House of Unicorn | Erykah St. Louis

Thank you Vasco

Erykah St. LouisComment

Vasco being weighed at a clinic in the DRC. Photo credit: UNICEF 2014 Dubourthoumieu

I'm not a morning person.

But for whatever reason, I've been up this morning since 4:45 am—which is a major departure from from my usual wake time. I wrestled with myself to fall back asleep but failed miserably. So I decided to see what Intstagram had to offer and thought maybe I'd get bored and doze off. I came across this striking photo of a little baby boy dangling from a scale and immediately I perked up. 

His name is Vasco and he's from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Vasco is new to our world. At only two months, he's pictured here being checked for malnutrition at a health centre where UNICEF has programs designed to help babies like Vasco survive and thrive beyond their early years. 

Malnutrition and sever malnutrition is a common issue in many parts of the developing world and it really breaks my heart knowing that many babies out there are literally starving to death. The reasons behind this are numerous but so are the solutions. This photo of Vasco hanging so peacefully in the scale represents one of many solutions in the fight against malnutrition. And what a fight it truly is. According to the World Food Programme (WFP) "Poor nutrition causes nearly half (45%) of deaths in children under 5." That's 3.1 million children each year. Shocking isn't it?

It is. And as a humanitarian worker it's easy to get immune to these statistics and the issues because your day-to-day is spent being engulfed in the solutions. But today I pause for Vasco. I'm pausing to remember why I do what I do—for babies like him—and to think about how much brighter his future is going to be simply because of the hanging scale.

Thanks to this photo of Vasco, my Monday is going to be extra happy and inspiring. This is how I plan to #easeintomonday.