William LeMaire, MD, and his wife, Anne, have been traveling the world for most of their lives. They've lived in Africa, Japan, Pakistan, Chiapas (Mexico), the Marshall Islands, Australia and New Zealand. He’s currently working as a locum specialist in Sitka, Alaska, and their adventures are far from over. To anyone considering a locum tenens adventure he says, "Do it!"
There really is no “Last Frontier” for William “Wim” LeMaire, MD. When we featured the good doctor in LocumSpheres earlier this year he told us he was penning a book. We’re happy to say we got a first read of Cross Cultural Doctoring: On and Off the Beaten Path and couldn’t wait to share.
A memoir of sorts, the book is a series of loosely connected anecdotes (medical and non-medical, funny and not-so-funny) that Dr. LeMaire hopes will inspire other doctors to get off the beaten path. “I could go on and on about the incredible variety of scenery and experiences during our many stints,” says Dr. LeMaire. “We’ll be telling the stories of these foreign-places-turned-familiar to our kids and grandkids for years to come.”
Dr. LeMaire writes of the beautiful (and often deserted) stretches of beach in New Zealand that are for clam digging—tuatua clams, to be exact. “But leave the shovel and rake at home,” he says. “You’ll find a feast just wading into knee-deep water during incoming tide and feeling for them with your feet.” There’s a limit to how many you can “catch”, but they’re plentiful. They also snatched small oysters from the rocks in the surf. “We'd grab them, remove the shell and put them in zip lock bags with lime juice. When we had enough we’d have a feast right there on the beach.”
A stint in New Zealand brought one front yard full of fruit trees, including a peculiar one laden with "green egg-shaped fruit” they’d never seen. Locals revealed it was feijoa fruit (sometimes called pineapple guava because of its taste). "The fruit was best when we just let the feijoas fall from the tree," says Dr. LeMaire. The couple even created a signature cocktail with feijoa juice, lime, rum and a few drops of beet juice for color.
One of the most memorable moments for Dr. LeMaire was in Australia, and it also happens to be his most embarrassing. (Let’s just say it has to do with a competitive swim race, a registration age-bracket mix-up, and some kids he edged out for third place). We told the story in LocumSpheres, but Dr. LeMaire adds more detail in his book.
Cross Cultural Doctoring: On and Off the Beaten Path is available to download for free. Dr. LeMaire kindly requests that you make a donation to Hospital San Carlos (in Altamirano, Chiapas, Mexico) in lieu of payment. A group of nuns provide medical care to the destitute Mayan population there and the book is dedicated to them (you can read more about them in Chapter 13 of the ebook). Get your ebook now.