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Boy Scouts Beyond The Seas - page 12 / 129





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Boy Scouts Beyond The Seas

They found that the mosquito was a great pest there, and that in his sharp little sting he carried the fever-poison and so gave it to everybody he bit. They observed also that the mosquito lays her eggs in water and cannot Eve far from standing water.

So they had drains cut in every direction to carry off all pools and puddles, and the larger ponds they covered with a floating slime of oil through which the mosquitoes could not swim-and in a short time they cleared off most of the mosquitoes. They also taught the men to look after themselves as the Boy Scouts do, not to overeat themselves with bad or unwholesome food, how to cook their meals properly, to change damp clothing before it gave them a chill, and so on.

Men are daily on duty sprinkling oil on drains and stagnent puddles, even punching holes in old meat tins so that they should not hold water. This work is now being done by the Boy Scouts.

In this way disease has altogether been driven out, and Panama is to-day quite a healthy country to those who look after themselves.

The Americans were therefore able to take on 35,000 workmen, who now live there with their wives and families.

The way they are making the canal is to dam up the big central river in the valley through which it flows to the Atlantic. This will make it into a great lake 80 ft. deep and twenty-three miles long. Then they will dig a cutting through the mountains for nine miles towards the Pacific, which will form an outlet to the lake.

The lake will thus be 80 ft. above the sea-level; a set of three locks will therefore be employed to raise ships from the sea up to this height, and the locks will be so big as to take the very largest ships that are likely to be made; that is to say, they will be 1000 ft. long, 110 ft. wide, and 70 ft. deep, having 42 ft. of water in them at their lowest. At present no ships are over 700 ft. long, or 90 ft. wide, or 30 ft. draft.

Through the mountains for nine miles a mighty trough has been cut. It is 500 ft. deep in some places, and 300 ft. wide at the bottom for the whole of its length.

Already since they have been at work on it, beginning in 1904, the Americans have completed three-quarters of their task, and in two years more they reckon that ocean-going ships and men- of-war will be passing through from sea to sea.

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