Anna, Medi and Chunde wave in front of their ailing vehicle.
“Gari imearibika kabisa” (the car has broken down completely)…words you never want to hear when you’re on a lonely stretch of road in the middle of the Serengeti with no telephone signal.
It started off as a wonderful day as we began a drive back from Serengeti National Park to the villages to continue our research. We were enjoying the passing views of wildebeest, giraffe and zebra when our vehicle suddenly died on us. Car trouble in this type of terrain is not unusual, so we simply shrugged it off as we attempted to restart again.
About six attempts later we discovered the reason—some old wires had fallen off and cut off power! What to do, what to do? Luckily, Chunde and our traveling companion Medi were able to strip some of the remaining wires with my Swiss army knife and reconnect the missing pieces. We were at a loss as to how to get them to stick together until I remembered our handy, dandy first aid kit!
Band-aids from the first aid kit saved the day!
Five band-aids and several flying sparks later we were on our way…and just in time, as we heard lions roaring very close. We were able to make the six-hour drive back to the village safe and sound. My Swiss army knife, on the other hand, did not fare so well…apparently some of the sparks burned a hole through the blade. Now what will I cut my mangoes with?
The knife was scorched, but it was worth it to get the car running.
A research associate in the zoo’s Alexander Center for Applied Population Biology, Anna Czupryna studies domestic dog population dynamics near Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park. Her work is one part of a zoo-led vaccination campaign that protects the region’s people, pets and predators.