Medical Protection Service

A man in the road ahead was flagging me down furiously. He had a bicycle with a basket of live chickens on the parcel rack behind the saddle. I thought he was just being an entrepreneurial salesman, but I wasn’t going to buy one of his chickens to self-cook in my hot car while I worked at the clinic. There was something about his insistent manner that persuaded me to stop.

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The usual greeting was short and sweet. “There are elephants by the road. Can you shield me?” he asked. “I saw a giraffe and that alerted me to the possibility of elephants. They don’t like cyclists. They will kill me.”

“Of course, I will help,” I said. He came along side the car and I drove at walking pace for a hundred metres or so. He came around to my side of the vehicle, pushing his bike and the chickens-in-a-basket. We talked about how frightened he was by the elephants. “Even the baby ones will try to kill you,” he said.

To my left, there was a group of elephants, minding their own business, stripping leaves and branches from a copse of mopani trees. They paid me no attention at all. “See, they are not bothered about you and your bike,” I said. “No, their eyesight is not good. They cannot see me behind your vehicle.”

Up ahead there was a small group of people, some one bikes, some on foot, who were loitering by the roadside. When I reached them, the chicken seller thanked me and pedalled off. The group of workers asked if I would help to protect them from the elephants and I agreed. I did a three point turn and drove slowly back down the road. The elephants didn’t bat an eyelid, though they did bat their ears.

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The second convoy of workers successfully negotiated the elephant run

That was why I was five minutes late for this morning’s meeting.

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4 Replies to “Medical Protection Service”

  1. Best. Excuse. EVER!
    (I love elephants but I have friends who work in one of our local elephant reserves and they can attest to the danger of these usually-mellow creatures.)
    It’s so nice of you to help the pedestrians in this way!

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