Having Malaria Means Waiting and Waiting…

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Rose Farhat, a seminarian from Liberia

Rose Farhat, a seminarian from Liberia, speaks at the Imagine No Malaria conference in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 3, 2012. UMNS photos by Jay Mallin

By Sandra Long Weaver

Waiting. And then waiting some more. It’s the long waits that Rose Farhat remembers most about the times when she contracted malaria as a child growing up in Liberia.

First, you wait for parents to see if you are going to get better, Farhat told over 100 advocates for Imagine No Malaria preparing to visit Capitol Hill on Tuesday.  “Then you wait to see the doctor,” she said. “Then you wait for your body to respond to the medicine. And then you hope that it works.”

Farhat, who is an intern for the General Board for Church and Society and a student at Wesley Seminary said she remembers “the pain, the fear, the darkness and the fever.”

“I thank you for your ministry,” she told the group. “You are making a difference.” There are 400 children who die in Liberia everyday. That means there are 800 grieving parents everyday “

And 25 percent of the children become orphans everyday, she added. They become homeless and are then subject to being preyed on by gangs or thieves.

Farhat said she was treated at a United Methodist Hospital but while she was waiting to get better she could hear the screams of parents who lost another child to malaria. And she would know she had lost another playmate.

“You could hear the cries of children, you hear the screams, you hear the sadness. And when you get home, you see the boxes that the children will be buried in. You see the grave and you see another grief-stricken mother, she said.

Liberia is a poor country, she said and a mother dreams that her child will do better than she has done. “So thank you for making my mother’s dream come true,”she said.

We have to give the mothers hope, she said. Because if they do not have hope, they  may live but they feel “I will not have the abundant life in God.”

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