Two hours straight in front of the computer screen could be a pain: strained eyes, stiffed hands, aching back and heated bottom. Even if you enjoyed the productive endeavor, you still needed the rest and possibly a short distraction.
I went outside to let my eyes survey the greenery. It’s believed to help the eyes relax, removing the stress brought about by the screen’s glare. With a light stretching exercise, I believed I could make a second round of encoding half an hour later.
An empty sack was on the ground, a reminder that I postponed something earlier which I probably had forgotten when I visited the neighbors. It was the most appropriate time to finish the task.
Since I needed the walk, I brought the sack with me. I knew where I was headed so I thought why not accomplish two activities in one go.
I reached a wide clearing, where tied carabaos and cows grazed. Their handlers would fetch them before sundown, bringing them back to the safety of their respective sheds.
I could see the objects of my desire from where I stood. There were in all shapes and sizes, littering the field. My sack would be easily filled.
The first I picked up had a flattened shape much like the size of a small pizza. It was crisp, baked to a dry by the week long sunny weather. Most likely, all of them had similar properties.
I was careful, not only the animals moved around without direction, I could step on fresh manure which would defeat the purpose of a pleasant walk.
The road was empty except for a child who was probably sent on an errand. We would be crossing paths near the hilly portion. I could see him giving my sack a hard look. I was sure he knew what was inside.
Once he was mere three feet away, he pinched his nose to a close, the fresh air he breathed a while ago was substituted by a natural odor that could only be described as bad. But as a farmer I was used to the aroma, fully aware that the objects would indirectly be beneficial to my health.
At home, I readied an empty steel bucket, placing dried leaves and grasses inside it to become some sort of a combustible bed for the objects. According to local beliefs, when burned, the mix would produce grayish smoke that would drive away mosquitoes.
Frankly, I did not believe the idea when I was new in the area. But experience proved its effectiveness every time: mosquitoes were nowhere in sight.