Yea, I want to tell you about mosquitos. If you are reading this from Nigeria, you might want to skip forward.
Now, why would anybody breathing the air of Providence, Rhode Island in the United States of America ever have to think of the insect, or ever have to title a blog post after the mosquito? Well, you are about to find out. Like listening to a good story, you will have to be patient to the end.
I have once considered a house in Bariga, Lagos Nigeria where a brother used to stay as the headquarters of mosquito colonies in Nigeria, and here’s why. They never died. They never left. And with all the numerous insecticides and mosquito sprays that my brother bought and sprayed the house with, all it needed was for you to go to bed, and the mosquitos came right back, out to get you: their singular purpose. It didn’t matter whether you had a covering or that the fan was running at the highest speed. They will get you and your skin will be full of blisters and marks when you wake up the following morning. It was the same in many houses in Lagos where I had laid my head, and I had long given up on being ever able to stay away from malaria infection at least once every six months, when I am lucky.
However, in the last couple of months, in my preparation for America, I had been sleeping under a mosquito treated net. With this net, all mosquitoes died immediately after making contact with it, and the person who slept inside it was safe and sound. If it wasn’t treated for mosquitoes, it still served as a net to keep out the intruding blood-suckers who were the main malaria vectors. In making sure that I didn’t bring malaria into the United States, I also gave myself a complete Atemisin Combination Therapy (a full dose of Artesunat and some other strong malaria medication, to give your body a complete malaria fumigation) and rested assured that I had nothing to scare my American hosts with. While on the American Airlines flight from Heathrow to Boston, I had about a half-hour discussion with someone about malaria, and what I came off with was a confirmation of what I had heard about the American dread of the disease, and their surprising ignorance about its spread and characteristics. Was it contagious? Did you get it by shaking hands with someone who had malaria? etc. I took time to explain and hoped that I had set his mind at rest that Malaria was not like Ebola or Leprosy which was spread by touch or any human bodily contact. It was a common disease all right, but with the right medication taken rightly, you’d be fine in no time.
So, here I am now, just returning from a very fulfilling trip round the city of Providence. We had met the Lieutenant Governor of the State, toured the Mall, bought some nice things, ate some nice stuff, and are now just getting down from the bus in front of the University Inn when something pinched me hard on the back of my hand. The pinch was familiar but it took me some time before I adjusted to the now shocking reality that a mosquito was indeed on my hand, sucking me out. It didn’t wait for me to get into my room. It had attacked me in the presence of my fellow scholars from Spain and Germany, and as I was not prepared to accept defeat, I reacted in a way only a Nigerian could, and defeated the blood-sucking demon. Now who would have thought that after flying for thousands of miles to escape away from the heat and troubles of deadly malaria in Nigeria, one of these suckers would still trace me down and actually find me here in Providence, RI? I may be screwed. It’s a good thing I came here with some more of those malaria medication from Nigeria. Time to get back to swallowing. By the way, did you hear the story of the Fulbright FLTA students from Nigeria that were delayed for five hours at the airport in the United States (some two years ago, I think) for telling the Customs Officer that they had brought “drugs from Nigeria” in their bags to deal with Malaria? The Customs Officer would not have batted an eyelid had they said they brought “malaria medication” instead. Drugs are another matter entirely.
Why did you think the mosquito was able to trace me down here. Was it my colour? Maybe. Was the mosquito racist? Maybe not. I think it must be because of all the personal information I’ve been sharing out on my blog lately. Darn Google Earth!
Update: More information about the American Mosquito here, since it will take convincing some Nigerians that mosquitoes are not native to their country.