Thursday March 13th
Hi Everyone-Deb again!
First, for those of you that know me you are likely wondering how I could possibly receive a fashion title!! I’m the one that wears black and then matches with more black and might add a bracelet or necklace to jazz things up. This is my third trip to Africa and honestly there is something about being here that brings out my true colors! I love it.
Sig mentioned in his blog about the tuktuk ride that Ellen and I took to the hospital for the emergency appendectomy. Once the physicians and anesthetists left in the car, Ellen and I looked at each other and said, let’s go so we can pre and post-op and perhaps circulate or scrub. It’s a good 20 minute walk to the hospital from Project Mercy, and it was already getting dark. We saw a tuktuk coming down the road so we put our thumbs up. It was stuffed with people, but, once the driver heard hospital, he asked the current passengers to get out and let us in. They did that willingly. The tuktuks don’t look like they can go very fast, but honestly we were literally air born for most of the trip after launching off rocks and potholes. What a hair raising trip!
On Monday, our last day at the hospital, we had a full surgical load working from 8:00am to 7:00pm. In between the morning cases I kept wandering into labor and delivery and was blessed with the opportunity to assist in 2 births. I worked in labor and delivery for many years when I first started nursing. The wonderful memories came rushing back. Such a great way to start that day!
Being the last day at the hospital there were many hugs, pictures and a beautiful coffee ceremony held for us. I can’t say enough wonderful things about the Ethiopia team. After our first day we had earned their trust and respect and the feelings were most definitely mutual. Laughter, tears, and caring crosses all languages and cultures.
One last story about post op! Lori and I were working really hard to learn enough Amharic to assist the patients in recovery. We were determined! The local staff were very helpful to us. There was one patient in particular that we just couldn’t understand what she was asking us. She kept saying ‘finish?’ We racked our brains and looked at notes trying to figure this out. I know some of you are probably already laughing! One of the English speaking nurses came and we asked her to assist. She spoke to the patient in Amharic and then turned to us and said, she was speaking English. She wants to know if the surgery is finished. Lori, I, and the nurse laughed out loud as did the patient. “Yes, my dear, your surgery is finished!”
As you know we are now in Tanzania at the Selous Serena Camp on Safari. The most fascinating part of getting here was the 45 minute flight from Dar es Salaam,Tanzania on a 12 seat charter propeller plane. There was just enough room for all of us, a small bag of carry on for each of us and the two pilots. We landed on a dirt air strip in the middle of what seemed like nowhere and were met by the Serena staff in jeeps to take us on the 45 minute drive to the camp. Seriously it was an amazing journey!
The all day game drive today was great. Very different from the Serengeti Safari because it is very lush here and the animals have many opportunities to hide in the bushes. The animals here do not migrate. Our guides were so experienced and took us right to the herds. It was a true adventure. I’ll let others write about the many beautiful animals that we saw very up close and personal. So many of the animals are majestic and stunning with their beautiful colors and gracefulness. I just want to give a shout out to the warthogs. They are really fun to see and watch. I can’t help but laugh out loud when a whole lot of them get up and start running. Their tails go straight up in the air. They are so darn ugly that they are cute. We will likely safari by boat tomorrow depending on weather.
As you know some of our experiences this trip have a bathroom and/or rodent theme. Lori went into the Lodge restaurant bathroom (small room) and noted there was a hyrax sharing the space with her. A hyrax is almost cute, but has many rat like features. It weighs about 4 – 5 pounds. She attempted to open the door to let him out, but he kept moving away from the door instead of towards it. Finally, she reluctantly gave up and shared the space. She said they made eye contact the entire time they were together. Probably both watching to make sure that neither was going to attack the other.
I love being with this team. Some teams are just meant to be! All of our different personalities and skills immediately blended. Thank you to all of my colleagues on this trip. I admire and respect you and am honored to be working with you!
To Mark and Amy – we all wish you well on your journey home! To Sig and Jean Ann who are likely near arrival in Minneapolis – we miss you and wish you well upon your return home. We’ll see you soon.
Thanks for everyone that has been following our blog, we all gather around in the evening pending electricity and internet connection and listen to Jeff read the comments to us. Again, I want to say how much it means to us that you are following our journey!
This is Rosie writing–
Our adventure yesterday on Safari was quite interesting. We started out with a beautiful day with sunshine and lots of beautiful foliage on our trip in the jeeps. Our guides were excellent in finding the many wild animals that we had hoped to see. Mid-morning we stopped for coffee and then continued on our journey. Around noon we stopped again for lunch and before we were finished eating the raindrops began to fall. The roads were already wet from rain the previous day so the torrential rains that fell made a muddy, slippery mess! The roads were primarily dirt and had big boulders in some places so we ended up with a very rough ride, slipping and sliding. The rain was so heavy that it was difficult to see where the road went. The ruts in the road were so bad that many times it felt like the jeep would tip onto its side. This elicited some very strange sounds from some us on the trip, including me. The thought of tipping over in swirling muddy water was a little scary, but we made it safe and sound.
Hi everyone. It’s Lori writing now.
We traveled in open air jeeps for safari, four of us in each jeep. There is no such thing as a bad seat. And our guide, Alfred says there are no bad roads, there are “adventure roads”.
We have seen so many beautiful animals, including the graceful masaii giraffes, hippos, waterbuck, elands, cape buffalo, zebras, impalas, warthogs and so many more.
But the highlight of the day, was the pride of lions we saw. They were relaxing under a tree, a family of two adult males, two females and three babies. We were able to be within about 30 feet of them, close enough to see that one of the lionesses has a bad eye. The size of the teeth and claws were evident, which made us consider the fact, yes, we are in an open air jeep. There was nothing but air between us and some large, hungry predators. We knew they were hungry, because while we watched, one of the lionesses stalked an impala, but was unsuccessful.
Hours later, after heavy rain turned us back, we passed the lions again. This time, the smaller male was devouring a dead baby warthog. We watched as the large male came over to challenge him for the meal. It was amazing to watch the tension between two huge cats, as they lay side by side, each with his mouth full of meat. We could hear cracking bones, slurping and chewing. From time to time, the lions would glare at us, warning not to come closer. Eventually, the big male came out the victor, carrying the prize right in front of us.
We all have our specialty roles, even on safari. Iyad and Ellen are our photo journalists, now that Mark went back to the States. I keep a written record of the types of animals we see, and how many of each, (5 elephants, 51 giraffes, 2 rabbits, one hyrax in bathroom, etc.). Sally seems to have developed a special interest in animal poop. She can adeptly identify water buck, elephant, baboon, and civet cat. Huh, who knew?