Greetings from Gabon

An elephant wakes up from having been fitted with a tracking collar that will help protect him and his kind from poachers, and shows that he’s more awake than…

Enjoy – and watch to the end!

It reminded me of Walter Eschenburg – a lot! That’s just the sort of thing that could have happened to him, and tht he would have loved! I can picture him laughing about it afterwards and pondering about “a sense of humour”…

 

Travels with Kapuscinski (1) – Why? or “The Delight in Life”

He is a wonderful travel companion; tireless, humble, inspiring, full of understanding and wisdom. One couldn’t wish for better, more enlightening company. The great Ryszard Kapuscinski. When I first read his books, I had the strange sensation that there was finally somebody who understood…

IMG_0321

In “Travels with Herodotus”, Kapuscinski muses about the need to travel…

“… We do not know what draws a human being out into the world. Is it curiosity? A hunger for experience? An addiction to wonderment? The man who ceases to be astonished is hollow, possessed of an extinguished heart. If he believes that everything has already happened, that he has seen it all, then something most precious has died within him – the delight in life. Herodotus is the antitheses of this spirit. A vivacious, fascinated, unflagging nomad, full of plans, ideas, theories. Always traveling. Even at home (but where is home?), he has either just returned from an expedition, or is preparing for the next one.Travel is his vital exertion, his self-justification is the delving into, the struggle to learn – about life, the world, perhaps ultimately oneself.”

As a young man he felt the need “to cross the border”…

“…this was only about crossing the border – somewhere. It made no difference which one, because what was important was not the destination, the goal, the end, but the almost mystical and transcendent act. Crossing the border.”

Just the thought of ‘crossing the border’ causes a feeling of elation, of happiness, it scratches the itchy feet. The bubble is rising to the surface, the need to go, to move, to explore. To be able, like Herodotus and Kapuscinski, to ‘delve into, to learn – about life, the world, perhaps ultimately oneself’.

“Is it because you think the grass is greener on the other side?” some may ask.

No, not really. It doesn’t really matter. It is more about the need to find out if there is grass on the other side, what colour it has, what it looks, feels or smells like. To experience it – life, the delight in life.

IMG-20140727-01043

Perhaps, ultimately, it is about the desire to find out, as a dear friend suggested the other day, what it is that holds the world together on the inside…

A Promise…

IMG_20150512_142608

Bicycles in the sun and in the rain. Leaning against a wall, a fence, propped up on a stand or on the beach. Laden with fire wood, carrying a child’s seat or touring panniers. Blue, green, purple, black or red. New or old, cheap or fancy, city cruiser, mountain bike or tandem… the possibilities and variations are endless. All with their own character, everyone a piece of beauty.

But it’s just a bike, isn’t it? Like there are many millions more, six million bicycles in Beijing alone? Probably more.

Each and every one has a story to tell; carries a load of questions and answers.

Each and every one carries a promise.

The promise of a journey, an adventure, of going somewhere…

Home?

Away?

Does it matter?

A Serious Sense of Humour

Willem’s expression suddenly changed. ‘Walter, Walter, die ding word wakker! – She is waking up!’ There was more than a little panic in his voice. The truck just carried on slowly, the driver completely oblivious to what was happening behind him. From Walter’s vantage point, things looked quite safe, so he leaned out of his bakkie’s window and shouted back,

‘Hold on Willem, it’s not far now, hold tight!’ hoping this would do. …

To his delight and Willem’s dismay, he then watched how the elephant began exploring. She didn’t move anything but her trunk, but with that she began feeling Willem from top to toe. And then – Walter couldn’t believe his eyes and at that moment he really felt for his friend – she ventured with her trunk up Willem’s leg and inside his short blue shorts.

Walterrrrr, sy word wakkerrrrrrr! – she is waking up!’

20130811_134918

More about inquisitive elephants and other creatures with a serious sense of humour on page 199 ff of Healing Rhinos and Other Souls 🙂

 

Giraffes …

P1160773

‘Mr Eschenburg? It looks like both tendons are torn,’ the specialist remarked. ‘You should have come earlier… How did you manage to do this anyway?’
‘I was running through the veld after a giraffe and I stepped into a hole.’
The doctor laughed politely. ‘No, I actually need to know what really happened.’
‘Ja, well, giraffes are dangerous animals,’ Walter grinned. ‘How long, Doc, before I can use this blerry foot again?’
‘At least three months.’ The doctor shook his head. He’d had stubborn patients before.

Three months! But there was no other option. However, it would take more than a foot in plaster to stop Walter from tending to his business – and more giraffes…

Happy Birthday…and a little celebration

Since we are celebrating our first birthday, perhaps a little self-indulgence is allowed 😉

IMG-20140703-00849

Here some of the reviews for “Healing Rhinos and Other Souls” as found on amazon.com

Beautifully written full of heart and SOUL! – Absolutely loved this book. Was reluctant to take this one on since I’d been on a stream of biographies and thought that justice could not be done to a story written by other than the person for whom the story was about. Was I wrong! This is one of my favorites. Rohrbach obviously cared so much for Walter and his life story that she did not miss a beat in making sure the story flowed wonderfully. Anyone would have been honored to have meet this man and lucky to have had him as their veterinarian.”- Rebekkah Hammond, August 3, 2014

Dr Walter Eschenburg’s Biography – I knew Walter and love reading both about him and listening to the stories he had to tell. You can really hear his voice. I have to thank Walter for saving my pony from African horse sickness on two occasions. He was a wonderful vet who worked tirelessly despite the heat. I would have loved to have accompanied him on his rounds but don’t think I could have kept up with him.” – Sophie Neville, March 3, 2014

“A Special Story – A most wonderful story and great read for all those who are interested in the bush and (sometimes atypical) bushveld medicine!” – E A G Herschell, January 12, 2014

“Great – The author and the person she’s writing about are both great story tellers. Quite a few humorous stories. Also provides a good view on the effect of ww2 on the people. – Brian Eschenburg, January 1, 2014

And on amazon.co.uk

Healing Rhinos – A really wonderful account of Walter`s career as a Bushveld vet and also that of his family`s sojourn in Germany during the war. I loved it Tha Eschenbergs were/are very special people. – Margaret Pleming, 12 June 2014

Africa at its best – Loved this book, perhaps because I know the person who wrote it, but would have loved the down to earth approach to the life of an African vet. – Angela Ashworth, 20 February 2014

…and on Amazon.de

Ein Tierarzt mit Wurzeln in Luebeck – Sehr lebendig wird das Leben in Südafrika erzählt und die Erinnerungen an die Zeit und die Familie in Deutschland. Ein liebenswertes Buch, leicht zu lesen – obwohl bisher nur auf Englisch. – Kaete47, 13 Januar 2014

IMG-20130825-00146

Very happy and very excited about all of these 🙂

Thank you very much again to everybody!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

‘Healing Rhinos and Other Souls – The Extraordinary Fortunes of a Bushveld Vet’ is turning 1 this month!

Times really fly – and what a journey it has been… To many more exciting years and happy readers 😉

Thank you everybody for your support!

the book_3d

Healing Rhinos and Other Souls tells the story of a much respected if unorthodox vet, a family man who loved and understood nature and all her creatures, a reluctant businessman, a somewhat exuberant driver, a humble person, a great storyteller and a wonderful friend to many.

For nearly fifty years Walter Eschenburg lived and worked as a pioneering wildlife vet in the South African bushveld with its many animals and a host of weird and wonderful people. After a childhood spent in a German castle during the Second World War, a harrowing escape from the Russian army and a sequence of bold moves and fortunate circumstances, it is here, against the backdrop of the harsh but beautiful landscapes of the Waterberg, that Walter comes into his own and develops into a seasoned vet. He encounters charging rhinos, tame buffalo, irate cows and angry giraffes; he deals with snakes and warthogs, amorous elephants, cats, dogs and donkeys. He treats his patients with compassion and kindness, and his clients with large doses of humour.

Healing Rhinos and Other Souls is a story of love and life; of nature and adventures; of humour, passion and understanding. It is a story about a man who was simply himself all his life, the story of a life well lived.

Enjoy!!!