It was HUGE and really cool to see everything and all the people that went into the exercise.
First stop: U.S. Army Chinook helicopters, courtesy of the Hawaii National Guard, stationed in Wahiawa, Oahu.
Roger Pukahi (to my right) was my neighbor in Laie, he lives right in front of the Quiet House! It truly is a SMALL WORLD! And here is Nile's first shaka!
Roger told us all about the helicopter. They flew it from Hawaii in pieces on a cargo jet like this one and assembled it here in Botswana.
It only took them 2 days to assemble. I couldn't assemble a model helicopter in that amount of time!
We got to go inside. (Yes, it was quite cold but Nile refused to wear a jacket.)
More helicopters. These belong to the Botswana Defence Force.
This is one of the few moments where Nile wasn't jumping up and down with excitement.
We also got to go inside a Botswana Defence Force cargo plane. This one was a gift from the North Carolina National Guard.
We got a tour of the "command centers" for the exercises. They were set up in a big gymnasium. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines. Very cool to see everyone working together; everyone had a specific job function that fit together in a bigger picture to make the operation work.
The most fascinating part was the medical tents. They were set up to treat any major trauma, as there was live ammunition used in parts of the training.
The resources were incredible. The tents were HUGE. One area was for immediate treatment and stabilization, then they would send them to the next tent where they had a fully equipped operating room.
They had surgeons and every type of equipment at the ready -- they could intubate, insert a central line, do imaging (X-rays), provide ventilator machines, perform surgeries of course, and stabilize a patient for immediate medevac in the case of something major they weren't equipped to do.
I was not at all kidding when I said to Neil that if I suddenly went into labor in Botswana, there is no question that I would go to this place hands down over the private hospitals in Gaborone! More equipment, more medical expertise, more resources, much more peace of mind!
One of my colleagues who works in the health field said that this series of tents definitely had more resources than the public hospitals here.
Of course, I could always go to a traditional doctor.
This was set up as part of the cross-cultural event they were having on the day we visited. Quite a popular attraction!