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  • Writer's pictureDan English

Capstone Project Day 7

A pig wonders if we're going to eat it or use it for scientific experiments.

Setting up the traps and securing the pig was harder than expected. We picked up the pig from the pigpen over the water and loaded it into the truck. I purchased a dog leash at a pet store with the thought it’d work for a pig too. It did… kind of.

The pig screamed bloody murder every time someone touched it. One woman had to pick the pig up by the ears so Juan José and I could secure the harness. Once we got the harness on the pig, we lead it on the precarious walk, over the rotted wooden planks to the truck. Juan José lifted the pig into the truck while it screamed. If I’ve not said it enough already, he’s the bomb.

The family seemed a little surprised we were bringing a pig into their yard even though we told them to expect a pig the day before. If someone came to my house with a tent and a pig, I’d tell them to get out.

We were able to erect the tent and put the cage inside to keep the pig secure. This is one part of the HDT experiment. We’re using a pig to see if the HDT is able to catch more total mosquitoes and more Anopheles than HLC and an HDT with a human bait. Maddie has some experience living on a farm. She said if we leave some food and water for the pig it would be quite docile inside the tent. We left some pig feed and a big bowl of water.

The HDT with a human was much easier to set up. Today we put it in front of the vacant house and let Juan José sleep in it overnight. He deserves the rest from the amount of effort he expended with the pig. I took the first shift with the HLC.

Tonight, I was accompanied by Yamile and her friends. They are a bunch of girls who live nearby who are very curious about our project. I explained to them the best I could in limited Spanish what we were doing with each trap. Yamile helped me spot mosquitoes landing on my legs and introduced me to her puppy, Skipper.

It can be heartbreaking to watch these inquisitive and talented girls. I envy them because of their close ties with their families. However, there is not a lot of opportunity in Chamanga for them. If they were born in Quito, they might have a chance to finish high school and even attend a university. Juan José tells me they’ll probably marry in their teens and have children. Juan José gives me some hope for them too; he says the simple matter of us being there is showing them there’s a whole life outside of Chamanga. These girls also got to meet Allison and they saw a woman can be a professional and have a future. I think Allison is an exceptional role model for them. She’s kind of a badass.a

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