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    A new idea for a tough problem

    DAY 96

    Unexpected Friends

    Yesterday, we took the first step in tackling the bat problem at Ariwa health center in Bidi Bidi – sealing up the roof to help keep them out. But, we also needed a solution to keep the bats away more permanently – and one that convinced these critters that our clinic is not their best option for a home.

    Did you know that in a single night, one bat can eat 20,000 mosquitos? Malaria is such a huge challenge for the patients coming to the clinic. We realized that instead of getting rid of our bat residents completely, they could be our partners in fighting the disease.

    One solution is to build a bat box – a home for bats outside of the clinic – where they can rest during the day but still leave to eat their meal of mosquitos at night. So for Day 94, we’re testing it out.

    Working with a local carpenter – our friend Lomoro – we built the bat box and raised it on a pole about 80 meters away from the clinic.

    “This will be like a test,” said Paul, ARC team member in Ariwa. “We’ll have the advantage of them still being around so they can take away these insects that bother patients at the hospital.”

    Will the bats prefer the box? Will they stay there, or return to the clinic? Only time will tell. But in a context where it’s all too easy not to try anything, we’re trying something. “Experimenting is good,” explained Paul. “We’re the first to try something like this. We’ll see how it goes.”

    Instead of shying away from this complex problem, we’re facing it – one doable test at a time.

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    Changemakers 365

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