• It makes little difference if you clear the vegetation around your house the way the leaflets tell you. It can even make it worse.This is the Amazon floodplain, for heaven's sake; the houses are on the banks of the river, and when the tide falls, it leaves pools of standing water everywhere. For a few weeks each year, the mosquitoes are so thick in the air at dawn and dusk that everyone burns wood inside the house, hoping that the thick smoke will force the devils to leave. With streaming eyes, slapping ourselves repeatedly on thighs, arms, sides, even the face, hitting each other when we see one land, jumping around like Keystone Kops, we try to eat the evening meal but more often than not simply give up. It's impossible to sit down or even stay still, and if the needle-sharp bites weren't so painful, we'd probably find it comical...


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