Foldscoping on a beach in Senegal – Sahel mosquito research network

I am fortunate to be in Senegal, in a beautiful coastal town of Mbour. More importantly I am amongst friends who have come together from Mali, Burkina Faso, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal and two costs of US. What brings us all together is passion for mosquitoes – trying to understand and mitigate the impact they cause in spreading diseases around the world. I got to spend a few days with some of the best medical entomologists in west Africa, share new tools and think broadly about challenges associated with Dengue risk in west Africa. I will write a longer post on the network, and share what we learned from each other – throughout the next few days.. but let’s begin with a late night foldscope workshop on the beach..

Strange – very large animal found dead on the beach. The teeth makes me think it’s a dolphin that got stranded – can anyone identify.. it was too big to fit in a foldscope – so I looked for smaller samples.

Next, I sampled some of the water from the beach – in a 1mm strainer – and found a few small pieces barely visible. While doing microscopy in the dark – I also learned a lesson in geography of this place.. did you know the flag Senegal and Mali are “almost” exactly the same. While focused deep in the sample; we shared a beautiful story of the flag.. sometimes focusing on the small scale reminds us how common we all are.. and have more reasons to unite than one.

Coming back to unity – all across the Sahel region – people have shared challenges and hardships together – and come out strong in a very tough climate with little rainfall. As we venture in a new era of changing climate – let’s remember the lesson that we all stand a chance if we stand together.

As the next few days – I will share foldscope posts from everything in my food to the boa trees and the strangest insects – including some very special mosquitoes.

Welcome to Senegal!


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