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Crocodiles, Lions, & Rhinos… Oh My!

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Crocodiles, Lions, & Rhinos… Oh My!

We started our day with an early breakfast at 6:15 am and were quickly out the door at 7 am to meet up with our teams. We split off into 6 teams: Crocodiles, Lions, Rhinos, Cheetahs, Monkeys, and Hippos. Each team consists of a Brief Media volunteer and 2 Mission Rabies representatives from Malawi. 

The line at one of the static clinics in Zomba. Hundreds of people line up each day to have their animals vaccinated.

Figure 1 The line at one of the static clinics in Zomba. Hundreds of people line up each day to have their animals vaccinated.

The weather was a bit brisk first thing this morning, but it quickly became quite pleasant as the day wore on. We spent the day vaccinating dogs at static clinics, which we set up in schoolhouses around Zomba. My team, the Hippos, vaccinated 362 dogs today! We had a successful day; more than 1400 dogs overall were vaccinated at the static clinics. The Cheetahs and Monkeys vaccinated 500 total, the Lions vaccinated 198, the Crocodiles vaccinated 150, and the Rhinos vaccinated 255. 

The Hippo team

Figure 2 The Hippo team

On the Hippo team, I work with Prince and Tseka. My job today was to pull up vaccines, write vaccination cards, and communicate with the pet owners, with Prince’s help translating. While writing vaccination cards, I repeatedly see the same last names, such as Talada, Chikondi, Gift, and Given. Prince told me the word chikondi means love

We saw a wedding party pass by today—about half a dozen cars honking, and everyone was dressed in suits and colorful dresses and cheering over the sound of the cars.

Zomba has been a bit different from Blantyre in that we have some free time in the afternoon. We closed our static clinics at 3 pm and wrapped up our workday replenishing supplies and preparing for tomorrow. The early break allows for hot showers, catching up with the other volunteers, and general downtime. 

Our lodge has an excellent patio cafe where we can eat dinner, grab a drink, chat, and hang out with the lodge cats and Billy, the lodge’s dog. Luckily, we’ve had power all day today—it was a nice change to be able to see each other while catching up this evening.

We’ll dive back into the static clinics again tomorrow. Thanks for reading!—Jessie Foley

JESSIE FOLEY has a degree in veterinary technology from Cedar Valley College, as well as a degree in advertising and public relations from University of Arkansas. She was previously on the veterinary nurse team at University of Tennessee Veterinary Teaching Hospital. Foley plays a key role in Brief Media's partnership with Mission Rabies. In 2018, she joined the Mission Rabies vaccine drive in Malawi for her third year.

For global readers, a calculator to convert laboratory values, dosages, and other measurements to SI units can be found here.

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