I just want to point out the drastic disparity in the way most mosquito born viruses are perceived. Dengue fever, zika and chikungunya are all mosquito born viruses and are all rather common place here. That fact is not nearly as scary as the media hype and CDC make it out to be. Contracting these viruses is no worse than a cold or flu. Dengue fever is the worst of the three and will result in a week of feverish sweats, Mom knows first hand and it didn't slow her down too much. Chikungunya is a few days of soarness and maybe some cold symptoms, Dad didn't even call in sick when he had it. Zika is relatively mild, everyone in Dads office still came to work when infected, they just looked like they partied too hard the night before because it does give you very bloodshot eyes. We think Noah may have had it because his eyes were a bit blood shot and he complained of a headache for a day.
Zika does have concerns of its own for pregnant women, but to the general public it's really not a big deal. I think the DOH reports about 600 cases here, but I would guess the number is over 10 times that because nobody bothers going to the hospital for it. We have had 29 pregnant women test positive for Zika and to date all the babies have been born healthy.
I realize that, just like the flu, certain people will be more susceptible to illnesses and these three viruses may be more unpleasant than described for them. I just want to counter all the fear going on for something so mild in most cases, but I am sure there is lots of money to be made by the medical/pharmaceutical institutions because of it. DON'T be afraid.
NOAH NEWS: Noah is an uncontainable embodiment of energy and curiosity. This fact is awesome, but very tiring.
TIPS FOR FUTURE A.S. RESIDENTS: AHHHHH!!!! Zika is coming!! Run! Run!
Just to refresh your memory, American Samoa consists of five islands and two atolls. Dad has visited all five islands, and previously discussed Tau, Ofu and Olosega which are about a half an hour flight south-east. Aunu'u is a little island just off the cost of Tutuila and can be seen in the distance in many of our photos.
Dad recently took his second trip to the little island for work. The trip starts with an hour drive east to the small harbor, here you can hop on an aluminum catamaran for a fifteen minute boat ride to the island, $2 each way. The ride is short, but can get rough for those who get motion sickness due to the wave action created by strong currents passing through the narrow straight between the two islands. Recently a small ship got marooned on the reef...
Aunu'u has about 80 families living there although there used to be more and this is evident by the frequency of abandoned houses.
A unique part of Aunu'u is the geology, it is relatively young geologically speaking and has some pretty cool looking features. The eastern portion of Aunu'u is essentially one big volcanic crater with a wetland and lake in the middle, and western portion is flat, near sea level and the location of the islands only Village.
Inside the main crater is a lake that I was attempting to evaluate, but will have to revisit with some bigger boots to get there. According to the locals, nobody has ever been able to determine the depth of the lake. This is actually not uncommon for such a feature in the middle of an old volcanic crater, but I won't be going for a swim in a bottomless lake!
So I realize I'm a bit late on this, but work has been very busy. We had a great Mother's Day weekend and celebrated both Saturday night and Sunday. Saturday night we headed to a Filipino restaurant having a Mother's Day dinner event. They had a little band in which a friend of ours was drumming and Noah loved dancing with Mommy. We ate and enjoyed the night, which was the latest any of has been out in almost 3 years!
The next day we headed out west with our neighbors and a few other families for a Mother's Day at the beach. We went to a little beach near the Village of Paloa, just on the northern side of the western tip of the island and about an hours drive from our house. The sand here was finer than most of our regular beaches and was a very nice change.
Although we had obtained permission some village members, others got a little upset that we came to the beach on a Sunday but eventually things were smoothed over and we were allowed to stay. We had a ton of BBQ chicken, breadfruit, taro, coco Samoa (coco and rice) and salad. The weather and waves were perfect!
Dad took a quick little snorkel out around the area, it was very shallow due to the tide and not much coral. The corals I did see had quiet a bit of bleaching, this is the whitening you can see in the picture below and is a result of rising ocean temperatures which essentially kill the coral species. Visibility here was limited due to a huge amount of fresh water which flowed out from the beach in little cold streams.
We had a beautiful sunset to cap off the day and headed home.
The Jaskowiak Family
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