We kept the cots in the yard, and in the evening, before it got dark and the mosquitoes came out, we carried out our pillows and sheets, and anchored down our mosquito nets with rocks or in my case – large tin cans of tomato sauce, and got our battery-run fans going.
We did this every night for the six hot months of dry season. So my children grew up looking at the stars at night, listening to the goats kick the tin walls of their hutch in an effort to settle down, donkeys braying, dogs howling, and the village murmuring as it put itself to bed.
I would go to bed with the younger ones, because it is pretty scary to be out in the yard by yourself. My youngest was afraid of the night sounds, so I would sing until she forgot about the hooting owls and people footsteps walking by.
It wasn’t a bad thing, sleeping outside, if you didn’t have to worry about the scorpions crawling in the sand! Once a bat got caught in one of our nets. Another time, we found a chicken in Lilly’s Pack-n-Play.
I didn’t like the wind…even though it sometimes brought relief from the heat. It always complicated the anchoring of mosquito nets, which are like sails on a windy night. And if the wind started, there was always a possibility of a dust storm. I would wait, hoping that it was just wind…not a dust storm.
It’s hard to tell at night. During the day, we could see the wall of dust coming. But if gusts of wind grew stronger, then it was a hurried bundling of your bedding, grabbing what you could, and a mad dash for the house.
Once inside, it was suffocatingly hot, and making a bed on the floor was the easiest thing to do, without a mosquito net. The possibility of scorpion stings and malaria from mosquito bites didn’t matter anymore. There is only so much you can cope with at 2 AM.
One particular night, there were five of us outside. This time, it was fear of a dust storm and rain because the rainy season had started. Someone sounded the alarm. We all made a dash for the house, sheets, fans, flashlights, trailing behind us.
Safely inside we realized it was a false alarm. “WHO YELLED STORM???!!!” We were all extremely annoyed.
After all those years of feeling like a rolled donut on a windy, sandy night, I am so thankful when I get in a bed with clean sheets that are already on the bed, and there is no mosquito net to anchor down, and no creatures possibly sharing my space. I thank my Father for His loving care. I thank Him for the luxuries I enjoy.
Paul says it so much better than I.
“Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret….I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:11-13