Laura Gordon

Laura Gordon (Survivor Corps in Burundi): Laura worked as an English teacher in Côte d’Ivoire in 2002 and Thailand in 2003. In 2006 she graduated from the University of Oxford with a 1st Class degree in Modern History. After graduating, Laura worked in Uganda as a research intern for the Uganda Human Rights Commission. At the time of her fellowship she was pursuing her master’s degree in International Affairs at The Graduate Institute, Geneva. After her fellowship, Laura wrote: “I'm more comfortable in my skin now, and after a couple of years of wondering where I belong, I'm now sure that it's overseas in the development world. I love Burundi and I'm desperate to go back.”

Moby Dick

29 Jun

For the last week my life has been made a misery by a single mosquito. I have named it Moby Dick and made killing it my sole goal. Despite a mosquito killing spree in my room, it survived, and hides when there is any sign of light only to emerge as soon as I turn the light off, buzzing around my head and keeping me awake at all hours. It has also given me a bite a full two inches in diameter on my leg; I’m sure it must have sat there all night. They tell me that mosquitos only survive two days, but I’m convinced this one is a mutant with a longer lifespan.

So far my efforts to kill it have consisted of the traditional – hunting around the room with a flipflop in one hand and a bottle of Doom in the other – which failed; he’s a clever little bastard and hid. Then I tried leaving my leg out of the cover as a bait and poising ready to smash down the moment it landed – but it hid until I gave up and tried to sleep, then buzzed around my head, making sleep impossible. Then I tried hiding in the dark with a bottle of Doom in my hand, spraying wildly at the first time of a buzz. But it must be the Rasputin of mosquitoes because it seemed completely untroubled. Lastly, I chased a gekko into my room with a broom. Since there is one there already, I’m hoping they’ll be one male and one female and breed an army of little gekkos to keep my room mosquito-free. But this is something of a long-term solution.

I honestly believe that wiping mosquitoes from the face of the earth would make no difference whatsoever to the wider ecosystem. If anyone has any suggestions for a sleep-deprived mosquito-hater, please post below!

Posted By Laura Gordon

Posted Jun 29th, 2009


  • John Norton

    June 29, 2009


    Laura, Nice and interesting blog, so to start with, keep it up. Actually the human profiles were more intersting than the mosquito profiles, but as the worst thing life is a mosquito inside one’s net… and I have tested the anti mosquito patches we bought in Uganda last year to conclude that they DO NOT WORK. You should go and do an internship in DW Angola, specializes in post war society reconstruction and its where I met your parents, what better reason!

  • Francois Gordon

    June 29, 2009



    This is a wonderful and thought-provoking blog. It is hard to think of anything to say in response to the vivid pen-pictures of some of the protagonists in Burundi’s tragedy. Certainly, I can’t think of anything except please keep it up.

    On mosquitos. the answer is DDT: I’ll bet that for ready cash you can lay your hands on a little, and if you spray the walls and SuperMozzy then lands on one, he dies !

    As for the story of Rwandans stealing Burundian grillers, I would pay to watch someone trying to steal, say, just one middle-sized male griller, let alone a silverback ! And don’t even think about going near one of the females or a juvenile !

  • Elaine Gordon

    June 30, 2009


    I’m still a fan of the patches but accept that they might not work for everyone. Perhaps you should try eating garlic. They don’t like the smell apparently – but then not many people do so that might be a bit antisocial. I suppose it comes down to which is the most important: killing the mosquito or having your friends keep their distance!


    July 5, 2009



    Happy days in Buj.

    The Electric Chinese tennis raquet is the answer. You can find them in the market for 12,000 or better still take a Burundian friend and get one for 5,000.
    Wave it around the head as soon as buzzing is heard. A satisfying blue flash and smell of singed insect invariably results. No need to turn the light on. Go back to sleep until the next time.

    I have one from Burundi here in Erbil. We eat outside in the evenings (sandstorms permitting) while the mozzies are out but before the flies have turned in for the night. Excellent timing I know.

    Have you seen the urban hippos yet? They can come quite near the shore anywhere between the Club du Lac and the Circle Nautique. They are quite shy though.

    What news Gustave?


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