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February 2009

Endulen Diary
Vol. 24, #2
February, 2009

Road Rage in Endulen,

Thinking of road rage, a California freeway shooting comes to mind, or maybe a New York cab driver screaming at someone who cut him off. One does not think of that kind of thing happening in the East African bush where two or three cars passing during the course of a single day is gridlock.

A couple of weeks ago a truck left the trading center of Endulen traveling on the bush track to Esere some eight miles to the West. A couple of miles from Endulen near the small stream call Oldagum, the lorry, carrying a number of Maasai in the truck bed, came upon a herd of cattle milling about on the road. The driver became angry when the cattle didn’t move off the road in response to his horn and shouts. He drove off the road at some speed through the undergrowth and dense bush passing around the herd of cattle. The truck did not turn over. It did experience brutally violent rocking and vicious wrenching as it bounced through gullies and over rocks brushing the thick branches of trees. Regaining the road, the driver stopped. In the back, three people were found dead and four others critically injured. The driver tells us that his brakes failed.

Hope for a place in Medical school,

This month Naisharua OlDumu and I traveled to Machame Clinical Officer School on Mount Kilimanjaro. Early last year Naisharua completed her A Levels (junior college). Since her earliest years she has dreamed of becoming a doctor and working among her people in Maasai country. I think that the clinical officer here in Tanzania is equivalent to a Physicians Assistant or a Nurse Practitioner in the West. After a few years working as a clinical officer, Naisharua would be able to go on to medical school. We had applied to Machame by letter a number of times without success. Her Form IV and Form VI results were not the problem; Naisharua more than fulfilled the academic requirements. The difficulty has been the huge number of applicants, many of whom have done as well or better than Naisharua in their studies. This is a growing problem. There just are not enough schools to accommodate the growing number of secondary (high school) and Form VI (junior college) graduates. We had a good meeting with the headmaster and he was well satisfied with Naisharua and her academic record. Now we must wait till the end of May to hear if she will be accepted.

Pig encounter,

In recent days returning from the hospital having dropped off a sick person for treatment, a very large wild pig ran out of the bush passing just in front of the car. I slammed on the brakes and just missed him. If we had collided, I am not sure which of us would have gotten the worst of it.

Till next month,
Ned

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