Of Dogs, Cats and Mosquitoes

In Haiti, Photography on February 14, 2011 at 10:26 pm

Dogs are not pets, cats are few and mosquitoes are plenty!

In Haiti dogs are not kept as indoor pets.  They are community residents or scroungers. If lucky they may enjoy a periodic handout, otherwise they are left to find their own scraps to eat.  On base at All Hands we have ‘Dogeson’ who somehow seems to have endeared himself enough to be baptized and named.  No petting allowed…  Dogs are more often chased with sticks and stones.  Diseases such as rabies, anthrax and parasites carried by these dogs can be transmitted to people.

Cats serve as rodent killers but are few and far between. After more than three weeks in Haiti, I have seen two cats; not sure where they have all disappeared?  A colleague was out about the local community last week, meeting and chatting up the locals when he stumbled upon a chap holding a squirming bag… only to be told it was a cat in a bag. Let your imagination run away.  What was the cat’s destiny?  I leave that for you to decide.

If mosquitoes have a fond affection for you then bypass Haiti!  Mosquito nets, deet and malaria tablets are just a few items you need to carry in your war chest.  Unlike everyone else in post earthquake Haiti, mosquitoes have found the new environment to be a perfect source of nutrition and a bedrock of breeding grounds. Piles of rubble and garbage abound. Dengue fever and malaria are prevalent in Haiti.  UNICEF estimates that 70-80 percent of people living in low-lying coastal areas are at risk of contracting malaria. As dusk settles the mosquito population comes out of hiding and I run for refuge under my net.

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