Difficult Mosquito Nets
Danyi Apeyeme, Togo West Africa
Saturday, April 21, 2007
A mosquito net is difficult and annoying to use.
If you have camped in a pup tent, then you many be able to empathize with people who are supposed to be using a mosquito net. There is just no way to get in and out of a one-man tent simply. To protect yourself from mosquitoes you need to unzip, jump inside, and re-zip the net very fast. Then suffocate from the heat.
Malaria or Paludisme
I was in Niger last year, I thought I had Malaria, on hindsight, I may have had Paludisme, I mean food poisoning.
The situation was this, I was very sick, I kept saying to the Niger people, what I thought was the word for Malaria; I said, Malaria, the people would agree or disagree with no problem. I realized later, I was saying Malaria, and nobody knew this word. I need to say, Paludisme the French African way of saying, Malaria.
There are some good sign boards about Puludisme in this area of Togo; the villages along the road to Adeta were promoting the fight against Puludisme. I am not sure; sleeping under a mosquito net is difficult, annoying and fraught with methodical and procedural flaws.
The goal is to not be bitten by mosquitoes.
This is an almost impossible goal to achieve.
I know one thing; I am not going to take Malaria pills for 75 percent of my life. I live in the Tropical Malaria - Puludisme areas of the planet at least 75 percent of the year.
I asked Michael the fixer,
- Do you use a mosquito net? -
- I like to sleep under a fan. -
I will cultural reinterpret this statement.
No, I do not sleep under a mosquito net, I know I am supposed to; I would like to sleep under a fan because the fan blows the mosquitoes off me. However, the truth is, I do not have a fan, and there is not electricity most or about half the time. Therefore, even though I know I am supposed to protect myself from Mosquitoes so I do not get Malaria or Puludisme, I just cannot be bothered. It is too hot, too difficult and I would rather just deal with them, rather than worry about Malaria. Plus, I am too cheap to buy one.
I can about count the number of times I have seen a person in Malaria prone areas sleep under mosquito nets. I see them in Tourist hotels; however, the normal population seems to avoid them. I guess on the Amazon River in places they used them a few times.
In Niger, they have this cool sleep outside bed set-up, which is more or less the Hausa bed, it has a mosquito net.
Still, the goal is to not be bitten by a mosquito, the goal is close to impossible.
- Unless you go into a mosquito net with a bottom, zip is shut, and start to sleep at about 5:00 or an hour before sunset.
A mosquito will bite through the bottom of a hammock.
They can find the small hole; I was looking at a mosquito net in the Turag area of Agadez, Niger one time. The net was over the short stick homes as was supposed to protect a baby. I could see rips in the net everywhere, a mosquito net is delicate, and it rips easy.
Truthfully, DDT is probably the answer. The real solution seems to be to install screens on the windows by professionals.
I was sort of thinking in Kpalime, I was in the L’Aurore hotel for one night; the place had very good screens on the windows. I entered the toilet and shower area and this small window above the toilet was just bars with No screen over the windows. Almost Africa.
I thought to myself, this is not going to work, so I closed to the toilet and hoped they had not already entered.
I was in the Bafana Bafana before that, and there were no screens on any of the windows. It took some work, but I put up my mosquito net and slept under a blanket. Sleeping under a mosquito net is like sleeping under a blanket; it almost successfully stops the breeze or fan, not completely, but close.
Why rooms do not have hooks on the walls for me to install a mosquito net? Ok, I am in this 2000 CFA room in the middle of nowhere, on the planet with Malaria. This funky little room has nails in the wall, I am wondering, was it for pictures or did someone, sometime actually set up a mosquito net? I always carry a mosquito net; I do not use Malaria pills, although setting up a Mosquito net in most rooms in is an Act of God, very difficult and complicated.
You can tell the serious people, they have a bed with four poles, and then you can hook a mosquito net on each of the four poles.
I was cracking up laughing at Mawuli in the Auberge Mandela. The room was sealed tight, a very good room, and the number 4 room I think. Well, I decided to extra kill off the fleas, ants and anything that moved. I closed the doors and windows, before I was going to start living there. I started to gas the place with the insect killer called Killit, the cost is about 1000 CFA.
I did not Almost Africa is, I was doing a German quality job. I was trying to kill everything in the room, I sprayed every crack, crevice and place a flea or mosquito, or my arch enemy ants could sleep.
Mawuli came and sticks his head in the room and sort of signs me to stop. I am thinking to myself, you are slow in the head, please take you vitamins.
I was at the toxic level of breathing and they were outside and he and this girl Essay could smell it, it was annoying them. I thought to myself, and wanted to holler.
- Stop being so lazy, move to the front and leave the courtyard. -
A little annoyance can bring Africa to a stop.
I did not stop, I used the whole can, and thought, I did not Almost Africa that, I did a German style job of killing.
I have this very long pull string on the bottom of my mosquito net. I pick up the four corners of the bed; place the mosquito net under the edges. I then can pull the draw string. As best I can tell, a normal lie on the edges type mosquito net does an almost job, but does not stop them. Then my next problem is to enter the bed, I need to loosen the drawstring, and then climb under it, annoying and difficult, but I do not like to be bitten, I am not so worried about Malaria, I just do not like to have mosquito welts on my body. I like to sleep peacefully.
In addition, it keeps the cockroaches from crawling over my bed and rats from defecating on me as I learned in Pak Bara, Thailand as they crawl in the rafter of my bungalows.
But, it is hot, difficult, and if I had a fan, that was full steam ahead, a good blow, I would maybe think about not using this net and go for the fan, but I know, that would almost work, but not really.
I like to ask people if they carry a mosquito net. The will buy the malaria pills, but are too lazy to carry the mosquito net, but it takes more thinking to set up a mosquito net than to toxic yourself with Malaria pills.
I am sort of musing now, I am thinking, how I can modify this net again so I can have a zipper opening, so I can climb in and out easy. It is possible; I just make a big pull string opening, as a door. I added these carabineer things to the corners the other day in the Bafana Bafana so I can take the long nylon cords off the corners so they are not tangled. I also use them cords for other jobs, like typing my bag on the bottom of my pack.
I have to admit, this mosquito net is getting better all the time, as I keep engineering in other ideas.
The big idea on that sign board is to buy the impregnated mosquito repellant versions of mosquito nets. Seems somewhat silly to me, but for why not, helps the Denmark people to sell mosquito nets to Ghana people who think they cannot make mosquito nets… Another story…
I want to make two modifications to my net. I want the top to be only the size of a single bed, however the bottom to be as big as double or regular bed. I also want to install this pull string type entrance. Buying good lightweight mosquito net is difficult to purchase, I think I need to go somewhere where they do not have a problem with Malaria… Hehehe
There are tons of tailor shops here, I sometime hope I am required to use this mosquito net for a few weeks. I would be more inclined to make the modification and not forget until the next time I am under this blanket.
It is cooler here at 757 meters or something like that, but not enough, it rained and then stopped.
I keep thinking, when I enter an expensive hotel and they have mosquito nets, I am worried. A much better system is to install screens on the windows, mosquito nets are uncomfortable and meant for cheap hotels.
I truthfully think they would do better to install screens on all the windows of the home here, probably would be as effective as trying to put nails in clay adobe walls, and expecting them to hold. The fundamental problem is the rooms, homes, and bed are designed wrong, the root problem is in the design of what is need to hang the mosquito net. Then the mosquito net, there is many adaptations needed before I am happy or through with this baby.
For those who pay a fortune for mosquito nets in a gear shops, they cost about 3 dollars in Thailand.
Mosquito Nets, Mosquito, Annoyances, West Africa Annoyances, Insects, Gear, West Africa Gear,
Difficult Mosquito Nets
Buying Mosquito Nets
Atakpame, Togo West Africa
I would say Ash has tried to use a Mosquito net. I went and found a photo from in Natitingou, Benin whereby I was using a Mosquito net every day in the Auberge USA.
This link of photos has this photo.
This is a page link from my prior trip to West Africa while in Natitingou, Benin.
Ok, from my experience, the big problems with mosquito nets.
1. There is no way to attach it to wall. I cannot drive nails into walls, I do not carry a hammer, and the walls, which need mosquito nets, can fall down… hehehe. I have no idea how to drive hole in wall, sometimes I do put eyelet screws into crack in the joints of concrete blocks.
I think I need a hand-powered screwdriver that had a very small cement drill bit on the end. When you push it, it spins and could slowly drill a hole in concrete, carry some nails and push them in, or use a rock.
Normally as Ash said the roofs are too high or there is no way, I use the door hinge to hang my clothesline on about half the time and the louvered windows of Africa are great. Pictures really help, so do electrical wires on walls.
2. Second problem is size or bulk. I have a full size, rectangular soft mosquito net. The question is this, do you sleep with girls sometimes, and I do not want a mosquito net touching me. When it is hot, it is hot, and mosquito nets are very hot.
Compression Bag, I use a compression bag I found to compress my soft mesh, not the hard mesh mosquito net. A big enough mosquito net for two people has about one meter of mesh and 1.2 meter would be perfect sidewalls. I really want the top the size of rectangular single bed and the bottom larger than a double or queen mattress.
This would reduce the size of net, but keep the stupid thing off me when I sleep.
3. The rope need to be very long to reach the nails. Then it needs to be very light, but very long, to connect to any room in anywhere, you are going to need 1.5 meters or small rope, nylon woven is best, and very small, you have to be able to untie the knots when you make a mistake, or have room to cut. It will be dark when you take this down or put it up often.
4. Staying tucked in, I have a pull string around the bottom, this pulls up the bottom tight and keeps it tucked in like a good elastic fitted sheet, but allow me to get out. I do not like the idea that repellant is going to keep the insect out. I am not going to carry this type of liquid in my bag. I have trouble enough with the fear of what insect repellant can so to my bag and items in my bag. You need to bag, have special bottle, and trip bag things like this, you need to know how to carry liquids like mosquito repellant and mosquito net treatment. I like the idea of treating mosquito net, but after I leave the USA, that will be the last treatment it receives, unless the world starts to have gear shops.
5. Cost, they want too much money for one in a gear store, the good parts about gear store ones are they are light mesh. A mosquito net in most of the world cost less than 5 dollars US. India has terrible mosquito net material, you need to buy one before you go there, and most other places are ok.
6. Sex, you need to think about girls, companions and the stupid jerk who you decided you was going to travel with and you need to baby-sit and is getting eaten alive by mosquitoes until you say, ok, get under the net. I want one big enough to move.
7. BEING Awake - I do not sleep only in my room. I also am awake and need to either use a mosquito net or want to sit up. The more room the better, the one photo is a way to have half the bed for mosquito net and half open for when it is safe.
When a mosquito net is not being used during the day, you need to pull it out if you can, and through it over the top, this will keep bugs and other insects from entering the compartment. At this time, take some killer, something that kills them, and spray the net to kill them small whachamacallits that are so small you cannot seem them.
8 HUGE problem and difficult, the repellent would help. In places like the Amazon, on corners of river, and places like I was on near Iquitos, there are so many insects you need a bottom. There is also an extremely dense, small and very hot and heavy mosquito net material you can buy in places like Iquito Peru on the Amazon River.
9. Hammocks, mine is adapted to be used with a hammock, I did use this in Rurrenbaque, Bolivia this way and slept outside, if you are going to the real jungle, the ground is wet, you need a hammock, I then pull the pull string tight and I am enclosed.
I am getting tired of this, I could easily write days on this subject.
I am going to modify this net again, if I can find some soft mesh or net here in Africa. I would think about some changes, and buying extra mesh or net.
Hooks - A good number 11 fishhook, will bite into a wall, I have them on my backpack organizer, the weight of the clothes in my long organizer pulls down and a real large number 11 hook will bite or cut into the wall, and hook good. I can pound the hook into a wood wall, and then use a way to connect the net.
Self- Propping Net, I think an excellent idea, Chris sent me one, too small and needed a bottom sown in it, I tend to think a bottom is better, because then you would not have to tuck in, and risk tearing the net, but then you need to have a sheet to sleep on.
I opted not to bring the self-propping net because of the weight of the poles, they way a lot. A mosquito net is only used about one time every six months, and by more adventurous sorts, the normal traveler does not even have a net and throws it away because it is too big and heavy.
I hate to sleep in a hammock they are very hard and I do not like my feet up in the air and my head.
10. Do not under-rate or value a fan, a good fan will keep the mosquitoes off you.
11. If you are living long enough in a room to find a hammer, drench your net in liquids, have all this stuff. Why not consider putting net on your windows and forget the mosquito nets.
I continue to stay in room that are 2 and 3 dollars per night, I went and stayed in peoples homes.
The time I was eaten the most was in a hotel in Brugge Belgium, big windows, not net, an expensive room and mosquitoes everywhere.
Next time, I think I will talk about dorm beds and mosquito nets…hehehe
I should make a list of all the creative way I have found to connect to the wall a mosquito net or more often my clothe lines. Oh, yea, take along a clothes line if you want to use a mosquito net. Amazing how a line diagonally across a room will hold a net.
I use plastic clothe pins to hold the net open during the day, for sure you need the clothes line and the pins. A mosquito net makes a good clothes line also.
Women, do not forget, men like women, are you the only one sleeping in the bed?
I need one of them screw ratchet screwdrivers with a good very small cement drill bit, then some number 6 argoz, or what do you call them, the twisted nails used for plywood and such.
I tend to think some one in the UN has a sweetheart deal to supply 50 dollar Mosquito nets to the poor people free, that cost them 3 dollars to make. Because they have convinced them to say they need to be treated. The bottom line is sustainability can you buy this liquid here in Atakpame, Togo? Or doe the ONG, make a big pile of money by way of promotion of this net to people, then acting like all the competitors selling good cheap nets are bad.
One is just better, but not a huge amount. One dollar is one days pay here.
I am in favor of treatment of nets, I am also in favor of telling people to do what the can afford to do.
Mosquito, Mosquito Nets, Annoyances, Insects, Gear, West Africa Gear,
Buying Mosquito Nets
The Ant my Travel Enemy
Lome, Togo West Africa
Thursday, June 7, 2007
A close up photo of some ants eating away at some unknown insect that is smashed and lying dead on the floor of my hotel room. There are many insects in my room, little flea types, ants, big one, little one and of course the world famous cockroach. I am starting to consider the cockroach as just an ugly friend, because I hear they eat bedbugs.
Nevertheless, I call the Ant,
MY Travel Enemy!
I thought I was doing well; I paid 800 CFA about 1.50 US to buy the insecticide to spray my room for bugs. I thought I was being clever, then what happens, I gave my number one enemy a free lunch, and I paid.
I sprayed the room, as I hope I understand, I do not know, I was not watching this bug die. Ok, I sprayed the room, really good, I used the whole can, I think afterwards this bug fell onto the floor, I suspect I step on it and spattered it on the floor when I was making my bed. The guts and glory spread out on the floor, then along came the ants to feed.
Just when you think you got them, they got you, I despise ants, and I have totally stopped eating any sugar candy in room. If I have a wrapper from a candy, I would throw it out of my room. I will not put it in the waste or rubbish bin in my room; it is thrown outside the room.
I do not feed ants, I hate these mini cannot be seen so small ants, the crawl on my body, in my hair, I can feel them, I know they are there.
Ok, no more free meals, I am going to sweep my room.
Note, there is a big hollow space under my concrete bed, I do not like to look, I often find used Condoms, and I am not brave. I am going to have this area swept and cleaned of ant food.
Ants, Insects, Annoyances, Togo,
The Ant my Travel Enemy
One African Cockroach Got Away
Lome, Togo West Africa
Friday, July 6, 2007
There must be two of them, I have turned on every light in the room to make plea, please go into hiding, and I know you do not like the light.
I made a direct hit on one, there were too many sightings there must have been two. The one is dead and lying under the bed. If you travel in the tropics, you live with cockroaches; they are a never-ending annoyance. I do thank them for eating bedbugs, and for the most part they do nothing but annoy, and creepy scare me.
I have carpet on my floor, I want to remove the carpet, spray the room and seal that crack under the door. The last few days it has rained, my proposition is they come inside out of the rain.
Unfortunately, they come up from the shower drains of the world, I am not sure how they do it, but I know they do it; they live and thrive in drains.
I am learning to like rooms with no showers and toilets in the rooms, I do not like to share with humans, however, the human is a small step better than a cockroach. I am leaving for Kara, Togo today; I will do a super good toxic spraying of the room before I leave. A good residue based, I want you to die spraying of the room.
Cockroach killing without prejudice, Karma is for wimps, who do not have the will to survive.
One African Cockroach Got Away