24 hours, four airports, three time zones and one very long, bumpy ride later, we have finally arrived in Gulu in northern Uganda with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). I have three incredible Nothing But Netssupporters with me – Megan, Lynda and Dave – each from different parts of the country and from different backgrounds, but with the same goal: to learn about the impact of malaria here in northern Uganda and to help distribute the life-saving nets that they and YOU have raised money to protect the most vulnerable people from malaria — refugees.
Megan is a college student, Lynda is a mother of two, and Dave is a social entrepreneur. These Nothing But Netssupporters who have traveled just as far as I have to participate in this important effort to get nets to refugees.
Today was a bit eye-opening, I think. We visited the Tetugu Camp, where it was painfully clear that nets are sorely needed. At the health clinic, a hand-drawn graph on the wall illustrates the growing number of malaria cases in the area. The head clinician reports 50 cases every single day. But there is hope, and as is often the case, it is in the children. This afternoon we gave a malaria quiz to primary school students and I was thrilled to see that they knew all the right answers – that mosquitoes spread malaria when they bite at night and that bed nets are the best way to prevent the disease.
Just like youth in the U.S., these youth are leading the way to ending malaria in their village.