Sunday, February 14, 2016


Yes, there are mosquitoes here in Dominica—just as there are at home in West Virginia during the summer months. I don't think that there are more of them here, but for various reasons (nice weather, no television, etc.) I am outside a lot more down here, and thus I do get bit from time to time. So far they have not been that much of a bother to me, but there is a new concern that I'm sure has some of you worried about me—a rapidly spreading virus called “Zika.” Fortunately, it has not been detected on our island yet, but with many other Caribbean islands infected, it is probably just a matter of time before it shows up here, too.

The biggest problem with this virus is its links to brain deformities in babies whose mothers were infected during pregnancy. I will not be impacted by this, but I certainly hope nothing unfortunate happens to anyone in our village.

So none of you should worry yourself about my chances of getting Zika. From what I've learned, to most people its symptoms are not as bad as the Dengue and Chikungunya viruses spread by the same species of mosquito. Hopefully I will not get any of these three maladies.

The Peace Corps does try to keep us safe. We had training about this topic before arriving here. They also provide us with free access to insect repellants (some of mine are shown below). I don't always spray myself when going out, because I just don't like having the stuff on me. However, I have been trying to be more conscious about this problem, and have been at least taking the little bottle with me.

I am burning more mosquito coils when sitting on my ocean-view front porch. I realize that the smoke may be just as bad for me as spraying the chemicals on my skin, but there is just something more appealing to me about the mosquito coils—maybe it is because the pyromaniac inside me gets to play with matches.
Recently, an informational session was held down at the main road by the Ministry of Health. They came in a van with a bullhorn speaker in the back (shown above), gave a presentation, and took questions from the crowd. Below are the signs that were posted in the bus stop announcing this special meeting. The Ministry of Health is also running lots of announcements on the local radio stations about Zika.
Another way the Peace Corps tries to keep us safe is by providing us with mosquito nets. Below is a picture of my bed that I crawl into each night. [Yes, Mom, I realize that I didn't make my bed before taking this picture, but there is rarely a night down here when it is cold enough to even pull a sheet over top of me—plus it is more difficult to make your bed when you are dealing with a mosquito net.]
Finally, after letting you get a glimpse of my mosquito net, I thought it was worth sharing this special Valentine greeting on this holiday. Happy Valentine's Day everybody!

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