Today we travel from Jinja to Masaka (about 5-6 hours) where we will teach for four days.

It’s the rainy season here in Uganda, so it rains daily in the mid to late afternoon. It pours with conviction for about thirty minutes and gradually dribbles off over the next hour. The only exceptions are those few days when it sluices us most of the night, but so far, we have not had a day when it rains all day. Most of the time it is either sunny or mildly cloudy until the dark gray, sometimes almost black, clouds roll in. We can see so much sky here – the land is pretty flat – that we always have warning during daylight of the coming downpour.

This weather report is only to emphasize a collateral effect – Mosquitoes! Malaria carrying mosquitoes! We take doxycycline daily as a malaria preventive. If our room does not seal up well, as the room we had in Tororo with the broken glass in the window and the porous screens, we chase them with our electric “mosquito bat” continually. I have killed as many as five at one time with it because of the numbers. I’m going for the epic “Big 7” kill.

Of course, this is why all the beds are covered by mosquito nets, and we spend a good deal of our time each night trying to figure out how to get the net to fit snugly around the bed, let alone getting in and out through the net. However, some always get inside and wake us in the night by buzzing our faces. “Mosquito net” seems to be a double entendre here – they serve to keep most of the mosquitoes out, but the little critters also like to land on them for a rest. The nets are my best mosquito trap because the nets are white and I can clearly see the mosquito clinging to the net for a rest in it constant circling quest for blood – tiny little vampires! It becomes very easy to trap them against the net, and when they try to fly up and away, it is directly into the electric mesh of the bat – ZZZZZap! – which if I am honest, I quite enjoy. It’s the thrill of the hunt! So “mosquito net” to keep them out, and “mosquito net” to net them into my trap – (ooooahhhahahahahaha -maniacal laughter.)

Every night involves shining the flashlight around the inside of the net, locating where they are sitting on the net, and waving the bat around without zapping  Gail in the process, which might be unpleasant for both of us (boy, howdy! she says from beside me).

The other night while Gail was ministering with her friend Irene in Mbale, one of the small boys had a mosquito bat but didn’t know how to turn it on. Gail watched him entertain himself for quite a while by running around the room waving the turned off bat at the mosquitoes and making the very satisfying zapping sound with his mouth – boy zero, mosquitoes fifty, but fun was had by all.

These bites do not itch for Gail, but if I have them, they itch like crazy. Different chemistry, I guess.

Our last night in Tororo we ate dinner in a home and the door was kept open because of the heat. It was quite dim where we sat, but we could sense the mosquitoes flying around and lighting on our exposed ankles. Attached is a picture of Gail’s leg the next morning. Fortunately, these bites never itch for her, but unfortunately, they about drive me insane. I don’t know what the difference between us is, but I am always scratching (and yes, mosquito repellent does help some to keep them off, but that evening we did not have it with us.) I didn’t mean to suggest that Gail’s mosquito bites make me itch to see them, but….almost!!

The conditions I am describing eloquently explain why malaria is still a severe problem in Africa, and a leading cause of death in children and elderly.

News update:

  • Today we make the long 5-6 hour trek to western Uganda to Masaka where we will teach for four days.
  • By some miracle of God (and I am not exaggerating) our missing bag finally caught up with us last night about 7 pm while we were staying in Jinja for the night, which is where we normally center ourselves in Uganda. We had given them instructions that if they ever found the bag, to send it to the guesthouse in Jinja and hopefully, they would hold it for us. On this leg of the trip, we are in transit, so were here only for one night, then on to the opposite side of the country. If we had not been in this exact location at this exact time, the bag would probably have disappeared into the taxi system. We now have most of our things, though it seems key items were pilfered along the journey, and we are happy.
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