Sunday, October 26, 2008

Mosquitoes Kill, Kill Mosquitoes*

dara and feyi with balloon hats cropped Dara and Feyi had malaria the other day.  Yep, just one day.  They were miserable, fevers, chills, throwing up and diarrhea.  The next morning, they were fine, running around and making a ruckus as usual.

mazoka cropped Mazoka had malaria a few years ago.  I still remember getting the text message.  Barely a few months after leaving Zambia; I had just arrived home from work.  Don't think I'd even taken my work clothes off yet when Mommy came into the sewing room and found me crying.  "What's wrong?"  I couldn't even answer, I just handed her the phone to read the text message, "Mazoka died this week - malaria."

I loved Mazoka so much.  He was one of my favorites.  My little brother.  The one that I would let come play in the house when no one else was around, because he always cleaned up when he was done.  He was so cute and could always make me laugh.  And he was polite, not like Chipo.  When his little brother, Nchimunya, was born, he was so proud, and he worked really hard to be the best big brother ever.  He was only three at the time, but he would help his mom, Ba Joyce, with anything.  I would often find him out in the fields with her, picking cotton and stuffing it into his little red and blue striped sweater.  During planting season, he'd be out there with his own sickle, helping to clear the old brush.

Mazoka only had one eye, he was born that way.  In Zambia, I used to wonder how that would affect him as he grew up.  Would the girls like him?  Would it bother him?  I remember thinking when I read the text message, "well, that doesn't matter anymore."  But maybe that's why no one ever seemed worried about when he grew up.  Why worry about something you aren't even sure will happen?

When Dara and Feyi got malaria, their mom, Auntie D, gave them medicine from the cupboard.  When Mazoka got malaria, Ba Joyce took him to the local clinic in Chona (about 10km from the family compound), but the clinic was out of medicine.  Dara and Feyi knew about Mazoka, they had seen his picture in my little photo album and had asked about him.  When they found out they had malaria, they were scared and told their mom they didn't want to die.  She told them not to be silly, that malaria wasn't going to kill them.

But that's the difference, isn't it?  Auntie D and Uncle Soji only have two children, because they don't expect them to die.  Ba Lenix and his wives had well over a dozen, because they don't expect them to live.



dara and feyi at nigerian day





Dara and Feyi in their traditional Yoruba clothes at Nigerian Day.





fam cropped

Family photo, 2004.  From left to right:  (Back row) Ba Maureen (2005), Ba Eunice (2005), Ba Crispin, Ba Feya holding Nchimunya, Ba Joyce, Me, (Middle row) Jemulaye, Trust, Ba Lenix, Ngandu, (Front row) Peppino holding Chipo, Joshua, Mazoka (2006).

*"Mosquitoes Kill, Kill Mosquitoes" is the slogan of NetMark Mosquito Nets.

No comments: