The Ministry of Health has upped its campaign against dengue this year in response to the increased number of cases, which means that I've been working with my local health center to create education material that encourages the community to work with the efforts to kill the mosquitoes that transmit the virus, and to eliminate or clean any stagnant water reservoirs. This also means that ministry staff have been going out into homes putting a chemical called abate in family cisterns, and fumigating entire neighborhoods.
It is a sound you can hear from about a block away, and sounds exactly like a leaf-blower, since that is essentially what they use to spray the air with a chemical cocktail sure to kill untold number of mosquitoes and little grey cells. It causes people to flee to the streets, clothes covering their noses and mouths, trying to avoid the toxic fog.
When they came by my street this morning, my neighbors ran for it, grabbing whatever was most important to them to save. One of my neighbors grabbed her infant daughter, another her pet lovebird, another his drink. I stayed where I was, not knowing my landlord (who I just found out spent a week in the hospital with dengue) had opened up his office below me, so the back balcony that I had assumed was safe, was actually filled with the fumes as well.
I couldn't exactly go out my front door either.
I resorted to wandering around my place, a clean t-shirt placed firmly over my face, searching for the place that looked least like it had a fire burning in it. Eventually I stood on my front balcony, waving at my neighbors as they milled around, hoping all of this would keep us all safe for the rainy season.
|Here's to hope...and carcinogens.|