What, may I ask, is the purpose of a mosquito?
Because the other night I couldn’t come up with one good reason for their existence. After the umpteenth attempt to swat one of these annoying blood-sucking insects with a wild swipe through the air, I klapped myself. Wide awake. It was 3:17. Fed up, I googled: “Mosquito purpose”. I’m apparently not the first person to question this because the general consensus was (among non-scientists, anyway): mankind would be better off if mosquitoes simply disappeared overnight. They are a bit like one’s tonsils and appendix: redundant.
Fish, frogs and other aquatic animals will, of course, be negatively affected if the world’s population of mosquitoes disappears because they feed on them. As one scientist put it: mosquitoes make more mosquitoes, and they’re food for aquatic animals. (Couldn’t we rather start a GoFundMe campaign to sponsor tins of fish food for these aquatic creatures? At least that won’t keep me awake at night...)
In Cape Town it feels as if we have way more mosquitoes than usual this year. I’m actually not surprised. In gardens and backyards everywhere, there are buckets and drums and tanks filled with water. We’re suffering from ‘drought anxiety’ so if a few drops of rain fall, it’s a mad rush to get every single empty vessel outside. For months now, I haven’t had a waste bin beneath my kitchen counter – it’s standing outside under the sawn-off gutter, full of rainwater.
And there has been a mozzie population explosion in this stagnant water – there are now more mosquitoes than there have been drops of rain.
The ongoing drought presented us, the Home team, with a dilemma. This is our bathroom issue. But for many of us, a bathroom is no longer a ‘happy place’. From Cape Town all the way to PE and deep into the Karoo and the Northern Cape, it is the place where we recycle our grey water from the shower and laundry to flush the loo.
However, we all agree that a bathroom should be beautiful as well as practical, which is why we took a slightly different approach with our bathroom feature (see page 52). We showcase creative reader solutions that you can easily copy in your own space – from an innovative addition to a century-old house in Robertson to window frames used as a shower partition in Hout Bay. And I just love the red door complete with its mail slot on page 57. I wonder if you could post a roll of toilet paper to someone in need? Maybe you could feed the paper through it, bit by bit, to the poor soul inside who’s run out? It would also have been remiss of us to do a feature on bathrooms and not focus on grey water installations and how you should use this water in your toilet rather than clean drinking water. Even if the dams are full. I hope the story motivates you to consider a conversion like this when your ship comes in one day. I will certainly be doing so.