5 years ago I travelled to Ghana, West Africa for 6 weeks to study Women in African Literature and Post-Colonial Literature. It was an amazing trip that deeply enriched my view and understanding of the world and some of the underlying causes of extreme poverty. Throughout those 6 weeks I experienced many firsts. It was the first time I’d been to Africa, it was the first time I read anything by Chinua Achebe, it was the first time I’d seen a millipede bigger than my hand. It was also the first time I ever had to take malaria pills and the first time I ever had to set up a mosquito net to provide further protection against mosquitos carrying the terrible disease.
My first attempt at setting up a mosquito net inspired me to write a step-by-step how to guide, which I thought I would share with you in the lead up to World Mosquito Day on August 20th.World Mosquito Day is a day meant to raise awareness about the causes of malaria and how we can prevent it, as well as raising funds to help tackle the disease worldwide. If you have a malaria related story, please share it on the Malaria No More UK website to help raise awareness of malaria’s impact around the globe.
Malaria kills over 655,000 people each year, but thanks to multiple doses of bug spray, malaria pills, and my insecticide impregnated mosquito net my experience with malaria is limited and I left Ghana without the lingering side effects of this debilitating disease.
How To Set Up a Mosquito Net In 10 Easy Steps (originally posted June 6, 2007)
Step 1: Remove mosquito net from package.
Step 2: Search for instructions.
Step 3: Realize there are no instructions just random bits and pieces of screws, string, plastic sticks, and netting.
Step 4: Question who on this planet would just assume that I know how to set up a mosquito net without instructions.
Step 5: Place tiny stool on bed.
Step 6: Have roommate hold the wobbly stool while lifting yourself up. I suggest using your roommates head for balance, but this is completely optional. Also, the sensation of climbing onto a stool that is placed precariously on a bed feels a little like surfing or perhaps experiencing a slight earth tremor…I suggest working on your ab strength and balance prior to mounting the stool.
Step 7: Once you are standing up right on the stool and are relatively balanced…laugh hysterically for at least one minute.
Step 8: Jab one of the random available pieces into the ceiling. Beware of falling debris and bugs which may cause you to jump which will inevitably throw you off the ever-so-stable stool.
Step 9: Attach net to random piece lodged in the ceiling.
Step 10: You’re done! You may carefully dismount the stool and repeat the process for your roommate!
Despite the lightheartedness of this post, malaria is a serious disease that kills one child every minute and disables many more, which can limit their ability to earn a decent wage and stay out of a cycle of poverty as they grow up. If you’d like to take further action against malaria, please write to your local MP using this letter as a guide. For a little more info about malaria, check out this video care of Malaria No More and K’naan.