Why screens matter

For most people in the US and much of the developed world we take many seemingly small things for granted.

In this case its windows with screens in them. My in laws have been living in a house for over ten years without screens in the windows like so many Moroccan’s do.   As a PCV we are issued a mosquito net – but trying to find one in Morocco is like trying to find water in the middle of the Sahara without GPS – Good luck on that one.

This can lead to a lot of potential health issues – especially here in Morocco. Mosquitos for example are carriers of Eastern equine encephalitis, Japanese encephalitis, La Crosse encephalitis, St. Louis encephalitis, West Nile virus, Western equine encephalitis, Dengue Fever, Malaria ,Rift Valley Fever and Yellow Fever.

Flies in Morocco lead to the transmission of these different illnesses and untreated can cause death such as Chikungunya, Cutaneous Leishmaniasis, African Trypanosomiasis just to mention a few.

Personally I just really hate mosquitos and flies and I pray they don’t survive the end of the world or a nuclear war – which ever comes first – them and cockroaches are on my hit list.

My father in law was also bugging me about why I never sleep over once I got married to my husband – one reason was I like sleeping in my own bed and the other was I don’t want to be eaten alive by mosquitos if I don’t have to be – which would happen at their house with no screens in windows that are left open all the time to let the heat out and the cool in.

However the ultimate reason is my brother in law who is my husband’s youngest brother who is differently abled and around 14 years old. He isn’t mobile, completely non verbal and mentally at the level of an infant. Because he is unable to care for himself – installing screens in the house is one way to improve his quality of life.

It improves his quality of life by making sure he isn’t dealing with flies and mosquitos – which he can’t swat away himself.

Usually someone in the family sits with him with a fly swatter – killing flies to keep them away from my husband’s brother. The installation of screens means that no one has to kill so many flies and the whole family doesn’t have to worry about him getting sick from a fly or a mosquito bite.

So I finally decided – I will install screens in the house – PCV style so that the house is fly and mosquito free. My father in law made a token protest – saying A: I had no idea what I was doing and B. I didn’t need to do that – he could. However I had purchased screen material that he never installed – last summer.

So I put my foot down and in one day installed all the screens in my in laws house.

So the supplies needed are super easy to get in Morocco – screen fabric, thumb tacks (in Darija the name for them is penis – yes I know laugh now – but seriously thats the name of thumb tacks in Morocco) and a pair of scissors.

Thumb tacks - who would have thought you could install screens with them?
Thumb tacks – who would have thought you could install screens with them?

I simply tacked one corner of the screen fabric in the wood frame of the window and stretched it across and secured with another thumb tack – and down to see the length and width of the fabric – cut the excess off and then proceeded to secure the now correctly sized fabric to the window frame with tacks.  I made sure to start at one corner and move across the top of the frame to ensure the tension of the fabric was enough that it didn’t sag which would interfere with the closing of the window.

How to secure the screen fabric into the wooden frame of the window
How to secure the screen fabric into the wooden frame of the window

It sometimes was tough because the wood of the frame was actually in good condition – then I used a hammer to secure the thumb tacks although most of the wooden window frames in my inlaw’s house have dry rot which means it was really easy to push the thumb tacks in by hand.

One of the finished windows
One of the finished windows

As you can see the finished product allows the window to be closed – and does what its suppose to do – keep out flies and mosquitos (evil little blood suckers).

The fabric came in two different colors thats why in this final photo you see the white and the blue colors in the window.

Everyone is much happier – especially my brother in law I think.  I am happy that I can enjoy the summer without being eaten alive.

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2 thoughts on “Why screens matter

  1. Nice job. It kind of looks like the square’s almost looks big enough for the little buggers can get in? I’m glad you put your foot down. Most men think we can’t do anything but there wrong. If they are too big I’d paint that would make the holes smaller. Just a suggestion. Enjoy fly free nights .

  2. Nice work! And what a good daughter-in-law!

    I don’t take screens for granted. I’ve lived in plenty of places (both in the Sates and over seas) where there were no screens or the screens were sadly lacking. (Where I live now, we have beautiful windows and very nice screens- but the screens don’t fit correctly and the mosquitoes get in anyway!)

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