Why I Was Away This Week

You may have noticed a gap in posts this past week. It wasn’t planned or hoped for and the reason for it actually starts a few weeks earlier… I’m not sure if I’ve told you all before but my day job is with an international non-profit. That works takes me to various countries in Africa and other parts of the world. I’ve done the things tourists scratch off their bucket lists. But, I’ve also seen some hard things during famines, after wars, and in some of the remote corners of the planet.

At the end of April, I left for a tiny country in East Africa called Burundi.

Lake Tanganyika is beautiful with places to see hippos and watch the fishermen just off shore
It was easy making friends even without speaking Kirundi. That’s how friendly most people are.

The country is matched in its beauty by the friendliness of it’s people. But, it also ranks as one of the lowest countries in the world on the UNs Human Development Index. This juxtaposition means that while there are moments of joy like the ones above, there are also moments of sadness when you see kids with distended bellies, a sign of malnutrition.

It’s often a strange transition to leave a place so different from your own, like being teleported from one planet to another.

Then, it hit me…

I had been home for just more than a week when I started to feel sick. But it got bad pretty quickly. Imagine the worst flu of your life day after day after day. I’m stubborn when it comes to doctors and hospitals, but finally I went.

I had gotten malaria while I was in Burundi which has incubation period of 1-2 weeks. I have never felt as sick before (I’ll spare you the details). But, it brought to life the statistic that between 300 and 600 million people in the world suffer from malaria each year. And, approximately one million die from it.

It’s a reminder to me that we love Disney Parks because we’re able to immerse ourselves in stories that take us to magical places, but we have to also remember to immerse ourselves into the stories of those around us who may be struggling.

Anyway, I hope you don’t mind the absence or this rare sidebar into what I’m doing personally.