Daktari!

Jan 27, 2013 by

ivdripDaktari means “Doctor” which I had ample time to learn in today’s adventure. You can learn a lot of Swahili words as you lay in a hospital bed with an IV drip for an 8 hour day. It all started innocently enough. Yesterday’s itinerary included a trip to a designated “Cultural Village”. This is part of the Tanzanian government’s attempt to make sure a certain amount tourist dollars get spent more closely to the Tanzanian people who need it. So this tour of the village would allow locals — especially women who have few work opportunities — to act as guides introducing us to village life and farming techniques. The highlight of the visit was to be a large traditional Tanzanian lunch — again providing employment for the women who cooked it.

caption: We learned about the banana plantation the village runs as a cooperative.


We learned about the banana plantation the village runs as a cooperative.

And the traditional way they build their houses.

And the traditional way they build their houses.

And how a plant whose sap the villagers traditionally use as soap is now being investigated by the Japanese as possible non-petroleum alternative to engine oil.

And how a plant whose sap the villagers traditionally use as soap is now being investigated by the Japanese as a possible non-petroleum alternative to engine oil.

And that if Obama ran for President of Tanzania, he would probably get 100% of the vote.

And that if Obama ran for President of Tanzania, he would probably get 100% of the vote.

Then the cultural and tribal significance of each dish was explained to us.


Then the cultural and tribal significance of each dish was explained to us.

It was the most delicious food we’ve had yet, including okra, a pozole type stew, a very mild cabbage dish, a kind of spinach that looked like micro-greens and flat bread.

It was delicious, that is, until about six o’clock that evening when the projectile vomiting and the continuous diarrhea started. And continued through the night. By morning, I was throwing up even water. But I was game to go on the day’s activity which was the Ngorongoro Crater where we were promised sightings of a lot of big game. I prepared myself with handy wipes and checked with our guide that, if I was caught short, I could run outside the Land Rover between designated rest room stops. That’s when I found out that at least five other members of the tour were sick. One was too sick to get on the bus in the first place. Another sufferer, Frank Class of 64, and I were on one bus. Before we’d even gotten through the introduction at the Ngorono Visitors Center he was vomiting uncontrollably. I was laying down on the back seat unable to move. Cathy, a former Navy nurse who served in China Beach, Viet Nam, ordered us medivaced to the nearest clinic.

Luckily it was the FAME clinic run by Daktari Frank -- from, of all places, Modesto.

Luckily it was the FAME clinic run by Daktari Frank — from, of all places, Modesto.

So my wildlife viewing today was a close encounter with the not-so-rare IV bottle of saline solution.

So my wildlife viewing today was a close encounter with the not-so-rare IV bottle of saline solution.

I’m back on my feet now and ready to see more of what Africa has to show me. But, as interesting as the Cultural Village visit was, I’d caution any future Africa sojourners: “Don’t eat the food, don’t drink the water.”

Interesting note:

Daktari Frank and his FAME clinic are actually doing some pretty incredible work in Africa, training doctors and getting medical help to underserved areas. In brief, The Foundation for African Medicine & Education is a non-profit created to improve the quality of medical care in East Africa. FAME endeavors to help bridge the gap between a critically under-resourced healthcare system and first-world medicine. FAME is currently focused on improving the quality and accessibility of medical care in Tanzania and making a difference in the day-to-day lives of the Tanzanian people. Take a look and donate if you like what you see.

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10 Comments

  1. Pamela, half a dozen of us got sick to varying degrees. Daktari Frank said it could be as simple as different utensils and plates being washed at different times. Some were contaminated with one kind of bug, others with a more serious bacteria, some not at all. It was the luck of the draw and which place at table where you sat.

  2. KathyB

    Not the kind of memory you wanted to be making.Glad you are recovering.Doubly glad your mom didn’t fall ill too.

    Perhaps the demonstrations of food prep and such should suffice and the locals can just feed each other in the future.We are all used to our own indigenous bugs and such. Jumping multiple time zones can introduce a whole new set.

  3. Pamela

    Geez! That just happened to me on my trip to Egypt. No one else got sick, so I got zero sympathy. I discovered a new exercise for tghtening up the hiney — clenching clenching clenching!

  4. pam johnson

    …and, don’t open your mouth in the shower. The lure of wonderful looking food in develping countries, which the locals are wolfing down with no ill effects, can be irresistable, particularly when you think it’s in a “safe” setting. And, the ill effects can be so random: you had the leaf of spinach with the e-coli and your mom (hopefully) didn’t. Sounds like your bug, nasty as it was, passed through pretty quickly. Those “Daktaris” are amazing and definitely in need of our support. Thank you for raising our awaeness of them, and glad to know you were in good medical hands.
    BTW, loved the placemat!

  5. Cheryl

    Either your mom didn’t eat the food nor drink the water or she has a cast iron constitution! glad that you are all better and ready to continue!

  6. susan

    Oh oh my! How terrible. Hope you have access to yogurt to replace flora to take down bad bugs.. and Gatorade like product for electrolytes. After your system is blighted so, the BRAT diet is in order (Bananas, Rice, Apples, and Toast).. I don’t expect you may have the luxury to be so selective though. Stay Well and ‘hi’ to Mom for me ;) Sending hugs for recovery.

  7. Dal taro is my iPad spell correcting Daktari. Blasted technology.

  8. Dal taro?! I loved that show. I even had a Daktari coloring book. I still sometimes sing he theme song.

  9. Wow! Glad you’re coming through all right!

  10. Christine

    So glad you’ve recovered – we were worried :(

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