Ghana was hot like always and I had no plans for the entire day. My durable Nokia phone ringing interrupted the perpetual tranquility. John Addipa the Peace Corps APCD of WATSAN Ghana was calling me. After the customary greetings he tells me that I have been nominated to attend Malaria Boot Camp IV in Senegal. Fun, I guess I am going to learn a lot about malaria and experience a new culture for a little while.
By the second day of the program, I am fully committed to the initiative. Wow, I wasn’t exactly expecting this passion to reveal itself so quickly, but I welcome the new motivation. When people ask if malaria can be wiped off the map, I think of a SAT essay I took in High School. Who is more successful idealists or realists? Who accomplishes more positive change in the world? Idealists believe that every child will reach their 5th birthday because preventable diseases such as malaria can be eradicated in our lifetime. Rationalists think that the current systems to control, prevent and treat malaria need improvement and eradication is a far off dream. A lot of money will be needed to accomplish worldwide eradication. The Peace Corps initiative of Stomp Out Malaria is a group of professionals out in the villages who have dedicated themselves to the ideal goal of wiping out malaria in Africa. Imagine this group of well-educated creative people with access to a minuscule amount of funds and what they can do. We are motivated idealists with well-thought out realistic project plans to share and replicate across Africa. There must be idealists in the world to inspire the realists.
When I joined the Peace Corps I thought I would be doing small projects in my one community. Maybe I would affect a small number of lives. Stomp has given me the opportunity to put energy into an initiative that will support the eradication of malaria effort.When I leave the boot camp and return to Ghana I will first encourage my community to be the shining example of malaria prevention in all the Upper West Region. The PCV communities in the region will be motivated to follow and get universal coverage of bed nets and educate on prevention, treatment and control of malaria. Once I am confident with the Upper West, we can move to other regions until all PCV Ghana communities have adequate malaria prevention techniques in place. Am I doing this myself? Hell no! There are many partnerships to form and people in the PC Ghana community whom feel the same as I do. I am so fortunate to become part of the malaria team, and I will represent Ghana well. When an opportunity like this one comes into your life, it is wise to give all and sleep later.