Albert Schweitzer Hospital
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999 Days Around Africa: The Road Chose Me
I retrace my steps out of Lopé National Park, once again camping in the middle of nowhere and enjoying the lush green mountains. I spot some elephant footprints on the road, though the elephants themselves seem to be good at hiding – who knew.
Camping in a muddy spot one night I learn the hard way Gabon has tiny biting insects. These guys are by far the smallest bugs I have ever seen in my life – much, much smaller than no-see-ums or midgies that I have seen plenty of in Alaska and the Yukon. In fact, these little guys are so tiny they come inside the Jeep straight through the bug netting, and they eat me alive, leaving extremely itch red welts wherever they bite.
At night they gather inside around the light on the roof, and honestly look like specs of dust – the only reason I can tell they are alive is the way they fly instead of float.
Arriving in Lambaréné I immediately like the town. Built on the banks of the mighty Ogooué river, Dr. Schweitzer built his world-famous hospital here in 1913. His hospital was ground-breaking because he encouraged family members to stay on the grounds with their sick relatives, and those family members would volunteer at the hospital. In this way he was able to build a world class facility in the middle of the Equatorial jungle, and the hospital became the centre of the entire community. As word got around people would travel many hundreds of miles in search of treatment.
The museum is in the hospital grounds, which still runs to this day. I am extremely moved and impressed by the museum and grounds.
It is thoroughly impressive to see what a person can accomplish when they dedicate themselves.