#1 bane of my existence

Apparently I use the expression “X is the bane of my existence” way too much. So much so that Joachim asked me to rank the various banes of my existence. Coming in at number 1…..(drumroll)….was…..MOSQUITO NETS.

Most common net in Malawi - little blue. This was my net in the Kasungu resthouse.

I don’t want to get malaria, so I force myself to sleep under a net. But they seriously fill me with so much rage. Especially the most common type, which is single attachment, with a small metal ring where the net pretty much touches you on all sides.

My first net, best for one.

My first net was bought at REI, and was a square 4-point attachment. This was okay when it was just me, but I really hate shimmying in under the side, and then having to tuck all the sides under. And with our small double bed, with two large people like me and Joachim, I knew it wasn’t going to work.

So, I ordered a large, walk-in mosquito net online, and had it sent to our house for Joachim to bring with him. He (begrudgingly) did, and I opened it up the plastic it came in with much anticipation. Turns out, though, that said “mosquito net” was just decorative, the kind of thing a young girl would hang on a four poster bed. It was just a bunch of mosquito net-type material in shreds, none of which connected. This was obviously not apparent on the Amazon site.

So, then I bought one at the supermarket here, which was too short. I bought some local cloth (chitenje) and had a tailor sew it on the bottom to make it longer. Shocking development: the tailor messed it up, and it wouldn’t actually fit around the bed anymore with the chitenje added. He doubled the fabric over, and when there was not enough, he just bunched all the net and finished sewing.

Back to square one.

Tailor, working on the net. "National Wear" catalogues on the wall behind him.

I finally found a large net in Lilongwe, had the chitenje pulled off the other net by a different tailor, and sewed onto the new net. This time I just waited and watched while the tailors worked.

All in all it was a pretty frustrating experience, but I am very happy with the final product. Our bedside tables are able to fit within the net, and there are openings on both sides so that neither of us gets trapped. And, it’s pretty.



the final product

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One Response to #1 bane of my existence

  1. kristin says:

    Oooh, that is pretty. Are you going to take it home with you?

    Also, I think the most enraged I have ever been in my life was when I spent a summer at the Black Sea and had to decide between opening the windows for air flow or keeping them shut to ward off mosquitos. It was so MF-ing hot that I chose to open and spend every night hearing the buzz of a million skeeters landing on my face.

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