I don’t even know if there is a point in me trying to convey to you what a safari is like. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I will try, but prepare for my description to fall pathetically short of what the experience is actually like in real life.
Do you know the last place that I saw lions, hippos, elephants, zebras, baboons, warthogs, flamingos, antelope, crocodiles, and water buffalo all in the same place? I’ll tell you. When Simba sang about his excitement about becoming king of all that the light touches. I mean he couldn’t WAIT to be king, and now I understand.
Like most people, I have seen these animals in National Geographic magazines, Disney cartoons, and zoos…but let me tell you- until you ride on top of a van through African plains and see them just….existing… running, playing, fighting, pooping, all in their natural habitat, a picture will never do it justice. But of course I will put pictures up. Because I happen to love you enough to wait 30 minutes per picture to upload.
Side note: I bought a safari shirt at Target before we left, and it may have been the best decision I made for this trip. It enhanced my experience MINIMUM like 6 or 7 times more than it would have been if I had just worn a regular, stupid shirt.
So we left Friday morning at 6am for Lake Mburo and Queen Elizabeth National Park. It took us pretty much all day to get there, but we were definitely not disappointed. We’d been driving through mountains and hills and up and down and around all of the things, and finally we pull around a corner to THIS. Queen Elizabeth National Park. Full of any and every wild animal your sweet little heart can handle.
We slept in a lodge IN the park, which was amazing, and then woke up the next morning at 6 to get a good jump on the day to find some daggum animals. African sunrises, right?
Also, I pretty much sat on top of our van for the entire day. Like a dog sticking its face in the wind on a car ride. I don’t care. Here are some pics of what we ran in to (lions were too far for an iphone to pick up, there’s no point in posting a picture).
THEN we got on a boat and road all along a channel with MORE animals. Trivia: which African safari animal kills more people than any other animal in Africa per year?
You are all wrong. The answer is E. Hippos. They kill like over 500 poeple in Africa per year. Super cute, they are huge and yawn like so big you guys. So big. But they will kill you. You can save that little nugget for parties.
I was pretty much in heaven for the entire weekend. After a while everything looked like an animal. Logs. Trees. Ant hills. People. It was by far one of the coolest experiences I have had in my short little life on earth. I hope I can do it again. You have to do it.
Aaaand then this week so far has been great. Monday we were back in the general clinic working with a really great doctor named Allan. He has been so great to teach us treatments, symptoms, making us think and rule out diagnoses, and stretching us to not be dependent on technology but to use the training we have worked so hard for. Here, they are not only the doctor, but they are the radiologist, counselor, and technician. They are awesome.
Lauren sewed up a guy’s lip who was in a motorcycle accident. She didn’t even flinch. She wins the prize for first African operation. Shelby dabbed for her. (photo with permission)
About 80% of Ugandans will go to a “traditional healer” either before or after they try a medical solution their problem. They go to them for everything from joint pain and infections to psychological problems and thinking someone has placed a spell on them and need to get rid of it. Now---we know that when someone is struggling with infertility, there are usually identifiable reasons for it in lab tests, scans, and medical histories. Or if you have auditory hallucinations and paranoia, those are signs of schizophrenia. But here, people may think a jealous neighbor or family member went to a witch doctor to put a curse on them…so they go to the traditional healer to fix it. Or they'll go for pretty much any ailment you could think of.
KIHEFO has decided not to write off these traditional healers as crazy herbalists who sacrifice bulls to shrines and communicate with spirits (which they do), but since so many Ugandans go to them, they have tried to partner with them with work with these communities, so when the problem is out of the traditional healer's hands, they will pass them along to the doctors in Kabale.
We took a boat across Lake Bunyonyi yesterday to visit one.
This was him. Kind of like Rafiki, but in real life.
Two of his 4 wives showing us how they cut people where they are hurting and use a horn to suck out the problem..........
Question and answers. I have many more thoughts about the experience, but that isn't really for this blog...we can grab coffee if you are dying to here more about it. He was definitely one of the most unique individuals I have ever had the chance to meet. Huge cultural experience.
Village kids stomping' it for us outside his house.
We weren't able to do deliveries today, which was kind of disappointing, but we went to the hospital where we will be working for the next two weeks to take a tour and meet the staff and contacts there. They have an amazing maternal ward, operating theatre for obstetric surgeries, and 10 incubators for pre-mature babies. It will hopefully be a really fruitful time. We are all definitely eager to learn more maternal medicine, and it sounds like the remainder of our time here will be full of it, starting tomorrow in the antenatal screening outreach.
Thank you for those who have been following and praying for us as we continue our adventure. We have all been incredibly healthy, safe, and full of life. Thank you guys so much.
Love from Africa,