Home > Andrew's Blogs, Hospital of Hope, Mango Mission > Five bowls of corn and a deadly strain of Malaria.

Five bowls of corn and a deadly strain of Malaria.

A sobering  update from Ted Neufeld about a life threatening strain of Malaria in Mango,  the far north isolated region of Togo.  Also in this update:  Kareem, who would not leave home because he encountered a fetish curse from a local witch doctor.

Mango Musings
November 21, 2010

It’s Sunday evening, and we are coming to the close of the Lord’s Day.  This is also the start of the Thanksgiving week, and we have much for which to be thankful.  We have been praying for Kareem, and yesterday he surprised us by showing up at our house.  A day earlier we tried to encourage him to leave his house and walk around town, but he told us he was still too frightened to do that.  So it was a shock to hear a knock at our gate, and to open the door and find him standing there.  He looked scared and nervous, but this was clearly a huge step that should help him overcome his fear.  He told us that when he saw a rock in the road, he would close his eyes or look the other way until he was past it.  I can’t imagine such fear, not having grown up in a culture that sees demons behind rocks, or objects that contain spiritual power that can hurt or kill you.  I read some scripture and prayed with him, and then he left on foot to return to his house, more than a mile away.  We were surprised again this morning when, after our church service, we stopped by to visit him and learned that he had gone to the field with his brother to help bring in the harvest.  I’ve been encouraging him to do that, as a step in his recovery, and he has always claimed that to be impossible until he gets better.  God is answering our prayers, and showing the power of Jesus.

There is great need for prayer at the moment, as our country struggles with serious illness.  One of the doctors here at the Mango hospital told us that there is a deadly strain of malaria that has been taking the lives of young children, and down at our hospital in Tsiko children have been dying as well.  These things seem to come in waves, and it is particularly difficult when you know the parents and the children.  This past week Roger, a close friend and strong Christian lost his infant son Emmanuel.  Pastor Martouka of Assogba Kope, not far from the hospital, brought his daughter in, and actually planned to take her home to die when it looked as though she would not recover.  He was talked out of that plan of action, and last we heard, his daughter is still alive, although critically ill.  Our Togolese brothers show a tremendous faith in the face of personal tragedy, but our hearts are breaking for them.  Here in Mango we try to help those we know when their children come down with malaria.  Marie’s daughter was sick and in the hospital this past week, as was the son of a friend named Joseph.  As is often the case, there was no money to take the children into the hospital.  Marie’s mother sold her last five bowls of corn to come up with enough money for the medical care of her grandchild.  The community is aware that children are in danger, and it calls for desperate measures.  We help when we become aware and are in a position to do so.
Missionaries can fall ill as well, and with some of the same diseases.  Melody Ebersole was in the hospital for several days with the worst case of malaria the doctors say they have seen in a white person.  We hear she is home and recovering.  Her husband Dr. Russ Ebersole has also been ill and at home for several days now, although at this point we don’t know with what.   I have to confess that my attitude toward malaria has often been somewhat cavalier.  When I’ve come down with it, a simple $6.00 treatment has always been enough to knock it.  But we are told that drug resistant strains have been developing in Togo, and that can be deadly.  Praise God that our lives and times are in His hands.  Please pray for our friends and the staff at the Baptist hospital in Tsiko.

One of the blessings of the dry season now upon us is that we should see a reduction in the number of people coming down with malaria.  This is due to the simple fact that as it becomes dryer, mosquito populations decrease, and there is a natural lowering in the incidence of malaria.  That doesn’t let us off scot free however, as with the dry season and the dust coming off the Sahara Desert, we can expect to start seeing Meningitis, which is carried on the dust in the atmosphere stirred up by the North winds.

Yours in His service,

Tim & Esther Neufeld, ABWE

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