BLOG    John Blashford-Snell  20th Aug 2009  Kota Mama, Bolivia 2009>

Vipers and pigs...

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Field Report No 7 - 20th AUGUST 2009

As darkness fell on Sunday 16th August, a woman ran into our base camp at Coquinal crying, “Vibora Vibora – a viper has bitten my husband.”

Within minutes, 28 year old Walter Daza Leano, who is being trained to operate the ambulance boat, was carried into the village clinic with a swelling bite in his left calf. Dr Roy d’Silva of Glasgow, our senior doctor, got to work at once whilst JBS sought the attacker. Fortunately Walter had managed to kill the 68cm snake with a stick and by candlelight we thumbed through the reference books trying to identify it. Walter now had a dry throat, severe headache, and pains in his groin. We had serum, but being unable to identify the snake, antibiotics, pain killers, and anti-histamine were given to Walter whose condition stabilized. By now the villagers had assembled in the church and were praying for him. They said the snake was the dreaded Yoperojobobo, a viper that has caused several deaths in the area. Roy had identified venom in the patients’ blood and together with Yolima Cipagauta cared for him during the hot, sticky night. Next morning Walters’s condition had not changed. A light plane was called by radio and arrived at dawn to convey Walter to Santa Ana hospital where he was given serum and is making a good recovery. The Corregidor of Coquinal, Senor Snaider Daza, thanked the expedition and said, “the prompt action by Dr d’ Silva saved Walter’s life.”

Most expedition members have been quite fit, although many have been afflicted with ticks picked up on the pampa and in the jungle.

The horse team continue to operate around Lake Largo and Dan Vockins is examining an interesting rock site. The horse team plan to complete their work on 24th August and return to Coquinal.

Dr Roy d'Silva with snake
Medical and dental aid is being given out in villages all over the region and people are coming in by horse from distant estancias for help.

School books were presented to pupils in San Carlos by Andy Gray’s vehicle party. These were very much appreciated. The team also examined the Iruyanez river and found it to have risen to 1.5 meters. JBS is now making plans for a potentially difficult return to Santa Ana on 28th August.

At Coquinal the first well is named the “Happy Pig” because local pigs like to mate there and then cool off in the deep red mud pool created by the drilling! The shaft went down 62 meters and is producing 180 litres per day. However it is hoped to raise the output with further cleaning.

The second well has found good water at 40 meters and is being capped today. Work on the third well will start on 21st August. The wells are kindly sponsored by Just-a-Drop and Tui Travel.

Elodie Sandford will name the ambulance boat she and her family have sponsored on 25th August.

Our rations have lasted well, although we are a little tired of the long life salami. The pancakes and maple syrup are the favourite dish. We continue to eat local fish and Roy d’ Silva has curried a rather old chicken with Barts Madras curry powder.

Dr Roy d'Silva with snake

Blog by John Blashford-Snell 

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Comments on this article
By: Paul LiddiardWhen: 9th Sep 2009 17:22
Sounds wonderful and exciting fun. How goes the dental? I extracted 580 teeth on K/M IV expedition. Am I overtaken? Regards to Yoli, hoping she remembers me! Take care. The photo opportunities have to be immense. Best wishes. Paul Liddiard, Jersey.
By: MJ HoffmanWhen: 7th Sep 2009 16:27
Such great work you have done. My son has a goal to do this kind of work when finished with his medical studies. Best wishes for future projects.

MJ Hoffman

By: shirley critchleyWhen: 27th Aug 2009 08:36
It makes fascinating reading...only wish I could have been with you.
Much love to Yoli particularly. Is Sarah Royal with you too?
I will be telling passengers on P & O Ventura in October, when I will be giving eight illustrated talks. Have included Just a Drop's work in the "blurb" about my involvement...hoping to find rich sponsor!
Much love Shirley.
By: Jenny KnightWhen: 21st Aug 2009 12:51
Dear JBS, Thank you for keeping us updated here at home. All I can say is "God be with you all, till we meet again. By His counsels guide, uphold you. With His sheep securely fold you, 'Neath His wings protecting hide you, daily manna still provide you. When life's perils thick confound you, Put His arms unfailing round you; love's banner floating o'er you, smite death's threatening wave before you; God be with you till we meet again! We will continue to pray for you all and your safe return to us. Jenny, Peter's wife.
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