• IA

The Fog

It's January and relatively quiet on the visitor's front, as is actually always the case this month. The rainy season has started about 5 weeks ago and brings us the usual, sometimes deluge-like rainfalls. Today is the first day of this year that we are greeted by a bright blue sky as we step out the door, more precisely a blue sky and a whole swarm of mosquitoes, because they are omnipresent at this time of year. The undesired pests can be found everywhere and especially this year they are plentiful around.

Now, one could resign oneself to this. A few mosquito bites more or less don't make much difference. But with the mosquitoes something else came here to us to Bunutan: Dengue. In contrast to malaria, which does not exist on Bali (but on the neighbouring island Lombok), dengue fever breaks out in every rainy season at a different place on the island. In our bay, Lipah, there are already two official cases this season: a child and an old woman. And for once the Indonesian government acts fast and unbureaucratically: This morning, already for the second time this year, the mosquito hunters with their portable fogging machines are on the move. They knock on every door and spray their poison into every garden. We have just enough time to collect our four-legged friends and bring all of us inside to safety, when the show begins: Accompagnied by infernal noise they roam through our garden and produce more fog than a high-performance fogging machine at a hard rock concert on Halloween. For minutes you can't see your own hands in front of your very face. Then the ghostbusters disappear to continue in the next garden.

We, that is my husband and me, our staff, our 3 cats and 2 rabbits, are watching the apocalyptic show from the safe position of our joglo. Even as The Fog slowly clears, a gnagging doubt begins to grow in my mind as to whether this action will really bring the desired result. After all, we've been trying for decades to overcome the little beasts with this method. Considering the increasing worldwide spread of malaria, dengue, zika and other diseases transmitted by mosquitoes, the success is highly questionable. But what is the alternative? A vaccination against dengue fever already exists, but is not uncontroversial and is not yet widely available. Another approach to infect the evildoers with the way too beautiful sounding name Aedes Aegypti with the bacterium Wolbachia, which results in the mosquito no longer transmitting the disease-causing flavivirus, is still in a very early stage. So what should we do?

In situations like these, it is best to consult the oracle of the 21st century: the Internet. And it doesn't let me down. It reveals the existence of a mosquito lady in Bali. This highly-motivated lady from America has dedicated her life to mosquitoes, or rather their extermination. But even though she also wants to do the biting pests in, they would certainly prefer her methods: she and her team simply drain the breeding grounds of the bloodsuckers so that they cannot reproduce. A clever idea! And, despite being bitten by dozens of allegedly eradicated mosquitoes, my hopes are raising while I am writing an email to the mosquito lady.

To be continued.