W e have lots of mosquitoes in Juneau, just ask my daughter. I’m told they are the state bird, and whenever the helicopters fly over the mountain, I do a double take – “Are those mosquitoes?” But imagine for a minute that we didn’t have mosquitoes. I’ve heard that mosquitoes are actually good because they eat something even more annoying — I’m not sure what that could be. But I ask you to entertain me and play the “imagine” game.
Imagine we had MORE mosquitoes. Imagine our mosquitoes made us terribly sick. Imagine our sickness led to death. Imagine 655,000 of us (almost the entire state of Alaska) died each year. Imagine every 30 seconds someone died from these murderous bugs. Imagine there was no vaccine to prevent the illness. Imagine there was a cure to this sickness but imagine you got this sickness and couldn’t get to the doctor where medicine would make you better. Imagine that every time you put your children to bed, you would not know if they would wake up with this sickness or remain healthy.
Now, imagine someone gave you a net to cover your bed and you could be confident that your children would wake up as healthy as they were when you tucked them in. Imagine that someone worked with your community leaders to clean out areas that breed these murderous insects. Imagine you and your neighbors learned all about how to keep the mosquitoes away from your home. Imagine there was medicine if you needed it. Imagine, just imagine, all mosquitoes were like our beloved Alaskan mosquitoes and did not carry a dreaded disease.
Imagine No Malaria is a movement determined to end malaria in Africa by 2016. So far, malaria’s impact has been cut in half, to a death rate of every 60 seconds instead of 30 seconds. It is indeed possible to end this tragedy, and you can be a part of making a difference. Join Aldersgate United Methodist Church, Northern Light United Church and Douglas Community United Methodist Church tonight, Aug. 18, at 5 p.m. to learn more about how you can help make no malaria a reality. Held at Northern Light United Church (400 11th Street), we will have a potluck, followed by craft time for the kids. For youth and adults, we will share a 50-minute movie called “A Killer in the Dark.” Learn more. Do more. Imagine more.
• Susan Boegli is the pastor at Aldersgate United Methodist Church.