In Nigeria, in the city of Calabar there is a Drill sanctuary, breeding farm and a sanctuary for Chimpanzees.  This is run by an American couple Liza and Peter who have been there for 20 odd years.  They were on an overland safari in a Landrover as tourists and events conspired that they started rescuing Drills and Chimps.  They are from Oregon originally and if you would like to donate to them, as they are supported totally by donation, their email is Pandrillus Foundation PO box  10082 Portland, Oregon 97296  A very worthy cause.  They have done wonders.   Anyhow, while there talking with Liza she found I was a vet and asked if I could do surgery on a chimp.  Well I’ve done so on many animals so a chimp couldn’t be that different and said yes, what?  This Chimp whose name is Seli was captured by the Nigerian army when she was little and her mom was killed, most likely for consumption.  She was kept for a few years til they tired of her and she was brought in a truck many miles, abused and finally put in a crate at the side of the road near Lagos for sale.  Liza heard of Seli and somehow got her brought to their Mountain sanctuary at Afi Mtn.  She was around 11 years old and an escape artist.  If she bred with the Chimps in the Afi Mtn. area she would contaminate the gene pool as she is not from there.  Therefore she needed to be sterilized.    Six wildlife vets had refused to do so as they had never done that on a Chimp.   I said well we also have an Ob gyn in our group Jackie Cartmill from N Ireland.  So I talked with Jackie and we agreed to do it if they had a good anaesthetist. The person who runs the Afi Mtn sanctuary is a Nigerian vet graduate from Nsukka who has been at the Sanctuary for 8 years and is expert at darting and doing anaesthesia along with everything else needed at that place.

I raided the small surgery at Calabar for necessary instruments and paraphernalia and the truck loaded up wood fence posts needed up at Afi and we drove the long trek to Afi.  Next day the truck could only go so far into the reserve so we loaded all supplies into Dr Adi’s pick up and camped near the chimps and surgery there,  I had gone ahead on a scooter holding on for dear life with our precious instruments, and quelling the terror, enjoyed the ride.

The surgery was a palm-roofed, dirt-floored, small building but with a decent light and we had all we needed to do the job.  Next morning, Adi darted Seli and brought her to the surgery.  I got an IV going and we shaved and scrubbed in the usual way. I did the surgery and Jackie located the ovaries and we did a tubal ligation.  Adi did excellent monitoring of anaesthesia, and everything went well.  We cut her nails so she wouldn’t pick out her sutures and she woke uneventfully.  We gals went for a canopy walk after that and then left for further travels.  Further communications are that Seli healed just fine and never bothered her stitches and can now be in a bigger enclosure cause if she escaped no harm would be done.

We have been travelling in Cameroon, Gabon and Congo.  Many very bad roads and some great ones.  Just recently the past few days we have gone about 80 miles per day on tracks one car wide and very rutted.  We are heading for Brazzaville and Kinshasa so we can get our Angolan visa.  It is really as you picture Africa.  Not very developed.  People are wonderful and I enjoy the momentary connection as we wave as we go by the tiny villages.  I especially enjoyed going to the Schweitzer Hospital in Lamborene as I had heard of him all my young life and he was a role model for me.  I was surprised that the young ones on the truck had barely heard of him, but then he died in 1965 and so they were all born after that except for 2.  For you young ones he was a physician musician from Alsace France and a missionary who established this hospital and leper facility back in 1913 and lived his life there doing good works and also travelled widely giving speeches and fund raising.  He won the Nobel Peace Prize.  The hospital still does free service for the most part and is an international centre for research on Malaria.