Saturday, July 15, 2006
A good thing
Mosquito nets. The mosquitoes that carry malaria bite at night, so in malaria-endemic places these insecticide-laced nets are what Martha Stewart would call "a good thing."
Malaria isn't usually fatal, but kids who suffer repeated infections end up weaker, anemic, malnourished, and more vulnerable to other diseases. In some parts of the Mentawais, a quarter of the kids die of preventable diseases before age 12. Getting everybody to sleep under a net can prevent some of that - and it's pretty affordable ($8 to protect a family of 4 for 5 years).
I loved this net. It really kept the little buggers off -- better than the smelly, pink, plug-in mosquito repeller we have in Jakarta, for example. I don't think Martha would approve of my net-hanging style, though. In my defense, this was my first one, and my room didn't have much in it besides some mothballs and a large dead cockroach, neither of which make very good tie-downs.