We later learned that the boys successfully transported their mom to the clinic, but it was too late.

My wife and I set out on foot to visit a few of the villages surrounding the Munyarari Mission. We had walked about 9 kilometers, close to five miles, when we came upon two young boys. They couldn’t have been more than 8 or 9 years old. The eldest of the two had a long tree branch in his hand to prod two cows. He and his little brother were driving the animals that were pulling a makeshift trailer. It looked odd because the trailer was bigger than they were. As they got closer, we could see something, or someone, in the trailer. It turned out to be their mom, who was very sick. The boys, not realizing the seriousness of her condition, were trying to get her to the clinic for medical help.

We later learned that the boys successfully transported their mom to the clinic, but it was too late. Unfortunately, she passed away due to an advanced stage of malaria. What a tragedy. These two boys became orphaned by a curable disease. If only she had recognized her symptoms earlier and gotten the proper medicine in time, she would not have died from this disease.

This is another clear example of why medical outreach and health education must go hand in hand with having a medical clinic within a reasonable distance for each community. By having a systematic medical outreach program, using local community volunteers, we can develop an effective, low cost, health education program at the local, grass roots level. The rural medical clinic staffs will be able to teach and train local volunteers to diagnose the early symptoms of many of these life threatening diseases. They will teach about the causes, methods of prevention, and need for speedy treatment. Their connection and relationship with the local people will offer assistance and direction for getting the necessary treatment.

These young boys didn’t need to lose their mom. We have the power to make a difference, changing and saving lives. May God soften our hearts so that we reach out and become part of the solution for those in such desperate need.