Under The Net

Rayla Freeman - Senegal


March 26, 2015

I have cried in your arms

and taken respite from many a’ hard day there

Spent nights in your embrace

Willling myself to be strong

I have cried again

I have fallen apart

I have felt alone

and when I finally couldn’t cry anymore

I built myself back

with you around me like a shield

For the strength to be alone

and you were always there

protecting me

at least from mosquitos

So I should explain. I have never lived inside a mosquito net before this year, and so its been a very new experience. The process of setting it up every night has been methodical and therapeutic on some days, and on others when I come home tired wanting nothing more to fall asleep, setting it up has been a task that I have cursed at and hated with my entire being. But on the whole, as a child who grew up in expertly precarious box and blanket forts, my mosquito net always has felt like my own little shelter away from the world. There is a phrase we use among the fellows, “under the net,” referring to the moment when your not going to get back up, no matter how dire a situation (needing to pee, someone in your family asking for something, your phone going off across the room). When you are under the net you are done. But there is another more tender reality that comes with it. Under the net is when we have all felt our weakest.

Its where I could take down all the walls I would make when learning how to exist in a new situation. Its where I have cried because I missed home and the comfort of what I know. Under the net I have been raw and vulnerable, I have written endless Journal entries, read countless books, and under the net I also, eventually, found peace. Its where I started to change apprehension for the next day into excitement, and its where I have rested in ease.

So for all that, I love my mosquito net….

also for protecting me from mosquitos.

**(Mini PSA: Mosquito nets are really important! From the time I had malaria, to the many times I have scratched bug bites until they were a bleeding mass, I know they are valuable.

Mosquito nets save lives for people who don’t have access to medicine or proper medical treatment. Providing families with mosquito nets and education on what they can do is essential to make Malaria No More a reality. Check out more facts and see how you can support the end of malaria here-https://www.malarianomore.org)**

Rayla Freeman