I would like to start a series of blog-blurbs about my daily life in Uganda. Each day for the next two weeks, I want to [try to] share a glimpse of my life with you. Ideally this will include pictures, but I can’t make promises from Africa…it just doesn’t work that way here!
The Wonders of Mosquitoes
I never really liked mosquitoes in America. Really though, nobody can say “I love those little buggers…” but seriously, they aren’t so bad compared to an African mosquito.
African mosquitoes look basically the same as they do in Washington. They are the same size and color. They still bite the same way. In fact, their bites even look and feel the same as the ones left by a Washington mosquito.
The opinion-altering difference: These ones like to carry a little thing we like to call “Malaria.”
So when a mosquito got trapped in my mosquito net while I was sleeping, and decided it had nothing better to do than leave about 16 bites all over my body during the night, my first thought when I discovered the trail of itchy bites was, “S***…did I take my Malaria pill yesterday?” My next thought was, “I hope those things work. The odds are stacked pretty high if this bug is a vector.”
I used my new vocabulary term, vector after learning it last week. I was creating song lyrics with the primary school kids and they wanted to write one about vectors, or as I was informed by a 10 year old, “disease carrying organisms.” Now I know a mosquito is a vector. A nasty one at that.
This is the song we wrote to the tune of The Itsy Bitsy Spider:
The buzzing, flying Mosquito
Likes flying with his friend
His friend is called Vector
When Vector and Mosquito
Land upon your skin,
They can make you sick.
To protect from Vector and Mosquito,
You sleep under a net.
Now Vector and Mosquito can’t land on you again!
It is no masterpiece, but it is ironic, right? Perhaps we should add a verse that says, “Unless you are an inexperienced net user from America and don’t check for mosquitoes before you trap them to attack your innocent flesh.” Not as catchy, but at least it would be more accurate.
I’ve gotten pretty good at killing them. As my cousin pointed out, they are even slower after they have had a feast…because they are filled with your blood. That’s when it also happens to be the most satisfying to kill them.
Another side note about mosquito nets: They primarily and almost exclusively block out mosquitoes. This explains why I have three massive spider bites in a place I can’t show anyone if I want to maintain my dignity. I hope that s/he was not a vector.