Many times we have seen on the television (Well actually we don't own a TV, but you got the point), the images of Beijing completely covered in a thick layer of pollution and we were so sorry for them thinking of how could they live in that inhuman conditions.
Then it came the time for us to go in Indonesia to attend our 1 year Scholarship program, and for the first time we felt the need of wearing anti-pollution masks while cycling and walking in the city, to protect ourselves from the pollution caused by the thousands of motorcycles running on the Indonesian roads (but luckily the situation was not as bad as in Beijing).
We couldn't find a local product that could satisfy our needs and we started searching for information on Internet. That's how we got to know for the first time about Totobobo masks: it looked like the perfect solution for our travels: extremely light, small, reusable with replaceable filters and mostly important effective as the lab test published online were demonstrating.
Since we couldn't find any distributor for the Indonesian market (it is still possible to buy it online) we bookmarked the website for future reference.
Then 1 year passed fast, and it came time to leave Indonesia.
We left overland, so that our next natural destination was Singapore.
And somehow it came back to my mind the memory of this fantastic mask that could have solved our pollution problems, and that was having its headquarters exactly in Singapore.
But how was it called? Titatiba? Tacadà? Titicaca?
Oh, here it is, Totobobo!
Soon I decided to write to the company, and the Singaporean efficiency didn't let me wait long for a positive answer.
The following day we were already at the Totobobo Headquarters to meet Mr Francis Chu in person, the inventor of Totobobo mask, that after performing some tests donated us some samples to use during our trips!
Little did we know that they would have turned out to be so useful in such a short time. In fact upon entering Malaysia the following week we realized that the peninsula was totally covered in haze.
We felt like projected in Beijing reality, but this time for real, the only difference being that we were not in China and that the cause of the pollution was the haze coming from the Indonesian forests on fire in Sumatra, a phenomenon caused by men and sadly repeating every year.
We were so happy to have our new masks and to protect our lungs, and we soon started wearing them, making passer-by curious and staring at us.
At the same time it was a difficult mental step getting used to the idea of wearing permanently a face mask.
We are ruining so much our environment that in the future every single human might need one, or even a portable air conditioning system creating a special micro-climate, who knows.
But given the situation, it's better to wear a pollution mask while waiting for humans to solve their contradictions, rather than breathing harmful particles.
The need to use the masks in Malaysia was so urgent that we weren't' ready with our homework. In fact we still didn't have modified at that time the shape of the masks to perfectly fit our faces (that means it wasn't working at 100% of its potential), but despite this in about 1 week of usage we reached already the time to replace the filters! Quite a good result for our lungs.
Now after some practice we have managed to find a shape that is fitting exactly our faces (no gaps anywhere between the mask and our skin) and we can't wait to test the new setting to see if they can trap even more pollutants! Actually we hope we won't need our Totobobo masks constantly, to be able to enjoy fresh and clean air, but in case of need we are ready to fight!