As a former diplomat-turned-novelist, Maureen Lomo, aka M.L. Wonder, has explored numerous countries and worked on three continents. During her time abroad, serving the United States government, she gained a unique perspective on cross-cultural relationships, community, and global health, all of which inspired her newly-released debut novel: Tenth Year in the Sun, which explores the power of sisterhood across countries and cultures. Throughout her travels, M.L. also encountered malaria, a mosquito-borne disease that, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), claimed the lives of 453,000 people in 2015 – 90% of those in sub-Saharan Africa. Malaria plays a key role in the novel and M.L. has dedicated a portion of her sales to Malaria No More. M.L. spoke with Malaria No More about malaria’s place in the story and her personal connection to the malaria eradication cause.
“I didn’t just want to write a good story,” M.L. insists. “I wanted to create entertainment with a purpose.” Malaria has touched her own life; when she was in her twenties, a popular and admired woman in her community contracted malaria – an entirely preventable and treatable disease – on a trip to Southwest Africa. The woman died after U.S. doctors failed to identify the disease. Soon after, a family friend died when French doctors also could not recognize the disease.
“It blows my mind that malaria is preventable and curable, yet takes lives,” M.L. says. “I can’t believe the statistics.” Indeed, malaria takes the life of a child every two minutes and half the world is still at risk. In 2015, the WHO reported that 95 countries and territories had ongoing malaria transmission and an estimated 3.2 billion people – nearly half the world’s population – were at risk of malaria. Of the estimated 214 million malaria cases worldwide, pregnant women and children represent a majority of them. Malaria also causes children in Africa to miss up to 10 million school days each year. In hopes of bringing awareness to the malaria eradication cause, M.L. has committed to donating a portion of all sales to Malaria No More. “Giving back is part of my nature,” she says. She has been involved with Malaria No More for years and based on the organization’s dedicated work to end this disease, trusts the organization will continue to make progress working in partnership with global leaders and partners in the malaria fight. Malaria No More is honored that M.L. is contributing to our work to end malaria within a generation. Since 2000, the world has made great progress toward ending malaria – deaths are down by more than 60 percent and almost 7 million lives have been saved. To learn more about Malaria No More’s fight to create a world in which no child dies of a mosquito bite, visit us here. With your support, we can be the generation to end malaria.
Tenth Year in the Sun, which M.L. likens to Americanah, Sex in the City, and Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, is available on Amazon and purchases benefit Malaria No More.