June is the start of a busy season at the Beit CURE Hospital. In addition to the usual medical students, residents, and nursing students, Tim and I were delighted to host some family friends, Catherine and Connor. They came for three weeks, staying with us at our apartment.
During some of their visit, they were helping us at the hospital – taking inventory, sorting out some IT issues, and painting. They also were able to watch a variety of surgeries, and spent plenty of time playing with the children.
We went on a couple of “touristy” excursions while they were here – first, to a local elephant orphanage just outside of Lusaka. The elephant mums were killed by poachers, and the young elephants were found by rangers, many in poor physical condition. We arrived in time to see them run into the stockade area, being fed bottles by their handlers. They are followed by at least two rangers at all times, assuring their safety and health. They played with water barrels, tires, sticks – pestering each other over favourite “toys.”
The next weekend, we went down south for 3 days/2 nights. When we arrived in Livingstone, we went to Victoria Falls. After walking the many footpaths along the Falls, and up to the Zambezi River to see the top of the Falls, we left the park, and went to the historic bridge, crossing the river. Along the way, we watched two baboons attack a woman to drag her shoulder bag off of her shoulder. She ran away, screaming, and a nearby man came to her rescue, throwing rocks at the baboons. None of us was quick enough with our cameras – we just watched, open-mouthed! On the next day, we went on a day safari to Chobe Park, where we saw numbers of animals, including a black-maned lion – a highlight of the trip! On our last day, we went to a Zambian Game Reserve, where we saw the “wide” rhinos – endangered rhinos that are named for their wide lips.
They continued working on projects at the hospital, including lots of painting, and on Catherine & Connor’s last weekend with us, we went to a game park about an hour outside of Lusaka – driving on very dusty, bumpy, twisty dirt roads. We saw a variety of animals, including some we hadn’t seen at Chobe – including the eland – the largest antelope, and ostriches!
We had a lovely time with Connor and Catherine, and are thankful for all the help they were, and for the work they did at the hospital!