Travel Tales: An Amputee in Africa

Breeanna Elliott is an Africanist who works at the Boston University African Studies Center. She has spent most of her adult life researching, living, and working in East Africa. She speaks Swahili and considers Zanzibar, Tanzania to be her second home.

This amazing young lady is also an amputee. Although she has been an amputee for all but ten months of her life, it is not a label she thought about consciously until fairly recently. Like brushing her teeth or cleaning her room, having a prosthetic leg was just an additional chore. That said, she admits that it came in handy occasionally when she wanted to legitimatize a claim that she could not feed the horses or go to school or do the laundry. ‘At least’, she says, ‘the excuse worked the first time!’

Breeanna emphasizes how lucky she was, and still is, to be surrounded by family and friends who have always encouraged her in spite of her prosthesis. Although she happens to be an amputee, she is not defined by that physical status. At the same time, she candidly admits that having two feet and two fully formed legs is “probably pretty fantastic.” Yet, she knows that those are not the cards she was dealt. As Breeanna so aptly states, “Life is so much more than having all your fingers and toes.” For her, life is about traveling–meeting new people, exploring new places, and trying new things. She also enjoys using those opportunities to more fully comprehend the variety of lived experiences of people around the world.

Here are photos from her recent trip along with commentary about each place:

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Traveling with a Prosthetic Limb – Amputee Travel Tips

Del: “By the time the airline cancels this flight, which they will sooner or later, you’d have more of a chance to find a three-legged ballerina than you would a hotel room.”
Neal: “Are you saying I could be *stuck* in Wichita?”
Del: “I’m saying you *are* stuck in Wichita.”

– Planes, Trains & Automobiles; 1987

Is there anything more stressful than travelling over the holidays? From long security lines at the airport to weather delays and cancellations, to snowy, icy roads, this can often be the most anxiety-inducing time of year for people who are traveling to spend the holidays with family and friends. And for amputees, especially those who haven’t traveled often in the past and may be unfamiliar with TSA regulations and procedures, there can be the added anxiety of not knowing how to comfortably navigate this process.

Continue reading “Traveling with a Prosthetic Limb – Amputee Travel Tips”