Malaria, malaria, malaria

Jessica Nipp Hacker

 [Jesus said to them] "Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!" Luke 13:34

When I think about our work through the ELCA Malaria Campaign, I start to hear this lament a little differently.  I hear Jesus saying, "Malaria, malaria, the disease that kills the children and sickens all those whom it touches! How often have I desired to gather these children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and malaria did not let me!"  The youngest children are the most vulnerable.

Miriam for web.jpg
Miriam is in Grade 5A in a Lutheran elementary school in Burure, Zimbabwe. After her class completed a unit on malaria, they wrote a poem together. Miriam presented this poem at a community malaria education event. She laments, 

North and south, east and west
Everywhere you go, people all cry:
Malaria, malaria, malaria

Yesterday it was my brother; today it is my sister
People are suffering everywhere
Malaria, malaria, malaria

Headaches, vomiting, fevers ​
Everywhere, people are suffering from it
Malaria, malaria, malaria

As Lutherans, we are people of the cross. We proclaim a God who came to us in human form and experienced human life in all of its joy and brokenness.  In the last days of his life, Jesus' pain lay heavy on his heart. He desired to protect his children like a mother hen.

In the midst of the injustice of malaria, we can carry out that deepest wish of our hurting savior. Through the laments of Jesus and of Miriam, we are spurred to action. And it is in that action—in our malaria work together—that we encounter Christ more sincerely. Our hope is renewed our life is restored. 

To watch a short video of Miriam reciting her poem, please click here