The first part of my summer finished. That is, my first two camps in Poble Nou del Delta — a 150 inhabitant village at the very southern end of Catalonia — are over.
I only need four words to describe Summer Wars Episode I: kids, heat, isolation and mosquitoes. It’s obvious why I’ve chosen kids; I’ve had two groups of 50 kids around me for a month. The heat is something you can’t avoid in summer in the south of Europe — or the north of Africa; it depends on your point of view. And in Poble Nou it’s especially hot because it’s placed in the delta of the river Ebro, which is full of rice fields — that is, extensions of water — so it’s a very humid place. Sometimes it feels like being at an indoor pool. Isolation because we were in a small village in the middle of nowhere. We don’t watch television, we don’t read the newspapers, we don’t talk to anyone outside the camp — well, I don’t; some of the monitors talk to their families and friends everyday, but I can’t be bothered. And last but surely not least: mosquitoes.
Hot humid weather in a village surrounded by large rice fields: the perfect place for mosquitoes. No matter how much mosquito lotion you put on, they’d bite you when you went out. The kids were always complaining and so were the monitors. Some nights we changed the night activity from outdoors to indoors because it was suicidal to go out. And there was a tiny garden with a tree inside the hostel you couldn’t go in. Every time someone opened the garden door, scores of mosquitoes filled the reception and the monitor’s room.
I did learn something from that experience. Don’t waste your money on expensive mosquito lotions if you go somewhere infested by them, it’s no use. Moreover, 50 kids covered with lotion should create a save mosquito-free bubble around me if it actually worked.