Vzzzzz! Vzzzzz! Can you hear me? I don’t have a big voice, but when there’s a whole crowd of us, then you’ll hear.
We watch the tourists come swooping in on their planes. Their feet hit the tarmac and whoosh! We surround them – so many the air’s heavy with our presence, but it’s no fun at the airport. The repugnant smell of all that cream they’ve smattered on their arms is enough to put you off, or sometimes you try to get a hold and something from within them pulls you away.
No, when the sun goes down is when the fun starts. My colony and I – we make our airborne way through the city. The little mud huts are our destination; there’s sure to be a crack or two … In we go while the household sleeps, and straight to the huddle of children. I dive down to one of the bodies – so small you might mistake me for a speck of dirt, and finally a victim! Surely one of my colony is having the same thrill next to me – the air’s heavy with our presence … Bad air. Malaria.
And the victim stays a victim long after I’ve finished with them. If only they could travel! There’s a hospital with medicine, miles into the distance, but what transport do they have? Only their feet, and an unhealthy body walks nowhere. Once, near the hospital I saw a breathless grandfather struggle to carry his little one, only to be turned away. No money, no medicine. Ever the victim. That’s how it’s been for centuries …
What? That one next? Oh, we can’t go in there; lost cause. Why? Well, peep through the door and I’ll show you. See that? The net over the bed. Sure to be a crack or two? Not likely! Even if there were, the stuff they cover them in is so overpowering, you can hardly breathe. Malaria intervention, that’s what they call it. Folks from the local church give out these nets. Just $10 a piece. Shh – they’ll all want one! And once they’ve got them, that’s it for us. We can’t get near the huddle of children. Ever the victim? More like never the victim! If it’s not the nets, they’re growing strange trees and we can’t get near them either. So what’s left for us now; do we just have to twiddle our wings?
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Today is World Malaria Day, and you can click here to read more mosquito posts.