In which moons and elephants re-appear and salad becomes a dirty word

It has been a while since my last post. As many of you already know, something devastating happened last week. A friend and colleague was brutally attacked and hospitalized by her husband. My thoughts and hopes are with her.

The night after I received news of the attack, I witnessed a full lunar eclipse. Truth be told, there was something both curative and poetic about the brief disappearance of that symbol of femininity. I lay out on my back porch for a few hours, staring at the stars and allowing the complex magnificence of the natural world to sink into my skin.

After a difficult week, I decided to take a few days off from work (it has been some time, after all), and headed up to the Liwonde National Park with a few other expats. The four of us were picked up at the Liwonde stage coach and driven in to the Liwonde Safari Camp which sits near the gates to the national park (close to Bushman’s Baobab). We were set up in these amazing tents on top of platforms that overlooked the camp and the surrounding wilderness. The highlight of the weekend was encountering a herd of dozens of elephants in the national park. These particular elephants are said to be the most aggressive in Southern & Eastern Africa due to a combination of disrupted migration patterns, poaching, and other human interference. That being said, the sight was simply breathtaking.

Though we were fed quite well in Liwonde, I began to regret my laissez faire attitude towards consumption almost immediately upon my return. Likely due to an inauspicious salad that my traveling companions and I partook of on Saturday, we all became horribly sick on Sunday or Monday. Though I thankfully had none of the “regular” symptoms of a food-borne illness, I did have a constant low-grade fever, chills, aches, and general exhaustion all Monday. I didn’t eat all day, slept a lot, and generally felt like hell had frozen over. Thankfully the worst of this has now receded and I plan to be back in the office tomorrow — good news given that we are supposed to start training & fieldwork in a mere 8 days (gulp!)

Anyways, a roller-coaster of a week that has reminded me of two things above all else: how much I value my friends and how dearly I miss my family.

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