Friday, February 18, 2011

Have You Seen Any Mosquitoes In Ghana?

They are everywhere. One of the absolute worst sounds is hearing that high-pitched and piercing whine of the little wings beating one thousand times a minute next to your ear. It is just calling out to you, "I am going to land on you and dip my proboscis into your skin for a drink."

For the most part they come out at dusk and start to buzz around me or the computers in mini-swarms. Three or four at a time will circle around looking for breakfast. I don't know what it is about the computers, but they seem to think something smells like flesh so they dart back and forth near the vents and monitors finding little success. Should I want to kill them, and I cannot begin to express my desire to kill them all here, I have to be fast. They are super quick and quirky. Their zigs and zags mean that if you can track them for more than four or five seconds you are dealing with a terminally slow and lethargic creature. They often fly so erratically that they disappear from view in less than two seconds. But like a shark fin that dips below the surface, you know that the insect is still buzzing around.

My method is to just give a good hand clap in the air and hope that I accidentally caught the sucker between my palms. One loud clap and if I don't see a squashed body stuck fast to my thumb pad, then I can be sure that the mosquito is now lost again somewhere in the room. If I look down and see the flattened creature on my hands, the joy and pride is immeasurable. "I got you!"

For the record, the mosquito is the only thing that I seek out to destroy here in Ghana. I even was kind enough to save and release a medium-sized cockroach that crawled out of my bedroom late one night in the dark. I am not bloodthirsty by nature, but I can make an exception for the one who is actually bloodthirsty for me. In hindsight I should have created a spreadsheet for a tally of "squashes" had in Ghana. Sadly, I will just keep track day by day. So far today I have two kills, but my success rate is no more than 5% of possible squashes. I hope to get better before I leave.

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