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  • Joanna

The Clinic

Updated: Mar 21, 2022

I got the pleasure of visiting a remote Namibian medical clinic today. When we first arrived, it appeared to be locked up and deserted. One door was slighty ajar and it had a big sign stuck on it that read, “Staff Only.”

Where do people who have been run over by quads go?


David walked right in through the staff door while I circled the building looking for reception... or the emergency room.


A lady in her mid 20’s appeared and she agreed to see me.


As luck should have it, she was merely there on a day off, putting some finishing touches on paperwork and cleaning before leaving.


I can confirm that she was not a doctor due to the fact that she told me that if my pain continued, I would have to see one for x-rays. Perhaps a nurse?  I could only assume (and hope) that she was somehow linked to the medical professional.


I was poked and prodded and each time she touched me where it was tender, I shrieked in pain or crippled in agony. It was like my entire left hand side of my body had been ripped to shreds. She determined that I ‘probably’ hadn’t broken or punctured anything - but more than likely had done some interior muscle damage. 

My examination fee was 60 Namibian dollars - which is equal to about $5 Canadian. I wrote down my full name and country on a scrap piece of paper, and in exchange, I got 2 tubes of muscle heat rub and a bag of bright pink pills, which I gather are ibuprofens.


The clinic was a big empty house with rooms dedicated to patient care, offices and group classes. My treatment room looked like it could have been the living room as it appeared larger than the others. A few patient beds, some stainless steel trolleys and racks full of medical pharmaceutical supplies & equipment.


I would not go as far as to say it was particularity clean or sterile, but who am I to judge a medical clinic in the middle of nowhere?

On the walls were various posters showcasing the muscles and bones of different parts of the body, also random public notices encouraging safe sex, regular updates... etc etc.  All of them were stuck to the walls with brown packing tape.


Everyone else was on an all day game drive in Etosha.

Everyone except me...

I woke up at 2AM in excruciating pain. I attempted a bunch of exercises to gradually stretch out the pain, but nothing would eliminate my suffering. I forced myself up and off the mattress around 4AM. I was in tears from the discomfort and could hardly catch my breath. Pain shot through my entire chest and continued through and around in to my back. It was the closest I have ever been to experiencing a heart attack. Breathing really is taken for granted.


I decided to sit this game drive out.

As much as I wanted to go, I wanted drugs, a clinic and rest more.


I couldn’t keep my eyes open. I guess that’s what happens when you’re up at 2AM, aching, bruised, distressed and sobbing.

Two guides had been hired to drive everyone around in the special open jeeps for the day.  Etosha National park is located in northwestern Namibia and home to a large number of wildlife - mammals, birds, reptiles... including several threatened and endangered species.


Everyone was set to be up , dressed, ready to go with tents away by 6AM for breakfast. game reserve guides were picking us up at 6:30. 


Us... meaning... not me.


As we slowly made our way to the clinic, David did his best to give me as much as a game drive experience as he could.


I spent the majority of my time in the truck, passed out. He would poke my shoulder whenever he spotted something of interest...


“Elephant.”


I would raise my head, in an attempt to express as much enthusiasm as I felt necessary... and then drift off once again.


The rhino, the springbok herd, the mating zebras, the giraffe....


I was in too much pain to remain attentive.


The one thing that did jar me awake was a herd of lions.

Male and two females resting under a couple trees and the male was feasting on a ripped up piece of Wildebeest. I know this is because we could see the horns.


The others returned with wild stories of animals they’d seen throughout the day, the most exiting being a leopard. 


But the top story was... of course.... Claudia.


At one point during their game drive, the guides gathered everyone together for a group photo. Claudia refused to be in the photo... but instead of stepping aside and letting the guides photograph the crew.... she took it upon herself to step in front of everyone and started photographing the guides.


So odd.


Eduardo and Michelle have the best picture of it happening, as it was their camera being used when she did this. The expressions on everyone’s face is priceless.

She made them promise not to ‘publish’ the photo anywhere... but challenge accepted. I need that photo.

She was upset about not having seen elephants so she spent the entire evening sitting at the watering hole waiting for them to appear. In fact, so determined that she missed after-dinner debrief... .much to Malinga’s frustration


For the record, she did not see any elephants.


Takako was also upset about the lack of elephants.


Apparently it is Malinga’s job to know where the elephants are and what time they will be coming to the watering hole.


Guess he’s quite crap at his job.


Probably needs more training... 

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