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The Adventure Continues!

A monkey tried to steal my breakfast yesterday.  Just when I'm thinking the little black-faced vervet monkeys are so cute, one very cheeky monkey decided he liked the looks of my toast.  He came sneaking in to the open-air dining room, and I saw his very little hand reaching up the chair across from me.  When I tried to scare him away, he just looked at me with his unnervingly intelligent beady black eyes.  The kitchen guys came out, and he ran off toastless.  Turns out monkeys are quite sexist and are unafraid of female humans.  I'm giving them a bit of a wide berth now, though they're still cute jumping from tree to tree.

Two nights ago I peeked around the corner of my house on the way from the truck to the front door and saw two eyes attached to a very large body staring back-- a Hippo -- and only about five feet from my door!  I'm embarrassed to admit I may have given a very small little shriek.  I think I scared the hippo as much as he scared me!

Some true admirers of the truck

The "doctor's vehicle" continues to be my main source of real adventure.  It's hard to describe just how rickety a chitty it is since in most places it wouldn't be allowed on the road.  The steering is a great guessing game trying to decide how far I need to turn the wheel before anything happens then finding out exactly which way it goes.  This can be a problem since the road is filled with all sorts of obstacles -- people walking, people on bikes, baboons, the occasional elephant, and African sized potholes. Very exciting!  I made the mistake of turning on the fan in the heat of the day, and I was engulfed in a huge cloud of dust.  One of the headlights was bouncing around and pointing up which made it great for spotting leopards in the trees at night but not so great for seeing the road.  Patrick and the guys fixed it with all sorts of wire winding around the light to the body of the truck. All in all, as long as it gets me around I suppose it's okay.

On the medical front, my tourist and camp staff calls have ranged from simple earaches after flying to diarrhea to a phone call about a client at a camp who was spat in the eye by a cobra- not something I saw every day on Orcas!  The two kinds of cobras here (Mozambican and Black necked) have a hole in the front of their fangs so they can "spit" venom about 6 feet into the victimís eyes before they go in for the bite. I think the client will have quite a story to tell when she gets home!

The clinic continues to be a source of endless fascination and frustration.  The last patient I saw today was a 20-month-old little girl who only weighs 15 pounds and looks as wasted and starving as that sounds.  I suspect she's HIV positive though she has not yet been sent to the referral hospital for testing.  I saw a 7-year-old little boy earlier this week who probably has kidney and now heart failure.  I sent him to the referral hospital, but they don't have much to offer him either.  Seeing kids like these makes me feel very sad and quite helpless at times.

On the happy side, I admitted a nine-year-old girl with malaria and dehydration who I really thought would die on Tuesday.  Today she was sitting outside her room and smiling when I came in.  Amazing what oral rehydration salts and anti-malaria medicine can do!  Yesterday, I saw a little girl who probably has a non-displaced broken wrist.  Unfortunately, we have no plaster of Paris and of course no fiberglass here.  The family couldn't afford to go to the referral hospital in Kamoto, so I made her a splint out of a two-liter plastic drink bottle and lots of cotton wool padding.  In the end I was pretty happy I could figure something out.  I think those small successes will keep me going here.

So I'm settling in here.  I hope I don't become nonchalant about living with baboons and elephants and giraffes and lose the wonder of it all, but I don't think I will.  I'm off into the African sun for another day of adventure.

Home | Up | Elephant Trouble | Monkey Trouble | Lions in the Night | Mad Dogs | Swooning Italian | Potholes of Life | Luxuriance | Dr. Boteler I Presume | Lions and Lions | Elephant Call | Roxy and Robert | Chongololos | Eagle and Python

This page was last updated 07/21/07