Yesterday (Saturday) our group was introduced to the South African wildlife, up close and personal. We started our morning driving to Lake Eland Game Preserve, a wildlife area about an hour east of Port Shepstone, nestled in the Oribi Gorge. We happened across a group of baboons hanging out in the road even before making it to the entrance! Without hiring a guide, our group paid the 40 rand entrance fee ($4.00 US) per person to start our adventure. Dr. Corless was our fearless driver, tackling treacherous roads in search of our favorite animals. The preserve hosts a myriad of diverse wildlife species; however, some were impossible to see during the day (like the cat species). Below is the full list of animals found throughout the area to give you an idea of the indigenous animals.
We happened upon bushbucks, blue wildebeest, elands, reedbucks, zebras, and two funny warthogs trotting off in the distance as we spent all morning searching for the prized giraffes. We traveled the entire preserve only to wind up never spotting them- the animal we were positive that we would notice being the tallest and most brightly colored of them all. The South African flora and fauna were quite impressive and we all feel very lucky and awed by its beauty. Having spent almost the full day in the preserve, we headed back towards home with the sun setting behind us in the distance.
Today (Sunday) we were invited to partake in a lunch prepared by the head of South Coast Hospice. Our hosts graciously prepared an Indian buffet to share while further discussing their role and impact in the Port Shepstone area. It was wonderful food and very nice to be able to debrief with the team about our observations and experiences with the healthcare outreach teams from last week. In South Africa, patients with tuberculosis are given a monetary grant to cover the cost of living while undergoing outpatient treatment since they are unable to work. If the patients are treated on an inpatient status, the hospital receives the grant to cover the treatment.
Since the beginning of April, the hospice team has partnered with the South African Department of Health and Murchison Hospital to deliver MDR-TB injection therapy to patients in the surrounding community. Despite the governmental partnership, the private hospice has received no monetary support, consequently stretching their resources, despite the important difference they are making in the community. They have been diligently tracking their data in hopes that the impact they are making in the community will convince the government to begin aid. After dinner our hosts graciously took us through their inpatient seven-bed unit and we said our goodbyes.