Little Nganji was not a healthy child. Just watching the four-year-old boy for a few minutes, anyone could spot his pain and discomfort. He didn’t smile and wouldn’t play with his friends. He lacked the quick wit and vibrant energy of other children his age.
The cause? An infestation of intestinal worms that was hijacking his nutrients, stealing his energy, and robbing him of life.
It would be heartbreaking enough if this was all that the worms had taken away. But these parasites stole not only this child’s health, but his entire family’s hope for the future.
A Once-Healthy Child Gets Sick
Nganj’s mom, Fabiola, had experienced great success in farming before her son became ill. Though she and her husband, Donatien, live in an extremely impoverished community in Burundi, the strides forward they had been able to make by working their small plot of land gave her hope for the future.
“For example, for each harvest, I could reap 200 kilograms of beans, when I had only invested 30 kilograms,” Fabiola explains. “For me, it was huge. But when my child started feeling unwell, I could not even harvest 10 kilograms because I was not working enough in the field.”
The light at the end of the tunnel of poverty was fading away for Fabiola. All the hopes and dreams she had of giving her son a brighter future were being ripped away. By worms.
Her husband had to spend most of his time in bordering Tanzania working as a laborer to meet even their most basic needs, leaving Fabiola home alone to care for the Nganji. With her son so sick, she was not able to help her husband bring home much-needed income.
“My son’s condition did not allow me to sell my labor, since I was the only person there to take care of him,” Fabiola remembers. “Even getting free to work on our small family land was hard.”
All Fabiola wanted was for her son to be a healthy child once again, playing and laughing. She wanted him to have the food, medicine, and other basics he needed. And she wanted to again feel that the future of their family was bright and full of hope.
What a blessing, then, when a physically tiny gift arrived for Nganji and some 2 million worm-afflicted children in Burundi! It was a blessing from God, given through a generous supporter of Food for the Hungry (FH).
Deworming Pill Changes Everything
Just one little pill called “Albendazole” is all it takes to eliminate the intestinal worms ravaging a child’s body, for six months.
And through the compassionate giving from generous partners, FH provided this simple-yet-life-changing gift to Nganji. Very quickly, the deworming medicine went to work and transformed this sick little boy into a healthy child once again.
For the first time in a long time, he flashed a big smile. His discomfort and pain went away, and his energy returned. Nganji eagerly played with his friends once again.
And Fabiola was again able to work on her small farm, building a future for Nganji and her family.
“As you can observe on my face, I’m so happy to see my son playing with the other children,” Fabiola says. “It’s a miracle for me. Two months ago, I harvested 600 kilograms of rice when I had invested only 60 kilograms. This was possible because I now have time to go to the farm to cultivate.”
A Healthy Child, A Bright Future
Today, Nganji and Fabiola are filled with joy and hope. Their lives look radically different than they did just months ago, before the deworming medicine arrived.
For Nganji, he’s most excited to be back playing with his pals. “Now I feel well and I can play with my friends, which was not the case some months ago,” he says.
And Fabiola shares his delight. “I’m very happy to see my child playing with other children and interested in helping me with activities at home,” she beams. “I am no longer accompanying him to the health center all the time, which prevented me from doing my daily activities. I am really full of joy.”
As for the future, Fabiola has big plans now that she’s back to making progress on her farm. With the surplus in her harvests, she’s been able to save money every week. She plans to open a small business with the profits.
And she’s dreaming big for Nganji, too. “I have hope that God, who helped me and my child, will also protect him, so that my son can become an important person to help not only his family, but also his community,” Fabiola shares. Amen!