Spending three weeks asking people about malaria in Malawi two years ago has made it a pit more than hypothetical; seeing a once healthy child one year and then permanently disable the next made it personal. Yet, malaria is just a part of life in sub-Saharan Africa.
I saw this when trying to suggest to a gathering of teachers that a vaccine could wipe out malaria in their lifetime. "Impossible" one teacher said and then gave me a scolding glance to suggest such thoughts are better left unsaid.
Having my children take anti-malaria drugs, sleep under a bed net and have maxi deet sprayed on their clothes is something that ever reminds me of the power and blessings of the west. A bed net, maybe, is what is available to a Malawian child.