In cooperation with a Peace Corps Africa initiative, all of Madagascar’s volunteers have been asked to make a special effort to combat malaria in our local communities. While my efforts to procure mosquito nets for my town have so far been unsuccessful (there is a big shortage in the entire country), I did recently teach my community how to make homemade mosquito repelling cream. It’s been a big hit because it is cheap and relatively effective.
Here’s how it’s done:
First, grate a large bar of soap into smaller pieces (500 Ariary). This allows the soap to melt faster. Next, boil citronella or neem leaves (veromanitra orvoandelaka) in one liter of water. Pour the tea over the soap and stir until the soap has melted. Next, add one-quarter liter of cooking oil. Stir and then wait for the mixture to set.
Since boiling water over charcoal can take awhile, this is a great opportunity to teach about the symptoms of malaria and the treatment options.