- STEELE BEING HUMAN
- Part 3
- by Chris
- See Author's notes in Part 1
- Days 6-7 - Steele in Ethiopia - Arriving
High, Landing Low
Steele welcome in Addis Ababa
- [Day 6, early morning, GMT + 2 hrs]
- Remington and Laura arrive to Addis Ababa early in the morning.
Both are dressed in comfortable khaki slacks and shirts, with
Laura wearing a loosely wrapped big, solid-colored shawl to protect
her sensitive skin. She has found out that many women in Ethiopia
wear them to cover their hair at times so she thought it would
be an appropriate thing to bring to fit in. They have no problems
with immigration, since Mr. Van Kasteren has helped arrange with
all the formalities. A local man watches as they pick up their
luggage, and he follows them at a distance through customs and
the airport building to the exit. As they walk, they do not say
much, they are just looking around trying to take in the very
unfamiliar atmosphere and to locate Mr. Petrov.
- Dressed like the locals in baggy pants and a long solid colored
tunic, he is waiting for them across the street, next to a white
4WD, newish-looking vehicle marked with the green emblem of UNEASE.
As soon as he sees them he walks up to them, greeting them heartily.
- "Friends, welcome to one of the oldest and poorest countries
on Mother Earth, a country once claiming its decent from King
Solomon and the Queen of Sheba." Mike says with pride as
he greets them heartily. "Was your journey OK?" he
says as he reaches for some of their luggage.
- At the same time the man who has followed them through the
airport building comes up to stand next to vehicle behind the
UNEASE-vehicle, looking as if he's talking casually in a native
language to another local man.
- "Good morning Mike. The journey went fine, somewhat
tiring though. I don't want to sound too filled with prejudice
but the national airline is quite good. A surprise actually."
Remington responds, putting an arm around Laura's shoulders,
as he is relieved from some of the luggage.
- "Yes, isn't it?" Mike confirms, then asking Laura
slightly teasingly "Nice shawl you're wearing, Mrs. Steele.
Trying to blend in?"
- "With my fair skin I would never do that but I DID do
my cultural homework" Laura responds in a fake indignant
tone, then putting on a gentle smile. After having inhaled a
few deep breaths, as if trying to get the feel of the place,
she comments "A bit thin air, isn't it?"
- "Rem acu tetigisti" Mike says with a smile. "Right
on the spot there. We are more than 4000 m above sea level. Maybe
you wonder what kind of journey that's ahead?"
- The Steeles look at him, somewhat taken by his direct question
and change of subject. They nod.
- "To get to the camp we have to travel north to Dese.
That's about 300 km. We have to spend the night there because
to get to the camp near Tendaho, we have to descend most of those
4000 m. And that's definitely not an activity recommended after
sunset. The roads here in Ethiopia tend to be somewhat bumpy
and in places the wildlife can be quite
says, putting on a slightly devious smile.
- "I guess we'd better get going then." Remington
says as he opens the front door for Laura to sit up front while
he gets into the back seat.
- They take off. The man who had been talking casually to the
other man gives him instructions to call a phone number and leave
a short message. He then himself gets in a vehicle parked further
down the street and drives off to tail the UNEASE vehicle.
- The second man walks back into the airport building and makes
a phone call. Obviously leaving a message to an answering service
of some kind, he simply says "Overnight stay in Dese."
- Steele making conversation
- [Day 6, early morning until mid-afternoon, GMT + 2 hrs]
- Steele in the woods
- Outside Addis Ababa the Steeles notice tree plantations,
causing Mike to explain, "Ethiopia has experienced a lot
of erosion problems. Another way of recovering land for productive
- Steele into coffee
- As they travel north on the Western Highlands, coffee plantations
are a frequent sight along the mountain ridge. Since Mike notices
that Remington and Laura look at them, he comments, "Ethiopia
grows a lot of coffee in the Highlands
Coffee is the number
one export item for Ethiopia...An extremely important source
of income for this poor country."
- Steele being lucky
- Further up the somewhat bumpy road, Laura asks Mike, "The
samples we contacted you about. Did you get them sent off?"
- "I was VERY lucky there. Maybe some good fortune was
working on your behalf
Got hold of the logistics officer
of MPH - Medécins pour Humanité, remember? - at
There just happened to be an airlifted transport
from the camp early this morning
The samples should be off
Those express services are quite reliable here as
well." Mike explains as he tries to focus on the driving,
trying to avoid the many carrier animals on the road.
- Steele on wheels
- "Isn't this set of wheels too fancy for a country like
this? It does make the potholes in the road seem less deep."
Remington says, commenting the newness of the vehicle.
- "It's just the chassis." Mike explains. "The
engine is replaced with an old working horse."
- "Because of maintenance reasons, or?" Laura asks.
- "Maintenance's one thing. New engines with all those
electronic control gadgets don't work down here. No tools, too
expensive spare parts, no trained people to do the job."
- "And?" Remington urges Mike to continue, as Mike
hits a big bump, almost knocking Remington over.
- "Oops, very sorry about that." Mike apologizes,
then continues explaining, "The fuel is too contaminated
for those new engines as well. Often the fuel is stored in painted
jerry cans and the paint comes off
Ends up in the fuel tank
with a good fuel filter, some of it ends up in the engine
new engine is
Makes exhaust gas 'cleaning'
a no-no around here." Mike finishes, causing Remington to
- "I have this old set of wheels back in California, an
Auburn Speedster 1936. A true beauty I may add
To be able
to run her after the new laws were passed, I had to put in a
I really felt sorry for her before the job
was done. It was like performing open heart surgery on the poor
thing." Remington states with emotion.
- Steele getting a whiff of Dese
- [Day 6, mid-afternoon, GMT + 2 hrs, early morning GMT - 8
- They arrive to Dese, a town with about 100 000 people, still
in the highlands, situated on the banks of a river, in the afternoon
after about six hours on the road. Mike has made reservations
at a good but yet simple hotel by Western standards. Still, in
each room there is an iron bed with sheets, pillows and a protective
net, a desk and a chair plus an ensuite bathroom with a tub,
a sink and a toilet. There is also a small radio as the only
- After installing themselves in their hotel room, Reminton
walks down to the lobby to call home. Since Mildred is staying
at their house, he should be able to get either of them at this
time of the day, he ponders.
- "Katie Steele." Katie answers, still in her bathrobe.
- "Good morning. It's Dad. Everything fine and dandy?"
- "Why shouldn't it? Dad, you don't have to worry about
us. Mildred and I are having a great time trying to help you
with this little mystery of yours." Katie continues, unbelievably
perky to be a teenager early on a Sunday morning. "Are Mom
and you OK and WHERE are you?"
- "We're in a relatively small town called Dese in the
Ethiopian Highlands. Quite picturesque actually. And yes, Mom
and I are just fine." Remington says reassuringly, then
continues, "Do you have any new information for us to guide
us in our search?"
- "Well, let's see
Mildred hasn't yet come up with
a connection between BioNovus - which seems like a suspicious
gang, if I have a say - and that purchasing process, organization,
whatever. She's still searching though." Katie explains.
- "Mildred won't give up easily, knowing her." Remington
comments. "Anything else?"
- "We had this idea that the soil may have an impact on
the properties of this particular kind of wheat
begins, then being interrupted by her Dad.
- "Eureka!" Remington says with excitement.
- "What does the motto of California have to do with this?"
A surprised Kate, obviously not knowing the true origin of the
expression, asks Remington, making him confused.
- "What motto?" Remington retorts, on his part unaware
of his home state's motto, continuing "That's all Greek
to me. It may be a long shot but there is a distinct difference
in soil between Switzerland and Ethiopia. You just have to look
at the color of the ground. You may have put your finger on a
sore spot." Remington commends.
- "Hey, I don't know about that, but we decided to call
Dr. Ng Kheng about it and she promised to tell the lab to check
it out when it does the other analysis. They've been advised
about the arrival of the Ethiopian samples, by the way."
Katie informs very matter of the fact.
- "Good, very good." Remington says somewhat absentmindedly,
digesting the latest information.
- Steele at the market
- [Day 6, early evening, GMT + 2 hrs, before noon GMT -
- After they all quickly freshen up, they decide to go out
to have something to eat and then get to bed early.
- "It's quite safe to eat the food at restaurants in this
as long as it piping hot, that is
and if you
have bottled, imported drinks to go with it." Mike reassures
the Steeles as they leave the hotel.
- The man from the airport steps out from a building nearby
and follows them at a distance. The streets are quite crowded
since the hotel is near the market, and there are a lot of young
people around. They notice, that there are just as many men as
there are women at the market and many goods are kept in beige-colored
diamond-shaped (when seeing them sideways), round containers.
In a way it looks like there are hundreds of little "flying
saucers" sitting around all over the market place.
- Steele entertaining
- [Day 6, early evening-evening, GMT + 2 hrs, around noon
GMT - 8 hrs]
- "Just a little further there's restaurant that serves
a mix of African foods but has genuine Ethiopian entertainment.
Does that tempt your taste buds?" Mike's suggests, gesturing
how tasty the food will be, as they reach the other side of the
- "Whatever you suggest." Remington answers, as Laura
put her arm in his.
- "Sounds very nice." Laura comments.
- At the restaurant, a waiter greets them and gives them a
table in front of the area where the entertainment is but far
away enough for them to maintain a conversation if they wish
to. The man following them gets a table as far as possible from
them, but still having control over the exit.
As they sit down Mike says, "The man singing here tonight
is a well-known azmari or troubadour. He's very famous for his
way of singing epic, traditional songs."
- "What is that instrument sitting over there?" Laura
asks, noticing an unusual instrument for Western eyes.
- "Oh, that's a krar, a lute with six strings. A very
common instrument." Mike explains.
- "So dear, what do you want to fancy your taste buds
with?" Remington asks Laura, obviously hungry, looking at
the fairly worn menu.
- "Hm, that Moroccan couscous dish with vegetables sounds
interesting." Laura ponders.
- "That's a good choice." Mike reassures them. "Myself,
I'll have the Malian chicken stew with tomato. Malian food is
very tasty." Mike tells them.
- As they listen to the music and eat their meals, they fill
Mike in on what they have found out so far.
- Steele a target
- [Day 6, evening GMT + 2 hrs]
- On their way back to the hotel, again being surveilled, Mike
starts explaining "Ethiopia is the only country in Africa
that hasn't been colonized. It was under Italian rule for come
years in the late 30's - early 40's, though. You can see the
influence here and there." He's so into his fact revealing
that he does not notice that Remington and Laura stop to admire
a church building, which looks like a textbook example of late
19th century Italian architecture.
- Not noticing that Mike walks away from them, Remington first
comments, "Wouldn't David have loved to see this, knowing
his interest in architecture?"
- "Our son is a true encyclopaedia when it comes to that."
Laura responds, then she starts explaining, "The Ethiopian
Church is orthodox, the second largest in the world after the
Russian. It was very privileged until the revolution in 1974."
- Mike unknowingly continues on his own, explaining further
"The great Greek poet Homer was a huge admirer of this country."
When he is about 50 meters away from the Steeles, an old land
rover-type vehicle comes up from a side street. A man is seen
leaning out of a door, snatching Mike.
- The sudden roar of the vehicle causes Remington and Laura
to look up the street and they can only watch as Mike is pulled
into the vehicle. They start running after it, Remington calling
out "O Brother, Where Art Thou", causing Laura to glare
at him, knowing very well that it was a reference to a film.
- After only a few seconds they see Mike being pushed back
into the street.
- As they get up to him, he is getting up, brushing the dust
off his clothes, obviously very upset. Mike is muttering to himself,
"Hoc opus, hic labor est." [This is the hard work,
this is the toil.]
- "Are you OK?" Laura asks with concern.
- "Do you know who they were? What did they want from
you?" Remington asks, upset at that he and Laura were not
paying attention to staying close to Mike.
- "Yes, yes
I'm fine." Mike says turned to Laura,
as he stretches to feel how sore he is, continuing to Remington,
sputtering out "No, have never seen'em before
I'd advise you to stop your investigation, or else
We'll go to the bottom of this." Mike finishes with determination,
revealing how upset this has made him.
- Steele unwinding at bedtime
- [Day 6, evening GMT + 2 hrs]
- Back in their hotel room, the Steeles try to unwind from
the events of the evening.
- "This case resembles more and more the Pelican Brief"
Laura says as she gets into bed, closing the net behind her.
- "Julia Roberts, Denzel Washington, Warner Studios, 1993.
Ah, remember that one very well. Accidents start to happen during
an investigation into an environmental issue." Remington
continues, sitting up against the headrest, his pillow behind
- "Knowing that they're getting closer to the truth, it
becomes more dangerous at the same time." Laura recalls.
- "Obviously there's someone out there that's not happy
with us being involved in the case. Whoever it is knows that
we've gone to Ethiopia to investigate further." Remington
- "Well, the only ones who know are the people at UNEASE,
and our own staff
and of course all the trails that we've
left in computers through bookings and such." Laura concludes,
then continues, looking at Remington, sighing slightly, "In
a way I feel like the character Julia played in that movie
small individual fighting 'the big unknown'."
- "But there's one BIG difference, dear. YOU are the kind
of woman that I'm terribly attracted to. Come here." Remington
says as he leans over, pulling Laura close for a reassuring,
loving kiss, sensing how uptight she is.
- Feeling comfortable from his subtle compliment and closeness,
Laura relaxes and kisses him passionately back. As the kiss breaks,
she says, "Thank you, I needed that, now I need YOU."
- Steele tampered with in the heat of the night
- [Day 6, night GMT + 2 hrs, afternoon, GMT - 8 hrs]
- Meanwhile, after the lights are out in both Mike's and the
Steeles' room, the same man who has been following them from
Addis Ababa can be seen leaning in under the engine hood of the
UNEASE vehicle, tampering with something.
- Steele making an observation
- [Day 7, early morning GMT + 2 hrs, late evening Day 6,
GMT - 8 hrs]
- They all get up very early and with no hot water at that
time of the day, still, the water is not terribly cold, just
'refreshing'. The hotel manager is able to whisk up some breakfast
for them, coffee and some fresh, local bread, eaten plain. Before
they leave Mike checks the water and oil levels in the car. Everything
seems to be fine. Still, Remington notices a Caucasian man standing
leisurely at a distance, seemingly involved in a conversation
with some local men, but the man is regularly checking what Mike,
Laura and he himself are doing.
- As they take off, the Caucasian man gets in a jeep-type vehicle,
then follows the UNEASE vehicle in such a manner that he barely
has visible contact with them.
- Steele overheating
- [Day 7, before noon GMT + 2 hrs, night Day 7, GMT - 8
- As they descend the mountain, the pass through semi-forested
areas, more coffee plantations and some herds of cattle. In grassy
areas there are giant lobelias growing. At a distance they see
the relatively flat landscape of the Afar Triangle spread itself
out at the foot of the mountain.
- The ride is very tranquil until the overheating lamp suddenly
- "Darn!" Mike exclaims, stopping the vehicle. They
all get out. Since the descend is quite steep, Remington and
Laura put a semi-large rock in front of each of the front wheels
to make sure that the vehicle does not start to roll, while Mike
starts examining the car. He quickly finds the problem - a loose
- "This came loose." Mike says, holding it up.
- "Let me see it" Laura requests. After examining
it she says, "This' been tampered with. Even though this
vehicle's quite new, you can tell that the clamp holding the
hose has been loosened on purpose. Several threads have the same
metal color, which wouldn't be the case if it had unscrewed itself
from, for instance, vibration. You can also see that a tool's
been used on its head recently."
- Mike just shakes his head, goes to the back of the vehicle
and hauls out a screwdriver and a plastic container with water.
While he does that Remington pulls Laura to the side.
- "First the attack on Mike, now tampering with the vehicle.
Without doubt somebody is unhappy with us sticking our noses
into this. I just wonder WHO it is." Remington asks rhetorically.
- "The only person showing us any distrustful behavior
so far is our 'dear' Dr. Lindt. But how can he be involved?"
Laura asks making a puzzled face, as Mike signals to them that
they are ready to move on.
- As they walk back to the car Remington whispers to Laura,
"A car has been following us all morning. Why didn't it
pass us when we had to stop?"
- Camp outside Tendaho Steele impresses
- [Day 7, afternoon GMT + 2 hrs, morning Day 7, GMT - 8
- In the early afternoon they arrive to the camp. Now in the
lowlands, Remington and Laura notice how hot and sticky it is
compared to the relatively tempered climate in the mountains.
Bugs, especially flies, seem to be ever-present.
- Mike notices that they are taken by the heat and comments
with a grin on his face, "It's different to the mountains,
ay? On top of that, May is the hottest month of the year, and
the rainy season hasn't really started yet, if it'll start this
year at all, that is."
- When looking around, Remington and Laura also notice that
beside tents, some regular huts have been built, giving the camp
an air of permanency. What astonishes them though is the bundle
of large saucers facing the sky in various directions.
- "Excuse me for being blunt, but this looks more like
you're trying to make contact with outer space rather than trying
to reclaim land in an extremely poor country. I get a definite
feeling of being in a James Bond film, that film
Never Dies', Jonathan Pryce, Michelle Yeoh, MGM, 1997. You don't
happen to have an evil media mogul lurking around, do you? One
who thinks that the world isn't enough?" Remington says
with a grin, causing Laura to give him a glare as if he took
his film referencing habit one step too far. He then asks, quite
amazed by the sight, "What ARE all those satellite dishes
- "No, no evil media people around here as far as I know."
Mike says smilingly, obviously sharing the same interest in Bond
films. Squinting his eyes at the Steeles, he then continues "Quite
a fantastic view, isn't it? A few of those dishes actually are
for satellite communication but most of them are for electricity."
- "Electricity?" Laura exclaims surprised.
It was Dr. Ng Kheng's idea. She head learned
about those when she studied in Australia, you know, down under
they have a lot of sun and large distances, local power plants
become a necessity
Then we combined the dish idea with the
latest solar cell technology developed, actually from Sweden
- can you believe that? Such a cold, dark place
we now have quite an efficient little power station of our own.
Any power not used directly is used to charge quite a grand back-up
battery station. Very reliable and requires little maintenance."
Mike explains with pride. "And when it came to telecommunication,
conventional phones would just be too expensive so we opted for
radio transmitted instead. Cellular phones work perfectly well
- "Impressive, just impressive" Remington mutters
to himself and then he helps out with unloading the luggage from
- Steele bagged with seeds
- [Day 7, afternoon GMT + 2 hrs, early morning GMT - 8 hrs]
- Mike introduces the Steeles to Aster Asrat, a young, local
woman in her 20's and part of the UNEASE staff. She shows them
to their accommodation, which consists of a larger tent for the
Steeles and a smaller tent for Mike. The tent has some kind of
floor to avoid making everything inside the tent a mess in case
of rain. The accommodation is simple, once again old-fashioned
iron beds with mosquito nets, a closet, and a desk plus two chairs.
A lamp powered by a solar-charged battery hangs from the ceiling.
Toilets and washing facilities are in separate tents, one for
women and one for men. Once again, solar cells come into use,
this time for hot water.
- When showing them the washing facilities, Aster says gently,
a face apologizing for the need to remind them, "Please,
preserve the water."
- Upon returning to their tents, Mike tells them, "Friends,
I regret to leave you by yourselves, but the incident last evening
and the driving today have worn me out. I need to get some rest."
- "Mike, please, you don't have to excuse yourself. We
understand. I think we'll manage by ourselves. We have Miss Aster
to ask, right?" Laura says in a friendly voice, remembering
how Mike had addressed the young woman at their introduction,
her last words causing Aster to shyly look to the ground.
- Mike goes into his tent.
- "So dear, what do we start with?" Remington asks
- "How about the storage area for the seed and the grain?"
- "Sounds fine. Miss Aster, where can we find that?"
Remington asks Aster.
- Aster motions them to follow her. While walking to a huge
tent, she says, "I'll introduce you to Mr. Gebre Wedajo,
the person in charge of agricultural, non-cattle related activities
at the camp."
- At the tent Aster introduces them to Mr. Wedajo, then she
leaves for her other duties.
- "Nice to meet you Mr. Wedajo." Remington says.
"Can you show us where you store the seed?"
- "Certainly, sir." Mr. Wedajo says as they start
to walk to the other end of the tent where they see stacks of
seed bags piled up.
- As they walk through the huge tent they notice how clean
and neat everything is. Still, Remington has to ask, "Do
you have problems with rats or mice?"
- "No, sir. The cloth the tent is made from
don't like it. If I see a rat
not live long." Mr. Wedajo
responds, showing with his arms what he would do to the rat to
relieve it of its life, causing Laura to make a grimace of slight
- At the seed bags, Mr. Wedajo says "We only have half
a bag left from the first shipment, all the other bags are from
- "How come you've saved some?" Laura asks with curiosity.
- "Mam, our recording and filing system for paper isn't
very good. Then it's easier for me to keep track of a bag of
seed since I'm the only one handing out seed from this storage
area. One person, one responsible." Mr. Wedajo says with
- "Ah, I see. Can we take a closer look?" Remington
- Mr. Wedajo nods.
- They note that the bags from the two shipments are identical
with one exception, the barcode at the bottom is different.
- "Hey, Mr. Steele, look!" Laura says, showing Remington
that on the new bags there is another barcode below. The new
bags have been relabeled. "Can I?" Laura asks Mr. Wedajo,
making a tearing motion with her hand.
- Mr. Wedajo nods in responds, just as curious as they are.
When torn off, the same bar code label as on the old shipment
can be seen.
- "I wonder who has done this and why." Laura comments.
- "Since we don't have barcode reading equipment here,
I've never bothered checking them. I've just looked at the article
number on the bags." Mr. Wedajo states, somewhat embarrassed
that he has not taken notice of this modernity.
- Medical Steele
- [Day 7, afternoon GMT + 2 hrs, early morning GMT - 8 hrs]
- They return to Aster since they want to continue their questioning
by talking to some of the MPH staff to find out more about the
condition that has affected so many of the villagers. Aster follows
them to the MPH main tent, showing them to Dr. Roger Dalton.
- "Dr. Dalton, you have visitors." Aster says briefly
and leaves again.
- "Good day, Dr. Dalton. I'm Remington Steele and this
is my wife Laura Holt-Steele." Remington says, all of them
- "Please, call me Roger. Mr. Steele, do I detect a British
accent? Not from the Isles, I presume?"
- "Yes, I am. Of Irish origin to be more exact. And please,
Remington." Remington explains.
- "And Laura." Laura fills in.
- "I'm from Manchester myself. Anyway, how can I help
you? You don't mind me checking on my patients while we talk,
do you?" Roger asks, walking over to another tent to do
his rounds, a local nurse with a badge stating "Dilba MELES"
discreetly following, holding a clipboard.
- "Certainly not, Roger. Please don't let us disturb...We've
been hired by UNEASE to look into the recent illness that has
affected this camp, the one causing a blood clotting problem."
Remington starts as to explain their presence.
- "Yes, we were informed about you coming. Let me then
fill you in with what I know. When I came here six months ago,
some people in this camp were still quite malnourished. Not that
the situation was acute, but severe enough. People were weak,
a bit anemic and that sort, and quite a few had pellagra. You
?" Roger begins.
- "Yes. Lack of niacin. Please
" Laura says,
motioning Roger to continue.
- "Shortly thereafter the people here harvested the first
crop of wheat, which was to yield more than the traditional grain
teff. The weather was unbelievably good so the yield was good
and the wheat dried quickly. People could soon grind it to flour
and start making porridge and bread. Shortly thereafter the symptoms
of pellagra disappeared. Still, many people got vitamin supplements
since the diet wasn't all that well balanced." Roger continues,
checking out a child 6-7 years old, turning to nurse Meles informing
her, "Nurse Dilba. She needs more fluids. She's dehydrated.
Give her a liter over the next 24 hours."
- The nurse just nods, and writes it down on the board.
- Continuing on to the next patient, a very old man by Ethiopian
standards, in his late 40's, he says, "Then by the time
second crop was harvested about three months ago, things looked
quite stable. But after about a week of a diet consisting predominantly
of flour from the new harvest, a lot of people started complaining
about stomach aches, and many children, who hurt themselves from
playing too rough games at times, developed severe bruising."
Then commenting to the nurse, "Continue with the IV as before."
Nurse Dilba again nods and writes on her pad.
- "So stomach ache was part of the symptoms as well?"
- "Uhuh" Roger utters in response as they move on
to the next tent.
- When doing that Remington catches a glimpse of a man he very
much thinks resembles the man watching them in Dese early that
- They now enter a tent where there are some patients recovering
from their blood clotting disorder. Roger walks up to a boy in
his teens, presenting a terribly swollen calf and a stiff elbow.
- "This teenager was just diagnosed. He'd been fine until
he was playing soccer. An ordinary kick on the leg caused an
immense intra-muscular bleeding. And a fall caused a bleeding
in his elbow joint. Of course, that's very painful. And we have
to monitor the pressure in his leg. There's a risk for tissue
death, which would lead to amputation, heaven forbid
enough with people getting de-limbed from mines than having it
happen from this as well
" Roger says in a controlled
voice. "Anyhow, the only treatment we can offer him is K-vitamin
in excess doses to stop the bleeding, and then he'll be back
on the average daily intake. To be honest, except for not having
severe internal bleeding, one could think that he's been eating
rat poison." Roger says with disgust in his voice. "The
only thing is that this camp doesn't have a rat problem."
He continues, explaining why he rules out that diagnosis.
- "Yes, we've come to understand that
Do you have
any idea what's causing all of this?" Remington queries.
- "The symptoms are like hemophilia but that's a hereditary
In my opinion it's food-related. People who eat
a mixed diet with wheat and teff seem to be affected less
the remedy is simple, giving K-vitamin, constantly. Why we need
to give K-vitamin
no, that's beyond my knowledge."
Roger says, as if apologizing for not knowing.
- "Oh, sorry for asking this but have you or any of the
other MPH staff gotten ill?" Laura asks.
- "No, well, a few of the local nurses but none of the
overseas staff. This may sound odd to your ears, but to make
sure that WE don't get ill, we use special food that we've brought
with us. Besides eating fresh meat, that is, meat butchered only
an hour ago or so, we base our cooking on dried or canned foods.
It is bacteriologically tested and has vitamin supplements in
it." Roger says, somewhat embarrassed that they treat themselves
Thank you for taking the time. You've been
helpful." Remington says, contemplating. He and Laura shake
hands with the doctor and leave.
- Steele bits and pieces
- [Day 7, late afternoon GMT + 2 hrs, morning GMT - 8 hrs]
- "We'd better update Dr. Ng Kheng and also find out if
she's got any news for us." Remington tells Laura as they
head back to their tent. Inside the tent the reception is good
for their mobile, just as Mike has promised.
- Laura calls the lab where Dr. Ng Kheng is overseeing the
test of the grain. "Dr. Ng Kheng. Good morning. Laura Holt-Steele
here. Any news for us?" She says slowly pacing the tent,
while Remington is leaning back on the bed.
- Switching over to a lab-environment, Dr. Ng Kheng is holding
a test tube, slowly shaking it. "No, we're not finished
yet. We're just preparing the samples from Ethiopia. We should
be done in a couple of hours."
- "I know you're working as fast as you can. Can you do
a complete chemical analysis as well? You know, this idea about
the soil affecting the grain." Laura continues.
- "Yes, they have good spectrometers here. Then we can
see how much of the minerals in the particular soils that have
- "Good. Look forward to hearing more about that."
Laura says encouragingly.
- "But, we should also find out where in the grain they
have been absorbed. That will take a little longer, but it isn't
too hard to separate each sample into its contents and then check
the substances out, one by one." Dr. Ng Kheng continues.
- "Oh, that's great. Then you'll see if there is a black
sheep somewhere, figuratively speaking." Laura comments.
Her choice of words causing Remington to frown. "Please
work as fast as you can. We've now seen with our own eyes how
the people here are affected. Poor people."
- "Can't agree with you more. Bye then." Dr. Ng Kheng
- "Bye." Laura turns off the mobile and walks over
to Remington to fill him in.
- Outside the Caucasian man walks away from their tent, having
stood at the back of it, listening in on the conversation, through
the thin tent walls.
- Steele having a cultural experience
- [Day 7, early evening GMT + 2 hrs, late a.m. GMT - 8 hrs]
- In the evening, Mike, Remington, Laura and Roger gather around
a large campfire to eat a stew Aster has made for them.
- "Miss Aster. What have you made for us this evening?"
- "Just a beef and vegetable stew. Local, fresh herbs.
Bread from teff. You like it Mr. Mike?" Aster asks shyly.
- Before Mike is able to answer, Laura says instead, "It's
very nice. My cooking skills are elementary compared to yours."
She smiles to Remington, then whispering to him "You should
know, shouldn't you?" Laura's comment causes Remington to
stroke her back in a tender gesture. Then Laura says to Aster,
"Maybe you can teach Mr. Steele to make this?"
- Aster just shakes her head and smiles timidly.
- As they eat, children from the camp's missionary school perform
a song and a dance based on the Ethiopian-Orthodox Church tradition
in honor of the special guests. The children sing one by one,
changing singer after a few phrases, accompanied by hand clapping
and a kebero (a cylindrical drum). The dance is liturgical. Remington
and Laura sit closely together, listening and watching intently,
amazed at the friendliness and the warmth of the people, despite
all the hardship they have had to endure.
- "I wish Katie and David could have been here with us
to experience this friendliness." Remington says quietly
to Laura, who nods in return.
- Day 7 - Events Steele Happening in the
- Steele learning more in LA
- [Day 7, mid-morning GMT - 8 hrs]
- With the latest news from her parents, Katie decides to learn
more about vitamins. Surfing the net for medical sites, she finds
a few that has detailed information on vitamins.
- 'OK, let me see. Two different kinds of K vitamin. K1 (Phyllokinon)
and K2 (Menakinon). Both soluble in fats. K1 through green leafy
vegetables. K2 by bacteria in your intestines. Normally no need
to take extra K-vitamin since enough from bacteria. Only if fat
absorption is reduced, illness in gall ducts, the pancreas or
the small intestine is present or if the bacteria are affected
by long term treatment with antibiotics. Hm. Dr. Ng Kheng probably
has thought about this but I'll e-mail her about trying to test
the effect of the grain on these bacteria.'
- Steele having a breakthrough
- [Day 7, late afternoon GMT - 5 hrs]
- Dr. Ng Kheng is seen together with a man, a Dr. Steve Polak,
in a research lab. When comparing the gene structures ('protein
bar charts') of the different samples, they at once see that
all the Swiss samples look the same. Also, two of the seed samples
look like one another - the Swiss one and the second Ethiopian.
But as harvested grain they all differ. The one from Switzerland
does not resemble any of the two Ethiopian samples, just as little
as the two Ethiopian samples resemble each other.
- Dr. Ng Kheng writes down their findings in an e-mail, addressed
both to Steele Investigations and the personal e-mail address
of the Steeles. She rounds off her message by telling them that
the chemical content analysis will be complete in a few hours.
And that they will run some more tests as suggested by Katie.
- To Part 4
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