Posts tagged Yerba Mate

Mommy, Why Did God Create Mosquitos?

Yerba mate growing in the wild.

Image via Wikipedia

“Mommy, why did God create mosquitos?”

 Now there’s a question to give you pause. While we’re asking tough questions, I’d like to know why God created snakes or giant hogweed. (Aren’t snakes the ones that caused all the trouble in the first place?) My answer to the mosquito conundrum, after some initial head-scratching, was “honey, I don’t honestly know. Probably to be food for bats.” That’s a safe one. The food chain explains all sorts of natural evils.

Apparently things weren’t always like this, because if you believe the creation account, there didn’t seem to be any animosity between the snake and Eve. Let’s just say if that slimy creature had talked to me, I’d have clobbered it on the head first and asked questions later. That’s what I was taught as a child growing up in Paraguay, South America, a place where everything is either venomous, prickly, or both. When God banished Adam and Eve from the Garden at the dawn of time saying, “cursed is the ground because of you…both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you,”[1] He was talking about Paraguay.

In the past few days our family has been catching up with my sister who once again lives in that hot, arid place we used to call home. After three years of living there, she is now sharing her adult experiences which are far different from what I remember as a child. My childhood memories are almost magical, although I do have a few bad ones: whenever it rained, the mosquitos were sure to follow, and believe me when I say that my son’s experience of mosquitos absolutely pales in comparison to the epic proportions of the swarms that would descend upon anything with blood running through its veins. (Oddly enough, this experience has had the unexpected benefit of making those of us who lived there essentially immune to the effects of mosquito bites!). Then there was the relentless heat and drought, not to mention the wicked sand storms that pounded everything and everyone first from the north and then from the south by turns, blanketing kitchen counters, tables, and beds with the dust of the earth despite tightly shuttered windows.

 Otherwise I don’t remember it being too bad. I remember care-free days romping around our yard, climbing trees, killing a baby snake (talk about a sense of accomplishment!) celebrating New Years Eve outdoors by moonlight, Santa Claus in shorts throwing candy off the back of a tractor, and sitting in a Mandarin tree eating its ripe fruits.

 In sharp contrast to my childish rose-coloured glasses, my sister now sees things through the lens of a mother. She is now the one dealing with the masses of spiders under the porch rafters, cockroaches in the kitchen, scorpions in the children’s rooms, and small frogs and bugs in the clean laundry. She’s the one who now has to care for children who fall victim to West Nile virus, or any of the myriad other diseases and parasites that thrive there. For the first two years they lived there it hardly rained; it was so dry that even the weeds died.

On the other hand, she tells of seeing the Milky Way in all its glorious splendour in that cloudless southern sky, a spectacle made possible by the sparsely lit streets of the small towns and villages. Where she lives, people and animals share in a simpler existence that includes sleep in total darkness and early mornings spent sipping Yerba Mate tea while watching a day-old foal being nuzzled by its momma. The cacophony of birds, frogs and insects that join together in the dawn chorus is almost deafening.

And so it is that in the midst of the Curse there is Grace for those who open their eyes to see it.

“For the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of

[1] Genesis3:17 – 18


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