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ChuckLudlam (
Posted on Saturday, December 24, 2005 - 9:20 am:   

Cool Bandanas for Hot Weather Climates Ė Peace Corps Packing List

One item weíre finding very useful for the hot weather in Senegal is our Way 2 Kool bandanas. They look like simple bandanas, with a tie, but that also contain a polymer that absorbs hundreds of times its own weight in water. When soaked in water for a few minutes, the bandanas swell up to look like a sausage. You drape this around your neck and as the water slowly sweats out of the polymer, the evaporation gives you a very cool neck. Itís an attractive bandana and a refrigerator all in one. Cooling the neck, right by the crucial arteries that connect the heart to the brain, gives you a real feeling of comfort. Iíve heard that our troops in Iraq are using these simple cooling devices. Theyíre tiny as a packing item, provide some panache, and give you some cooling when itís needed. They make great gifts to other Volunteers or to local villagers.

The polymer appears to be the same one found in Stock-O-Sorb, which is used widely in America to conserve water field crops and golf courses. It absorbs the water, sweats slowly, and is equivalent to a drip irrigation system. It works in surprisingly small amounts and can last up to seven years (if thereís not excessive exposure to the sun). Iím using Stock-O-Sorb in my vegetable garden and hope itíll help to conserve water. Iíll report on how weíll itís working when I can assess the results.

To be clear, itís very important to make sure no one or no animal ingests this polymer. I can imagine it swelling up in your intestines and causing real problems. So, keep it inside the bandana and if you use it in a field, make sure itís well buried.

My wife, Paula, and I are serving as Volunteers in Senegal. We both served as Volunteers 37 years ago (Nepal and Kenya) and are serving again, this time together.

Chuck Ludlam,

Cire Dieng, Pharmacie Rasul-Lilah
Cher Sow, Voluntaire, Corps de la Paix Americain
B.P. 31, Guinguineo, Senegal, West Africa

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