Chikungunya & Air Conditioning

May 16th, 2014

A new virus has swung into town.  It is spread by mosquitoes, so you have to get bit to contract it. (full story on Fox)

People who come down with chikungunya get a fever, rash, terrible body aches, etc. for about a week, though the symptoms can linger for months and in some cases even years.  Rarely is it fatal, though I heard of a child dying of it a few days ago.

Chikungunya made news in Haiti last Tuesday (May 6th) when the health department said there were 14 confirmed cases.  Now they are saying there are 1,529 confirmed cases, but in all likely-hood I suspect many tens of thousands here in the capital have it.

I base that on anecdotal evidence that every ministry I know here across town has employees/staff down with it.  Here at the bakery, at least two of my guys have gotten it already. 

I’ve never seen an epidemic spread like this first-hand.  It reminds me of the plagues I’ve read about back in England hundreds of years ago, where so many people would suddenly come down sick when a new virus swept through the area.  The Black Death, they called it.

I’ve been trying to wear more Off and do a better job at killing ‘dem mosquitoes.

Right now is rainy season so they are out.  I purchased an electric mosquito zapper that looks like a tennis racquet.  It works superbly, blasting them out of the air when they fly through the mesh screen.

However, the zapper has added a bit of stress to my life.  Now whenever I see a mosquito in my apartment, I quick run to get the zapper and hunt it down.  Sometimes they hide so I can’t find them, which is frustrating because then I know there’s a live mosquito somewhere waiting to pounce. 

I think the mosquitoes around here have learned that whenever I have the zapper in my hands it’s time for them to hide.

So it’s been getting hotter here, as we approach the summer months.

I’ve been thinking more about air conditioning.  My apartment is only 260 square feet, so maybe it wouldn’t be too hard to cool?

Power is the problem.  We don’t have much power here.  Recently are city power has only been on about 3-4 hours in a 24 hour period (usually during the night). 

I have 4 deep cycle batteries that store current when power comes on at night.  I also have 220 watts of solar panels on the roof to charge my batteries during the day.  Additionally, there is an 11k generator we sometimes run, but usually when it’s running it’s not hooked up to my place, but charging somewhere else on the compound.

It’s difficult to even keep my refrigerator cold, much less run an air conditioner.

But I’ve been thinking…. What if I could air condition just the area of my bed?  What if I put a Styrofoam roof and Styrofoam walls around my bed, and hooked a window unit into it?  That way I could use a super tiny window unit.

My other idea is to buy an aftermarket automotive air conditioner system and hook the compressor up by belt to a wind turbine mounted on the roof.

I’ll keep you posted.

One Response to “Chikungunya & Air Conditioning”

  1. Ryan Says:

    We have been reading about Haiti and Chikungunya. Such a terrible thing to add to the already large list of mosquito born illnesses. We are praying for those in Haiti.

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