|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.
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