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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Diary from Mali: IR USA Staff, Anwar Khan and Zeyad Maasarani

Anwar Khan
Wednesday, February 10, 2010

We were up early in the morning to take the 2-hour flight to Timbuktu. The flight was delayed 3 hours. We took 4 hours for a 2-hour journey by road and river barge. Our average speed was 25 mph. The trip was mostly offroad.

We arrived late, but visited the mayor of Gourma Rharous, a rural clinic and radiostation. IR has supported the clinic in the past and set up the radio station to broadcast educational programs to the nomads in the desert. We had to do all the visits in the dark. There are no street lights and the stars were extremely luminous. In the rural clinic there were patients laying on the floor of the corridoor. There was a stench and many of the patients were laying on the floor.

As soon as malaria medicine comes it is distributed to children under 5. Life is very austere here. There is no indoor plumbing and our office has a generator so it's the only building with electricity.

Life has improved from the last time I was here eight years ago. There are more services, more medicine, more schools. Services are not what we would want in the U.S., but they are better than what they received before, which was nothing.

Zeyad Maasarani
Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I woke up this morning refreshed and amazed at the amazing scenery of Gourma Rharous. But the satisfaction I got from the sleep is a luxury very few people can afford in this region, because I slept in a medically-treated mosquito net.

Knowing I was safe from the danger of malaria helped me fall asleep and rest. Thousands of our neighbors probably stressed all night, worrying of being pinched by a malaria-carrying mosquito.

Many of the widows and orphans we met had lost loved ones to malaria, a preventable and curable disease that has been eliminated from most areas of the world, but here, it claims lives everyday.

But there is a silver lining in the storm cloud. A $10 medically-treated mosquito net can help a person sleep without the threat of losing their life to malaria. We say a life is priceless, but in reality, we can save a life and give someone peace of mind by just donating $10.
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