Buzzing and Biting

Fireflies, houseflies, tsetse flies, bullfrogs, cicadas, mosquitos, moths, flying ants, tiny gnats, and crickets. Some make a racket, some bite, some dive bomb. I haven’t noticed any locusts, so they must be out of season. The hard-bodied locusts land on your shoulder or in your hair with an audible thump, and the first time it happened I thought a bird had landed on my head.

The tsetse flies were congregating on the ceiling of our pink geodesic dome. We use the dome for serving meals, and it houses the fridge donated to us by a local NGO. The fridge doesn’t keep things very cold since we only run the generator for two hours in the evening or to pump water to our water tank. 

Since our trip last March, the dome has been moved to a different spot and now sits on a concrete foundation. I know about the insects here, so I had brought a spray bottle with pyrethrum for treating camping gear, mosquito nets and the like. The tsetse flies started to drop after a good spraying of the ceiling yesterday afternoon. There were a few hanging around today, so tomorrow we’ll give it another shot. The spray also keeps the flies off the curtains of the tukuls, which makes going in and out much more pleasant.

I have a mosquito net over my bed, but I didn’t get it tucked in properly yesterday evening. I’ve had this trouble in hotel rooms, too. They should give lessons in the art of sleeping under a mosquito net. It’s a little creepy to sleep inside a net closed all around you. I feel like I’m going to forget and try to get up and become tangled in the netting like a fish. 

Now my ankles are marked by mosquito bites–16 bites on one ankle and 14 on the other. Another 10 dotting my arms and legs. One thigh sports an ugly red welt nearly two inches in diameter with a hard raised center. Day two it blisters and pops. It doesn’t hurt, it doesn’t itch. I can’t find anyone who knows what bites like that, but if I find out, I’m going to give that insect a wide berth. I’ve had bites like this before both in Kenya and Sudan, both times on my wrist. I showed one of the clinic nurses and he said it was an allergic reaction. i told him I was putting on cortisone cream. He said that was the right treatment.

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