Cameroon’s Gagarin: the afterlife of Ham the Astrochimp

In February 2007, journalists descended upon the the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington D.C. in the wake of Washington Post allegations of mind-boggling bureaucracy, cockroachy conditions and substandard treatment of injured war heroes. Later that year, I stood outside the very same Medical Center on a bright November morning and, as I approached the security gates, I was distinctly uneasy. The massively framed, heavily armed guards, I was sure, would not take well to the appearance of a journalist bearing a notepad , camera, minidisc and microphone. If they asked me the purpose of my visit, how ridiculous