Back at the Farm

Trip Start Jun 15, 2013
Trip End Jul 17, 2013

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Where I stayed
N/a'an Ku SÍ
What I did
Pos 3
N/a'an Ku Sê

Flag of Namibia  , Omaheke,
Friday, June 28, 2013

Today i woke up early and booked a couple of things for Victoria Falls while I still had Internet access. I arrive on July 14 at 8 am. If all goes well I will have transportation by the hotel i am staying at from the airport. Then I will go on a small sunset safari via elephant back and do an elephant encounter following. The 15th I will go to Chobe in Botswana for a day safari consisting of a water portion and a land portion.

Then I loaded my stuff up into the car, said goodbye and Scruffy and Yoman, and all five of us were off to Windhoek and the farm. We waved to all of the children at Pos 3, and I'm pretty sure I left a part of my heart with them.

Today was the big meeting with a few forces that had potential to help the San in Pos 3. The meeting is at 2:30, and we left early enough to have time to make a couple of stops and have a nice lunch.

I apparently have been fortunate to catch Dorian's incredibly sleeping ability and slept the whole ride. Despite this, I was able to enjoy a bit of Dr. Tamzin and Dr. Tim's British humor, and I enjoyed the ride very much. Dr. Tim asked if we wanted to stop at the taxidermy place between Windhoek and N/a'an Ku Se, and I definitely wanted to as I heard tons about their gift shop. Dr. Tim showed us the taxidermy side. Literally in front of where we parked the car were two elephant heads. We had conveniently parked in front of the are that is designated for rotting the skulls... Needless to say, the stench was a bit much.

We were invited to enter into the room where the skin was being put on the molds. From there a German man (maybe the owner?) gave us the grand tour... He showed us the place where they tan the hide, bundle the antlers, and package the "stuffed animals". It was quite hard to handle seeing two rhinos on the walls. When I asked how much it would cost to hunt an elephant, the man informed me of various numbers (including $45k USD just for a permit) that added up to be a conservative $80k USD. I then pointed out the rhinos and asked if it was legal to hunt them. He said not anymore, but there is one rhino that has started attacking humans and people were able to buy tags for (I couldn't understand much with his thick accent so I don't know all of the details). I told him that I would attack people too if everyone wanted to kill me simply to take and sell my horn.

We then went to the gift shop. When asked, Dorian said he would like a bracelet from my travels, so that's what I was in particular search for. I happened to find one that appears to be the proper size (I would have bought it directly from the San village, but due to the size of their people, the bracelets they make are so incredibly small). Some of the bracelets proceeds still go to the San... Major difference in price though. I could have paid $40 Namibian dollars at the village, $150 at the farm, but ended up paying $185 at the gift shop ($18.50 USD).

We headed into town and ate at a fantastic little restaurant. I had a lemon and ginger sparkling water and the best chicken wrap I've ever had (satay chicken wrap). Dr. Tim dropped Zoe, Sabine, and I to Independence Ave, the main road in Windhoek with all of the shopping centers, so we could spend the money from the t-shirt sales and purchase something for the San. We had about $340 Namibian to spend, and found blankets that were incredibly thick, large and affordable. We were able to purchase 8 of them.

We then shopped the strip for a bit, and I was able to return to the venders that i mentioned in one of my very first entries. I got a large Big 5 wooden statue and a wooden Africa cut out that has the Big 5 carved on it. The men gave me a large engraved seed with a leather loop attached to it. I cannot remember what the seed is called, but later Tim informed me that the only way the seed comes out of the shell is if an elephant passes it, so if you see the plants growing you know an elephant was once there. The seed has animals, Namibia, and my name carved into it. It's quite fantastic. If I return, I think I will buy these personalized keychains for everyone back home.

Dr. Tamzin and Dr. Tim found us on the strip and we went to have a bit of coffee and cake. Dr. Tim paid for it on the condition that we don't tell his wife that he had cake (Dr. Tim, if you read this, don't show your wife!). I enjoyed a coffee milkshake and a piece of chocolate cake. I really will miss everyone's company... I've certainly enjoyed such witty and understanding people at the clinic. It's becoming a bit more clear why everyone refers to the farm as boot camp after they've been to the other N/a'an Ku Se sites.

Then it was time to head back to the farm from town.

Two small critters ran in front of our car. After examination, we concluded that we spotted a pair of bat eared foxes. I am quite happy to say that is another animal I've wanted to see.

Upon arrival at the farm, I was told that i was moved from porcupine room to caracal room. I went into the caracal room to find the duvets lacking covers, beds lacking sheets, and pillows lacking cases in all three beds. I wandered to porcupine room where I was told there was a free bed. I repacked my bags in preparation for Neuras, grabbed a drink, and went to socialize around the fire with the rest of my clinic and farm family. When I returned to porcupine after spending time at the fire, I learned that the bed I could sleep in was taken by Charlotte who had returned late from a safari. She was kind enough to give me her duvet (she uses her sleeping bag) and now I'm curled up in bed with it all alone in the caracal room.

I should probably update everyone on what I've learned about Holly, the beautiful San girl that we took to the Windhoek hospital the day I departed for the clinic. Aside from it being the right thing to do, she's been on my mind a lot today. Dr. Tim spoke to the doctor. It appears that she has some form of degenerative disease involving the spine and a part of the brain (cerebellum maybe? I can't remember exactly). If this is the case it will get worse and, from my understanding, nothing can help her. And now, aside from being squeamish, I am even more aware of why I could never be a medical professional of any kind. There's a difference between knowing that everyone I come in contact with is destined to die and knowing that someone I come in contact with is going to die within the next couple of years, before she's even lived as long as me, and there's nothing anyone can do to cure her.

And with that, I'm exhausted. Tomorrow is a 7:30 departure for Neuras. Goodnight.
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