23 Mosquito Bites

23 bites.  A prime number.  Did the mosquitos convene together and plan that before attacking me underneath the dinner table and at the lute match in Sine-Saloum.  I’m at the point where they all itch so good.  Yet when I pull my nails away as a little self-control wafts over me, searing pain, sting, and heat plagues those bites.  Where is my Mom with the oven mitts and duck tape when I need her?  April 16th, all that time before being here without getting bitten isn’t so bad and I shouldn’t be complaining. 

If only, I’d be better at remembering to take my malaria medication every day.  Maybe then, I would be less worried about getting Malaria.  But, as Victoria, my program director, likes to point out, a person would rather get Malaria here where they know exactly what the symptoms looks like and how to treat it than back in the US where it would be weeks of tests before correct knowledge.  Pape, my Senegalese friend and host brother of an American in my program, gets Malaria about 2-3 times a year.  It’s always a bad couple of days but at least he can afford the drugs for treatment.  How can it be that a big capsule of doxycline sits on my dresser collecting dust without being open and there are children, men and women that suffer each year from Malaria, sometimes the parasite taking their lives if they cant find the money to buy the drugs? 

On my spring break to Spain this February, it was surreal to see a white eerie mosquito net hanging in a display window as a decorative item and yet one hangs above me as a protection from a deathly parasite.


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