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


And Cobras Lurking in the Bathroom

Six lions came by my house early this week.  I was awakened from sleep about 5:00 am by Davis in the house next door loudly whispering "Doctor, Doctor. There are lions there".  I had heard their low growling calls earlier in the back of my sleepy brain, but I didn't realize how close they were.  Unfortunately, by the time I woke up enough to realize what he was saying I was only in time to catch a glimpse of one of the lionesses as she walked by my front door.  Davis said he saw a big male and five females.  We found the paw prints all around the house in the morning.  From my house, the lions wandered down past the people camping in tents!  Hearing lions through a thin piece of nylon must have been fairly hair-raising, but no harm done.

Driving home in the afternoon here means traffic jams of a different sort.  Today a herd of elephants including a very cute tiny baby elephant was blocking the road.  I had to wait until they decided to move.  A little further on, a troop of baboons was playing in the middle of the road and didn't seem interested in moving either.  All much more interesting than sitting in traffic on I-5 though.

I'm still having trouble with the cheeky monkey.  The kitchen guys say, "He is your friend."  Today at lunch he jumped on the next table, and when I got up to shoo him away he came right at me and grabbed my bread before I could do anything.  He must be a bit of a “foodie” since I was having the special olive bread that would give Orcas' Roses’ bakery a run for its money.  I may need an armed guard just to eat!

The "cobra in the bathroom" stories get more and more exciting.  I talked to the lodge owner where the woman was spit in the eye by the cobra.  Turns out she had just showered and was changing into her bikini when she felt some "water" on her shoulder.  She turned around to see the cobra hanging upside down from the shower head about a foot away, and that's when he spat again.  They said she came out screaming hysterically, as if that was a bit uncalled for.  I said anyone who had just been spit at by a cobra in the shower probably deserved to scream as much as she wanted.  In the end she was fine, but I'm sure she'll have a shower phobia for life!

The locals who live with all these animals reside in the little settlement of Mfuwe which is not exactly a town, but more a sprawling collection of huts and shops.  Some of the businesses one can visit in town include “Connie's Restaurant and Beer's Nest,”  “Bushlink.com” specializing in stationaly(sic), email and copying, “Munthu Sambalu Get Busy Enterprises” (I'm not sure what they’re busy with exactly), “Mfuwe Drug Store,” which has no drugs and my personal favorite, “God Knows Investment” - who wouldn't want to put their money with them?  Along the road are "markets" made of wood and thatch selling t-shirts, vegetables and some kind of disgusting looking fluid of unknown source and use.

Most people live in mud-walled thatch-roofed huts.  The thatch-roofs are amazingly thick and water resistant and require much time and skill to build with layer upon layer of thick thatch and grass. I must say I don't like to spend much time looking up at my thatched roof for fear of learning a little too much about it's inhabitants.  Ignorance is bliss!

I'm continuing to find the clinic interesting and frustrating.  I've seen lots of "malaria", some of which probably really is malaria, and unfortunately lots of people, including babies, with manifestations of HIV.  Antiretroviral drugs,” ARVs”, aren't available yet for children  here, but if the baby has it, then the Mom and Dad are both probably positive as well.  So I send the Mom and the baby both for testing.  At least if the Mom can begin treatment, maybe her other kids won't become orphans.  A very sad state of affairs, but it's the reality of HIV in Africa for the moment.

The orange red sun is sliding down past the banks of the Luangwa and the bats are starting to chirp and awaken for their evening feast, so I must go get ready for dinner.  I hope you're enjoying my stories.

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This page was last updated 01/07/06