With the summer rains come the mosquitos, and, around here, with mosquitos comes malaria. Before we moved to Malawi, we didn’t know a lot about malaria, and kind of expected that every mosquito here would be carrying it. Not true. Only the female of a certain species of mosquito carries malaria. Still, we’ve adopted a policy of trying to avoid ALL mosquitos. Because it’s not like they show their “I carry Malaria” ID card before they bite you…
Here are a few things we do to fend off the mozzies:
Frequently used items, sitting next to our front door: mosquito repellent spray, mosquito repellant cream, and sunblock. Don’t leave home without it.
We have 2 types of windows in our house, and this type doesn’t have a screen of any sort. The mosquitos come out from dusk to dawn, so we simply keep these windows closed from about 5pm until we get up in the morning.
We can’t keep all the windows closed, though! It’s summer here in the southern hemisphere, and it’s HOT! But check out these awkward windows – you can’t put a screen on the outside because they open outward, and you can’t put a screen on the inside, because then you can’t work the handles to open them…
Solution: mosquito netting curtains. Three lengths of mosquito netting firmly attached to the wall, but with enough overlap that you can pull them aside to open the windows.
But no system is foolproof, and the mozzies can still get in sometimes. They come in the doors with us when we get home at night, or in the windows we didn’t close on time. So we also use these “mosquito coils”. Think Citronella candle in incense form.
And we found these great handmade coil holders at the pottery place in Dedza!
The last defense against mosquitos is the net over our bed. Most bed nets hang from a frame about 3 feet below the ceiling. We decided to make our own and attach it to the ceiling so that we could put a fan inside our net; because otherwise it feels like sleeping in a cheesecloth bag!
And this is Matt’s design and Rachel’s sewing ability on display – we made it with 2 cords to raise and lower the net. If we lived in a tree, we’d be just like Swiss Family Robinson.
Safe and mosquito-free!
Lastly, we take a weekly medication as a malaria prophylaxis. We don’t have a picture of us taking a pill, but you should see some of the weird dreams that medicine gives us!
While we try our best to protect the health that God has given us, ultimately, He’s the one who determines if we get malaria or not. Our greatest comfort is the knowledge that if we do get any kind of weird disease, God will give us the grace we need to endure it. That knowledge keeps us from living in fear, and helps us enjoy life here in Malawi!