Friday, January 7, 2011
Surviving Five in Tanzania
Worldwide, more than 1000 children under the age of five die every hour of every day -- read that again -- most of them from things we know how to prevent and/or treat, such as malnutrition, diarrhea, pneumonia or malaria.
It's unbelievable to me -- wrong somehow -- that I haven't been to Africa in 15 years. It feels as though it's always with me. I miss the singing most. I wish I could go back now to do the job I was hired to do then. I think I'd be better at it in lots of ways. Or maybe just different. Because although the work touched me deeply, I would be less analytical about it than I think I was then. I'm a mom now. I wonder if I'd cry more -- or just get really, really Mama Bear mad.
I try to communicate some of what it was like to my kids. Our three girls and one boy sponsor three girls and one boy in Mtinko Area Development Program in Tanzania. Recently, we wanted to make a non-sponsorship donation to a project in the same region, and were directed to the Survive Five initiative. World Vision is partnering with CIDA, UNICEF and local governments to provide things my own kids don't need, take for granted or even turn their noses up at: vaccines, antibiotics, nutritional supplements, mosquito nets and training. World Vision's involved in 12 communities in Tanzania -- as it turns out, Mtinko is one of them.
My eldest daughter wants nothing more than to visit Africa. And I'm hoping to be able to join her there sometime soon. When we go, we'll visit Asha, Aisha, Yasinta and Yasini, whose pictures are on our fridge. By then, each of them will be over five years old. I hope that lots of other kids in their community will have survived to five as well, in part because of the good work World Vision is involved in there.
Five is a big birthday, and not just because it marks the start of senior kindergarten.
You can get involved in helping kids Survive Five too by clicking here or in Canada calling 1-866-595-5550. And thanks to Ellen for the photo.