Mosquito’s, and Malaria in PNG

Hopefully the title of this post will kick the google algorithm into life and bring me some visitors!

This last week, one of my team came down with Malaria. Two days later he arrives in the office to drop off his medical certificate, he was sweating profusely, looked like death warmed up, and yet came all the way to work. This is really significant, as I’ll explain soon. The next day, he came in and was fine, said he still felt awful but was ready to take anything on… Amazing fortitude! The previous night I was bitten by a mozzie 3 times on my leg – so paranoid me, especially with one of my guys down with malaria, I brought up the subject with my team.

This is the PNG method in how to get over Malaria really quickly… Freeze yourself! They say you will feel very cold, but be very hot – and the last thing you will want to do is jump in a cold shower, but that is what they say you MUST do. Their advise is that the cold kills off the parasite that is attacking your system, it loves being hot, hates the cold.

Given how quickly the recovery was this week – If I get Malaria, it’ll be the first thing I do.

So the really significant thing about one of the team coming in whilst sick. It’s not like they can just jump in a car, and two minutes later be at work. Nope. It might be a couple of km walk to a PMV stop (bus stop), then a very crowded ride to work taking anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour and a half. In some areas they run the very real risk of having the PMV held up by opportunistic thieves. And each time they board a PMV they are putting themselves in the hands of a crazy PMV driver, who speeds and doesn’t give a shit for other cars, and in a PMV which is being held together by rust… and people.

I so admire, not only my team – but everyone that does this. It takes a fortitude that most people do not have, just to get to work… And to top that off, most have little pikinini (children) at home being taken care of by a Pikinini Meri (Nanny), as well as supporting lots of their immediate and extended family, their wantok’s (one talk). High rents, high food prices, and being able to do it all on sometimes (most times) less than the NZ minimum wage. They are an amazing people in an amazing country. And they still have time to make sure the big pela dimdim (mwha) is OK.

If you are reading this blog, rest assured – PNG is not for everyone. I will never get used to being called Mr Bird, nor Bossman or Sir. And even less so “white man”… Or people, especially pikinini’s staring at me – and then getting scared when I smile at them – too cute. This place is… inspiring!


3 thoughts on “Mosquito’s, and Malaria in PNG

  1. Kiwis are infamous for being found wandering in all sorts of far flung places…
    being adventurous types ourselves, the NIGHTS show on Radio New Zealand National is always on the look out for other colourful and curious tales… the places you’ve seen, the people you’ve met, the food you tasted – recently or expeditions you’ve had in times gone by… or one you’re on right now!
    Our Own Odysseys are on Tuesday evenings at about ten past seven NZT [101fm]. If you’re keen to share a journey or two with NIGHTS host Bryan Crump, please get in touch
    nights [at]

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