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All Things Strange and Wonderful: My adventures as a vet in Africa

  • Dr Reb went to Malawi with the Peace Corp hoping for an adventure or two. He didn’t expect that saving two puppies and teaching a local girl to become a chess champion would transform his life forever.

    As a newly graduated vet Dr Reb signed up for a two-year stint with the Peace Corp Volunteers and found himself in the middle of Africa, in Malawi to be exact. A national fuel shortage meant no delivery of supplies, and he had to improvise at every turn. Then he was introduced to a local witch doctor, Dr Mzimba and two very sick puppies, Skippy and Bozo.

    After shaking my hand, Dr Mzimba took hold of both of my wrists and turned them over so that the palms faced upward. As he studied them, they began to tingle. The Peace Corps had given me extensive cross-cultural training, but I didn’t recall anything about greetings of this nature. Then he stared into my eyes and while the tingling in my hands began to fade, my cheeks now felt as if an electrical charge was passing through them. Through a smile that filled his face, he said, “I’ve been waiting a long time for you, Dokotala.”

    So began Dr Reb’s strange and wonderful adventures, where he discovered that in Africa anything can happen and usually does, especially when puppies become your companions in body as well as spirit …

    ‘A great read!’ – The Village Vets, Dr Anthony Bennett and Dr James Carroll, stars of The Village Vets Australia on the Lifestyle Channel.

    ‘This delightful memoir of an exquisitely remembered Africa of recent history both educates and amuses. Following in the footsteps of the befuddled “Dokotola”, we delight in the beauty and complexity of Malawi, a country most of us know all too little about. From shape-shifting hyena spirits to the modest pleasures of the Thyolo district bar, this book brings to life a world in which owl omens, dry dusty heat and a universal belief in spells and magic work to effect change and understanding on a young veterinarian on his first journey out into the world. A humane, often funny and exquisitely affectionate account of a meeting of worlds.’Walter Mason, author of Destination Saigon and Destination Cambodia

    ‘… this memoir … contains vivid portraits of the landscape and the climate, and a wonderful acceptance of Africa’s
    mysteries and resistance to first world logic.– Dr Debra Adelaide, Associate Professor of Creative Writing, University
    of Technology, Sydney

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