Witnessing Resilience: Nine Young Hearts Tackle Malaria in the Shadows of Sumba.
Join the journey of courage and compassion as Fair Future Foundation aids Lulundilu’s children in their fight for a healthier tomorrow.
Each step we take with the children of Lulundilu is a stride towards eradicating malaria. Their resilience fuels our mission, reminding us that every moment of care is a beacon of hope for their future.
In the remote reaches of Lulundilu, in the region of Mahu at East Sumba, there are stories that need to be told not for their lyricism but for their stark reality and urgency. It is here that I cross paths with nine young souls, whose eyes reflect an innocence clouded by trials that few of us could even begin to comprehend. These children, aged between six and twelve – an estimate in a place where time isn’t counted in birthdays – speak a language forgotten by the world, a regional dialect so far removed from Bahasa Indonesia that it marks a greater distance than the one we’ve traveled to get here.
Our encounter, though initially marked by fear – a stranger, a white man, surrounded by medical equipment, flooding their silence with incomprehensible words – quickly transforms into a shared mission. Fear dissipates, giving way to necessity. These children, barefoot, clad in the same fabric day after day without the hope of frequent washing, are the face of the fight against infectious diseases that relentlessly ravage these parts. Malaria, dengue, the names of these scourges, are as familiar as they are deadly here, where infant mortality is a common tragedy, a direct consequence of deprivation.
In these villages, infant mortality is not a statistic; it’s a reality that strikes at every family, that snatches away dreams and futures. Infectious diseases, exacerbated by the lack of clean water and sanitation, claim lives in deafening silence, cutting short the naivety of childhood with a brutality that leaves no room for imagination.
Our intervention, a Herculean effort to test close to 800 people only in Lulundilu, is aimed at breaking this cycle of disease and death. Medical coverage must reach at least 87% to be effective, but our ambition is greater, our reach broader. We aim for 95%, because every life and child matter.
In the face of these children, my conversation transcends the language barrier. Words matter little when actions can say everything. A question of health, of education, of food, or the mere possibility of taking a shower more than once every two weeks receives unsurprising answers. Boiled corn, salt, and red peppers are not just a meal; they’re their everyday, a constant struggle against hunger.
With patience, with empathy, we explain our mission. We are not here as visitors but as partners in their fight for health. And so, trust is established, and care begins. Malaria tests reveal difficult truths, and diagnoses that lead to long and complex treatments. But there is hope, for with every child tested positive, there is a path to healing, to a future.
At the end of this exhaustive day, these children, who first viewed me as a stranger, now welcome me as a friend. And with each passing of the #TruckOfLife, their voices rise, a cheerful salute that cuts through the air like an anthem to life – “Mister Alex…”
This story is not just an anecdote; it’s a call to action. Every gesture, every donation, every effort contributes to a mission larger than us all. For these children and for so many others, #ZeroMalaria is not just a program – it’s the promise of a future.
Alex Wettstein – Fair Future Foundation medico-social camp in East Sumba – Rumah Kambera, Lambanapu, the 7th of November, 2023