Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Serengeti Safari


One of the benefits of living in the North-west area of Tanzania is the Serengeti National Game Park. The game park is only two hours away from where we live. People from all over the world come to Tanzania for the purpose of doing a safari (Swahili word for travel) in the Serengeti. In fact, while standing in line to get our food a lady asked Bill, "So, where do you live." She meant which country since, as I've said, there are people from all over the world there. Bill answered, "We live in Mwanza, Tanzania." Her response? "Wow, you are lucky!" This trip was probably a dream for this lady, and she was amazed that we get to live here year-round. (It's good to keep things in perspective since it is easy to grow frustrated with the inconveniences of living  here rather than focusing on the blessings.)

We've only been into the Serengeti one other time. It was back in 2006 when a friend from the States came to visit. When an opportunity came for us to go with friends (driving their Land Cruiser so that it was cheaper) we jumped at the chance.  I'm glad we did because we had a great time!

This trip we refer to as the Elephant Safari. I LOVE ELEPHANTS! Our last trip we only saw eight, but this time we saw about 100. They are so awesome!!! God's creation never ceases to amaze me. In the picture below you see a herd with a baby elephant. Elephants are very protective of their young. It took a long time to get this picture since they kept hiding it from us. One of the adolescent bulls even came at us and trumpetted his trunk until we moved further away!

INTERESTING ELEPHANT FACTS:

*  The only mammal that can't jump is an elephant.

*  In a day, an elephant can drink upto 80 gallons of water.

*  An elephant can smell water three miles away.

*  It eliminates around 80 pounds a day on the average.

*  They spend about 16 hours a day eating.

*  Female elephants have a gestation period  of 22 months. They give birth to a single
   infant referred to as a calf. 

We also saw alot of giraffe. To me giraffe have personality. We watched these two for a while. He was obviously trying to make an impression on this sweet young thing!

INTERESTING GIRAFFE FACTS:

*  A just born giraffe measures around six (6) feet in height.

*  The adult giraffe’s tongue is 27 inches long.

*  The giraffe is a vegetarian animal, which survives on the
    leaves of the baobab tree.

*  A five to 30 minutes’ sleep a day is enough for the giraffe.

*  A big male giraffe can consume about 100 pounds of food in
   one day.

*  The age of the giraffe can be calculated from its spots. The
   darker the spots, the older is the giraffe.


This time around we didn't get to see a male lion. It was a very hot day so they were hiding in the shade. We did see a lioness in a tree with several other lioness' under the tree with their cubs. We barely saw them though for all the high grass. The lioness in this picture was all alone - as far as we could tell - and taking it easy.

INTERESTING LION FACTS:

*  The roar of a male lion can be heard from a distance of, as much as, five miles.

*  The largest lion to date was almost 11 feet long and weighed nearly 700 pounds.

*  The male lions of a group hardly hunt. The lionesses are the ones who hunt and bring the food for the entire pride.

*  The eyesight of a lion is five times better than that of a human. It can even see a prey from a distance of one mile.

*  After eating, a thirsty lion may drink for as long as 20 minutes.

*  The lion is the only member of the cat family to have a tassel at the tip of the tail.


We of course saw many other things on our trip. We drove up to a slew of safari vehicles and knew there was something interesting nearby for that many vehicles to be in one place. Sure enough, we spotted a leopard in a distant tree. Unfortunately it was too far away to get any pictures, but it did enable us to say that we saw four of the big five!



Friday, January 13, 2012

Change




I love change! When Bill and I were first married he would come home to find the house completely moved around. I guess it has something to do with the fact that growing up I moved A LOT. Change was something I expected, and now enjoy. I suppose that is a really good thing considering our life!

I'm guessing that some of you who follow my blog have come to my site to find it, uhhh... under construction. I'm in no way a pro at this so it took me longer than it should have, with many detours and along the way. However, I think I've finished my work - well, for a while at least!  Please do let me know if there is something that makes it difficult for you to read. And if anyone has some constructive criticism, please comment. I'm trying to grow into a better blogger and could use all the help I could get!

I want to take this time to thank those of you who read this blog. It really blesses my socks off!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Missionary to midwife???

The Lord woke me up at 3AM on December 30th. My phone that I had been keeping by my bed wasn't there. I had forgotten it in the living room. I immediately went and checked to see if I had missed any calls - there were none. I took the phone back into the bedroom only to be awakened at 4:30AM by Joel. He hurriedly told me his wife, Lauren, was in labor.
IT WAS TIME!

I guess I should go back and explain things... Joel and Lauren are new missionaries to Tanzania. They are starting an agriculture program at the orphanage Mavuno Village. Lauren decided rather than travel all the way to Nairobi, Kenya to have her baby, she would have it here in Mwanza. They found a nice private clinic with good doctors and nurses. However, since they have only been here a few months they do not yet know Swahili. And even though the doctors and nurses speak English, it is a British English and not always easy to understand. I offered to come to the hospital and be a mediator between her and the doctors/nurses. (When I gave birth to Abigail back in 1997 there was a lovely missionary lady who did the same for me.) Joel and Lauren took this as an answer to their prayers and gratefully agreed.

Back to my story...Bill drove me to the hospital where Joel and Lauren had already arrived and she was in a room. Before I had arrived, there had already been an issue with Lauren being allowed to bring her pillow from home into her room. (You have to understand that Africans tend to live in a box. They are taught certain things and that is the way they do them. It is hard to get them to bend protocol.) That having been dealt with, we proceeded to come across other protocol issues. I won't mention here, but I will say that the Lord allowed us to work our way around them. We learn in Proverbs 15:1a - "A soft answer turneth away wrath:" As I spoke kindly to the nurse and asked her to please understand that this woman just arrived in Tanzania and would like to do things according to our customs, she softened right up and smiled graciously as she let us crazy Americans give birth our way.

I've given birth three times. People tend to look at me like I'm crazy when I say I love giving birth! I don't mean that I enjoy the pain of childbirth, but I do enjoy experiencing a miracle of God taking place. And that is exactly what childbirth is - a miracle! This time around I was not the one giving birth, but I can tell you I SAW A MIRACLE! So let me say with Mary,

"My soul doth magnify the Lord,"