There is chosen down time, to relax and rejuvenate, and then there is the unplanned variety, that can be either a good thing or not so much. I just got hit will all sorts of not so much, with back-to-back illnesses that took me out for the better part of two weeks. The first was an intestinal bug from HELL. I’ll spare the details and just say that it required a doctor visit the house, as I was too sick to go to the clinic, complete with an IV of three full bags of saline to rehydrate me from chronic dehydration, as well as antibiotics and other meds. One other person got it as bad, and a third person got a milder case. On the tail end of that party, I got a raging sinus and chest infection, and am just recovering from that. The people here took good care of us, and I’m glad that we got such good care, but I was missing home a bit the last couple weeks, as it’s tough to be that sick while traveling. So after tonsillitis, tick bite fever, and now an intestinal hell bug, I’m done with illness for this trip. In addition to just being miserable, it’s a waste of time and money, and I’m of no use to the team here when I’m that sick, which bothers me as I want to contribute as much as I can. But I just couldn’t push any more than I did — it was brutal.
All this illness means that I don’t have my usual updates on the lions and other adventures here, sadly. I didn’t see them for a week, and they were noticeably bigger when I saw them again, as they are growing so quickly. They all greeted me, which was sweet, with the most affection from Lila, as usual. She’s just a star in every way and has completely captured my heart. Lala is doing well, getting more confident all of the time, and still very attached to the boy, Lekker. And he is as cute as ever, with just the tiny tiniest little bit of hair starting to come up on the back of his head and neck, but it won’t be for a couple more months before a true mane starts to come in. And Liuwa, the little peanut, she’s just the cutest as can be — very adventurous and playful, and always just covered in mud and whatever else she can manage to get herself into.
Sunday, June 5th is World Environment Day, and to celebrate we did a big litter pick-up this morning for a couple hours, collecting about a dozen bags of trash both along the river and in town. There is a ton of litter all over the populated areas of Zimbabwe, as seems to be sadly all to common with the developing world, and while it seemed like we barely made a dent in the areas we covered, we saw many other groups of people out cleaning up today, and I imagine we’ll see some more tomorrow, which as a collective effort does make a difference. As with all things environment these days, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and feel like it’s just hopeless — that we’re in a mass extinction that very few are really talking about, and that none of it matters compared to the greed of money, which is the root of much of the environmental turmoil, if not the primary cause. But there is good that is happening, and many people all over the globe that are dedicating themselves to solutions, whether it be the preservation of a single species, or of a specific environmental area, or on a more global scale. As far as I can see, the only solution is to replace the money that is in the business of destroying the environment with money that can be made by saving it. And there are some inspiring examples of those types of changes — we just need a lot more of it. Do your part. It takes all of us.