Two weeks ago, with a shuffle of the teams and a massive assembly of gear, we took off to the Goidhoo Sub-Stoll for the second session survey. After sleeping nine men to a room the first night at the guest house, we set out in an over-weighted boat to our respective islands. The Goidhoo Dengue Destroyers was assembled into what you might call a dream team, consisting of Dan..and I. Our mission: tackle mosquito survey of the small town and give some hope for the large island, large swamps (AKA “mosquito factories”), and long-term sustainability of mosquito reduction. Hopped off the boat onto an empty jetty, only to be startled by the realization that some miscommunication meant only two people on the island even knew we were coming! We called up the island health officer, Wisham (excellent man) who, in the span of ten minutes, assembled the leading members of every organization on the island. We went over our project plan with them, asked for and offered resources, and ten minutes later had reached agreements on how the whole thing was going to flow (initially, headed up by the health center). We all piled into the community van to visit the jungle breeding and tour the town. The worst was the seasonal brackish pond, three hundred feet across, hot as tea, breeding millions larvae. It had it’s very own coconut and crab-hole breeding as well!
“People come in with big plans….Then they see this.” they told us.
I’ve gotta say the jungle was pretty intimidating. The willingness of the community gave us hope though. The next day we got survey going in the town, and started training health workers and community members in our control methods. There was plenty of enthusiasm for this particular problem! The following days we would arrive early, only to find fifteen-plus people already there, a fresh bucket of fish collected for the day. The larvae in the town didn’t stand a chance; we finished the first survey in about two and a half days. The five community teams quickly took over from us, and even lead most of the town recheck in the problem areas!
Needless the say, the first week left us pretty hopeful for the Goidhoo project. We even completed a survey of the many farming areas on the island, and with the help of the ambulance and about five members, collected thousands of Japan fish from island wells to battle it out with mosquitoes in the swamps!