The Bilingual WebZine of ART and CULTURE – Il Webzine dell'ARTE e della CULTURA

Posted by angela On March - 6 - 2012 0 Comment

They have been keeping me busy in the hospital; every day in Pediatrics, I start rounds with a nurse who translates for me, until Dr. Kigosi arrives. Then she usually sees one ward while I see the other, but on Friday she didn’t feel well, so she left, and I ended up seeing most of the patients, until young Dr. Chris arrived from his AIDS update course, and he helped me finish rounds. The morning I spent in Peds Outpatient Clinic, I was put to work, as the doctor asked for any English speaking patients, and turned them over to me. So it was with great relief that Friday afternoon arrived, and we planned to spend the weekend in Ruaha National Park, the largest park in any country in Africa.

We departed with Antonio driving us in his 4-wheel Toyota pickup, an essential accessory here in Tanzania, and we realized why only 10 km into our 120 km trip: the asphalt ended, and we spent two spine shattering hours bouncing up and down across the plateau. When we finally reached the Ruaha Hilltop Lodge at the edge of the park, we were so happy to limp out of the truck that we would have considered anything to be five stars, but the place is truly enchanting: traditional African hut architecture perched on the side (truth in advertising: it’s not really at the top) of a verdant mountain, with a large central building, open and well ventilated, that serves as dining room, bar, and lobby, with small guest room huts scattered above on the slope, reached by stone-lined footpaths. The hotel was built and is owned and entirely run by Africans, with the very kind Alban as owner and manager (English parents?). The rooms were simple but well appointed, with highly functional bathrooms, electricity for 3 hours in the evenings, and mosquito bed nets (another essential), and the food was excellent: Emanuele has forsaken pasta and sweets and all bread during lent, and I have forsaken nothing, but we will both return to Italy fatter than when we left. But the fiore all’occhiello of the Hilltop Lodge is the veranda above the dining area: it opens onto a limitless vista across the savannah, lushly green during this rainy season, and untouched by human artifice. At dusk, you look off into infinity, as not a single light may be seen to the horizon; who can imagine how far this continent must stretch?


to be continued with pictures…

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