My day started at 3am as usual. For some reason my body clock is set for that time and there’s no going back to sleep from that point on. At 6:10am I went for a walk/run on the 4 mile loop I’ve come to love. I saw a family of about 6 monkeys who were chattering, swinging, and throwing pods and sticks down to the ground. I wished them a good morning and carried on on my way. There’s just nothing like working up a good sweat in the morning!
When I got back to Tanda Malaika, the creatures were awake and lounging around as well as some preparing breakfast. We all read for a while and relaxed, and after some time, Aidan, Jude, Mycah and I grabbed our next door neighbors, Steve and Debbie, who we’ve come to love so much, and went crocodile hunting!
It was so relaxing to stroll through the the jungle.
We found a path close to some buildings that was lined with bottles. It looked pretty cool.
At one point Aidan yelled,’Crocs, I found crocs!!’ We hurried to look and found these!
Before long we found a pond and sat quietly and watched the banks and the water, and then there it was…a beautiful crocodile about 5ft long, slipping into the water. He had been laying in some tall grass, and his back was shiny with wet mud.
He lay still in the water for quite a while before descending, watching us as we watched him.
(Not great photos, but it gives you an idea.)
We started our walk back, which was a little over a mile, and Aidan and Mycah were about 20ft ahead, then Jude close behind them. They were all barefoot of course. Debbie and I were walking next with Libby (their dog) pulling on the leash, and Steve was behind us. As Debbie and I walked and talked we noticed Steve slipped farther back and we turned to wait for him, and noticed he walking off kilter and starting to wander into the foliage. I threw my camera to Jude, told Mycah and Aidan to run as fast as they can for help, and Debbie and I grabbed Steve and lay him down. I took his pulse, which was thready, and asked Debbie some of his medical history while checking him out. Very quickly he began to droop on the right side of his face and had trouble raising his right arm. We knew it was a stroke. Aidan and Mycah ran so fast, and got a golf cart headed our way, as well as notified the marina manager to get a panga ready so he could be taken in to Bocas. There is a local guy who has a fixed wing airplane that could fly them to Panama City to the bigger hospital but he didn’t know how low he was supposed to fly, so I called Danny and he informed us of the recommended altitude and gave more medical advice. It all came together quickly. We have their dog Libby with us, we sent them with Judes cell phone, and we are taking care of their boat. The last we heard, he was on a fast panga to Chenganola where they have a great doctor.
This evening we are going to lay low, snuggle up with Libby and distract ourselves with ‘Mrs Doubtfire.’ I am grateful for kids who can run fast on rocky ground, for fast pangas, and for medical care. I am also grateful for wonderful friendships.