Zika vs. Jamaica



I am sitting on the edge of my bed, calmly poised with insect zapper in hand.
I am frustrated, I feel irritated from being sung to in my ears just as I drift off to sleep.
This seems liked a nightly ritual campaigned by the dreaded mosquito.
I am up and I am ready for battle; smiling with the anticipation of the clickety-click,
zap zap sound of my weapon against the sneaky little mosquitoes.
The insect zapper is the ally that has helped me to survive anything that
creeps, crawls, flies, hops, or anything else that could end up
landing on me in my new life. This is execution time, my little friends.
Buzzzz…. Zappity zap!! Clickety-click! Gone! Goodnight!!!

The above excerpt from my journal was written two years ago after I first moved to Jamaica, my rock of choice. I have been living here for four years now. I have overcome many obstacles that I would never have dreamed possible. The dramatic landscape of rock living can take some getting used to. Living on the rock means having to live with the balance of nature. With the constant climate and environmental changes happening, I sometimes wonder how I have managed to survive and still be smiling. Playing tennis at night with singing mosquitoes must be therapeutic, I guess?

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My deeply rooted fear of insects (officially known as Entomophobia or Acarophobia) could have actually prevented me from taking the final plunge in my dream of moving to an island. I was seriously contemplating not even getting on the plane knowing that my decision to live in Jamaica also meant having to live with all kinds of creepy crawlies, many of them new to me, making them that much scarier. This, coupled with my body’s allergic reaction to insect bites, was a mass of impossible hurdles to overcome in my mind’s eye.

My mind flashes back to all of those sun and fun-filled holidays that were overshadowed by sore and swollen bites all over my body. The dreaded mosquitoes just seemed to love munching on my fresh, British-born legs. They worked their way up my arms and back, feasting all the way. A couple of really cheeky culprits even caught me right on the top of my eyelid on two separate holidays. I thought that was real foul play on the part of the mosquitoes, a low blow even for them. I had been oblivious to their singing and stinging until the itching and swelling woke me up. That time, I was happy to return to England to rethink my desire to “go home”. Swollen eyes are no joke when on holiday.

Now, I have been a resident on the rock for long enough to know that the irksome mosquito bite is not just an itch to be scratched, but a true force to be reckoned with. When I first arrived, it was Dengue fever. I managed to avoid contracting it by following the advice of the Ministry of Health and the Jamaica Information Service that was bellowed out of loud speakers in battered government vehicles. These vehicles were often seen crawling along busy and sometimes not so busy roads and districts.

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Next came the Chikungunya virus – now that one got me. I warned it to leave me out of its business, and I took as many precautions as the average person can to prevent the attack from happening. I adopted an extra special positive mental attitude towards it. I KNEW that I would not be slain like the rest of the population that I saw falling around me. The bent over gait of the Chick V victims recognized each other in passing by with the signature walk of the aged. Jamaicans made a Chik V dance, songs were written about it, and it made headline news. Alas, despite my best efforts, I was struck down and left a disabled bed-bound wreck for five days. I too adopted “the walk” for a while; it was the best that I could do once I was up and about again.

Now comes the arrival of the mighty Zika virus. Apparently, it’s a close relative of Dengue and Chikungunya, but it’s the most dangerous risk to pregnant mothers. Nature’s got to be joking with this one! Temporary crippling of its victims is one thing, but the thought of mosquitoes preventing the entrance of healthy life into the world is another. Dengue, Chikungunya, and Zika will go down in history as battles against the rock. Me? I’m not going down that easily.

And so I sit, perched on the edge of my bed, poised for battle with the singing mosquitoes, anticipating with glee the clickety-click, zappity- zap of my insect zapper.

It’s battle time, Zika… just try me.

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This entry was posted in Creepy Crawlies, General, Health & Beauty, Rants & Grievances, Sonia Henry's posts and tagged by Sonia "The Inner Gardener" Henry. Bookmark the permalink.

About Sonia "The Inner Gardener" Henry

Born in the year that her parent's beloved island was supposedly "set free", Sonia came into this world as what she describes as an "independence baby". Despite being born and raised in London, UK, she grew up with the yearning to "go home", as she often heard her parents lament. Home has always been the rock called Jamaica and was affectionately called "back ah yard". She was constantly reminded that, "No where no better than yard." Many holiday vacations were taken over the years and a real connection was made. Nowhere in the world did, in fact, prove to be better than "yard".

Following a successful career in social care management, life coach and business consultant Sonia made her lifelong decision to "come home". Full of the confidence of a black, British woman with full Jamaican parental training, she stepped forth into her new beginnings and new becoming.

Sonia is proud of the makeshift patois language that she learned during childhood in order to communicate with her mother and other relatives living in the UK who refused to speak "proper" English. The Jamaican intonations mixed with "proper" English seem to sound either weird or fascinating to the local people who often stop and stare on hearing her voice in the local markets, etc. This has not phased her, and she usually ends up speaking to more people as a result.

Writing has always been one of Sonia's passions next to meeting new people. Her time on the rock has allowed her creative juices to flow amidst the amazing natural beauty of her island and its people. It has not all been plain sailing, but writing is the perfect way to look at the funnier side of the challenges of living on the rock. She also writes under the pseudonym, The Inner Gardener.




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10 thoughts on “Zika vs. Jamaica

  1. I remember when I moved from SXM to Florida, I had to bring my zapper tennis racket with me! I also wasnt going to get caught up in the Dengue nor ChickV “bite” of the mosquito.. I remeoved the batteries and packed up my zapper and “Boy” was I glad I did. I couldnt find one of those island zappers in Florida to save my life. I am an avid user of Chinese lineaments (as an Acupuncturists would be) and I combed most Chinese food stores in Florida to find another zapper; to no avail. I keep my zapper by my bed although I have and can AFFORD electric “airco” in Florida (vs. not even able to afford electric power from GEBE), I still get the mosquito in my house and I am READY!

      • Candi, I use essential oils too, and lemongrass is really citronella so it’s a bug repellent. (Actually, even DEET is only a repellent!) You can use Mary’s mix above on your skin or clothes, or in your house pretty much anywhere.

        • Thanks, this is helpful. Been coming to Grenada for 29 years – never many mosquitos in the dry season – most places don’t even have screens. Moved here in December. This year, they have been overwhelmingly active and biting everywhere, all the time so need to figure out a counter strategy since our house is basically open and I feel like I’m being eaten alive.

  2. I never thought I’d be grateful for noxious poisons, but we cheer every time we hear the malathion truck coming our way.

  3. Our bedtime battle with that one “biting bastard” as my BF calls them, has become a bit of foreplay every night. We put down our respective electronics, turn off the light, and wait with breath held, listening for the tell tale whine… Covers get tossed, arms flail, curses are muttered, hands smack…. yup, just like foreplay.

    Biting bastards sharing our bed… LOL

  4. Try using “Skin So Soft” and/or rubbing a dryer sheet over your clothing and skin, placing in pocket or shoe/sandal works great too! Works like a champ with keeping those little bas**rds off you while at work, sleep, or play!

  5. Bloody mosquitos!!! It doesn’t matter where I am, they find me. My skin puffs up and itching the bump until it is raw and bleeding is how (poorly) I deal. After bite or benadryl cream and bug spray does work, but at least one or two suckers still get to me.
    I actually despise mosquito bites more than a foot full of fire ant bites. Anyone that has has the misfortune of getting bit by one of those ants knows how painful it is, let alone a whole hill. For some reason the remnants of ant bites don’t bother me at all, even the tiny blisters just pop and there is no itch, but a mosquito bite, well, I’d rub/scratch/itch a foot, shin, hand, arm right off , even consider amputation to make the itching stop.

  6. I was smitten with Chick V in 2014. I know all too well the “signature walk of the aged”…cause that was me for about a week. Got the rash and all.
    Not a fun time in my life…at all.

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