I am currently in Europe writing up my thesis. My departure from the island was catalyzed after a serious accident left me with a broken arm. One Afternoon after a day out in the field we (together with DD) were driving back along a forest road when an antelope hurtled into our moving motorbike. It came out of nowhere from a bush, and I went flying off the bike, when I put my hand out to break my fall I ended up breaking the radius bone below the joint. It was horrendous getting off the island. First I called my emergency air evacuation insurance company The Flying doctors or AMREF to ask if they could come to the island to collect me. However they refused to land on Rubondo saying it was too dangerous, even though I kept reassuring them that it was safe and that two private companies flew tourists to Rubondo on a daily basis. They informed me they could only pick me up from the nearest town, Mwanza, well the whole point was that they were an emergency service for those living in remote parts of East Africa, but I guess in the case of Rubondo they felt the airstrip was not safe to land on.
In the end TANAPA came to my rescue and organised a boat to take me off the island that evening, and a private car to travel to the nearest hospital which was in Geita, they even called the hospital ahead that night to make sure it was open and that someone was available to treat me. When I arrived at a quarter to midnight I was the only one there and the staff treated me by putting my arm in a splint and taking an x-ray. After my bumpy journey off the island–2 hours on boat as well as a car journey on a rough dirt road–I was in absolute agony and couldn’t fall asleep, unfortunately, the hospital pharmacy was closed and they couldn’t prescribe me any pain medication, so I had to convince DD to find a 24 hour pharmacy. He found one at a small private clinic, though sadly they only had valium in ampoules so that night DD learned how to give his first injection.
Several days later, I had closed surgery at a nearby hospital in Mwanza to align the two parts of my radius and push in my dislocated ulna. Unfortunately, the broken bones were not aligned correctly (you can see in the x-rays). When I visited a hospital in Dar es Salaam 6 weeks after the accident, the doctors there recommended that I have the bone broken again. So in the end I had to return to London to have surgery. And that was the end of my field work, well for a while anyway.
After a year or so away from Rubondo I am feeling nostalgic. So I have decided to continue writing more posts about my experiences whilst on the island.