). After, the kids all drew posters about what they learned. It went really well. And the Health Center employee was so excited by this training he asked if I would help him learn more so he could hold training’s twice a week at the health center for patients who have come in. Another great success.
Then, last night my Amharic Tutor called me and said she had arranged for me to speak at her preparatory school where she is an English teacher. I went this morning at 7 am (not many things I wake up that early for) and spoke to about 300 children (and basically anyone within a 2 mile radius) over the loud speaker system. That was great too! My tutor was so excited!
Lastly, I worked with my mom to do something in her kindergarten class in Arlington, Virginia (same school I went to 20 years ago!). I sent her a story written about malaria in Ethiopia called “Mimi Wins a Prize”. They read it to the students on the Smartboard and then the children drew pictures about the story. They are laminating all of the pictures and sending me the book! They also put my picture on the TV screens throughout the school for the ENTIRE day (a little awkward?) but at least the kids got to see mysterious Sister Morgan. My mom said it was a big success and I’m so glad that kids so far away have some idea of what other children in the world their age are dealing with.
World Malaria Day really got me hooked on fighting Malaria in Aykel…hopefully I will continue to work with the health center to educate my community. We also have to find a way to get Malaria nets for my town. The health center doesn’t have any-and won’t get another distribution for a year…too long to wait when people are dying.