Remember the plan that Roger was going to drive into Tana with a fellow that knew the way and then drive me back? Well, a mere 18 hours before they were to leave, and while I was already on my way from Mauritius, the poor chap, (Grant, a young 24 year old from South Africa) fell off the drill and had to be medevac’d to Tana with the camp doctor and Roger. The good news is Grant is fine….the bad news is there is no way for me to get to camp, so we’re on to what I believe must be Plan D…or is it E….??? I’ve lost track and no doubt you have as well!
The medevac experience was one for the books. Roger said the ambulance ride was pretty wild, and after seeing other ambulances careen through the streets – I can only imagine. It’s funny seeing other cars follow behind ambulances and ride the tide of having some cars pull over. Emphasis on “some” cars and Roger said their ambulance actually had to pull over for the presidential motorcade! Then at the hospital, the doctor recommended that the patient should go to a “better” hospital. Talk about instilling confidence, eh? Despite this suggestion, Grant seemed to be treated well, had X-rays taken, and the camp doctor conferred with the other doctors, and agreed nothing was broken and that Grant would be observed overnight.
Here are some pictures of the hospital but in this case, they don’t seem to really capture everything we saw. Look closely - that is laundry hanging from the patients’ windows!
Roger and I returned early in the morning to give Grant some food as feeding patients is not standard procedure (Roger had to pay $5 for the tea and cake they gave him for breakfast before we arrived). Grant was still in Emergency and there I had yet another culture shock. I took a couple of pictures when no one was looking, but I wasn’t able to take the real “interesting” shots. Grant was then discharged, so we took him to a hotel, and checked on him a couple of times to ensure he was alright. He flies home to S. Africa today (which he was going to do anyway) so hopefully in a few days he will be feeling better, and enjoy his time off.
So…what now? I must admit I was all set to hop on a plane to go home, but since Roger must leave the country on August 27th (his visa runs out then) we decided I would stay in Tana; he flew back to camp today, but will return on August 25th. Then, we will go over to the mainland and do a safari and some exploring. We figured I had come this far and it would be crazy to go home without seeing more of this part of the world.
The hotel is excellent (http://www.hotel-du-louvre.com/ ) with wireless internet in my room so I can surf the internet and email to my heart’s content. There is also a very nice restaurant on site, a supermarket 25 yards away, and helpful staff. I also have 2 drivers that can take me anywhere I want to go, and I may try and book a tour or two while I’m here.
Exploring the city with Roger was so much fun, but don’t worry, I will be cautious about venturing too far on my own. After the quietness of Flic en Flac, Tana has a culture and vibrancy like no other place I’ve been to so it will be an interesting place to hang out for 10 days. Here are some pictures that I took yesterday as we were being driven around the city, and from our hotel.
As I write this a band is playing outside my hotel window, vendors are on the street selling everything from cell phone cards to food, beggars and street children are everywhere, and there is a lineup of old Citroen taxis by the Place d’Independence. I still haven't seen any cow lips for sale - but will definitely take a picture if I do!
In the 4 weeks since I’ve left home, few things have gone according to plan and it’s taught me to be open to whatever comes along. I’ve run a gamut of emotions from exhilaration to loneliness, anxiety to joy, and everything in-between. But hey…no lives have been lost and I’ve seen things I never expected to along the way. So, I’ll keep you posted on what’s next…which at the rate things are going, can change from day to day!
Your emails have been fantastic and always a highlight of my day – thanks for keeping in touch!