Saturday, June 28, 2014

Week 69


At the fair referenced below were also animals brought up from the Kampala Zoo.  To get into the fair was 1,000 shillings, but it cost another 1,000 shillings (40 cents) to see these animals.  There was a huge ostrich, a boa constrictor, the beautiful crested crane, a lion, a leopard and a “surprise” animal.  The junior missionaries were going to attend two days later on their P (preparation) day, but asked us lots of questions.  I told them that one of the animals there they could even sit on and have their pictures taken as such.  Some were very excited, hoping it was the ostrich or a giraffe they could ride.  The animal: a horse!  Actually, it was the first horse we’ve seen in Uganda.  Not a common animal here.

This past Monday we had a zone activity.  There were several suggestions, but the decision was to go to Chobe Safari lodge for breakfast.  We are always “game” for Chobe.  We warned them, however, that when we went a few weeks earlier with our sons, we didn’t see a single giraffe, elephant, wart hog, water buffalo and if we saw kobe, it was only one or two!  It was our only disappointing trip to Chobe insofar as the wildlife.  The missionaries still opted to go.  This time none of us were disappointed.  We had a wonderful time and saw lots of wildlife up close.  One of the funniest things was watching the baboons grooming each other.  Of course you can see them doing that in the zoo, but the experiences are drastically different when you are up close watching them in their natural habitat.  One of the missionaries got a great video of them preening each other while also carrying a very young hairless newborn.

The tragedy regarding all these beautiful animals in Africa are the poachers who are radically reducing the big animals across the entire continent.  It’s a constant problem, and almost impossible to control, try as the park services and rangers do.  In many places, being a park ranger is a dangerous job, not as much from the animals as from the poachers who have murdered many of them.  At Paraa Safari Park, poachers pose as fishermen on the calm waters of the Nile, but in reality are sneaking into the park after dark and setting up snares to get whatever animal they can.  Our guide explained that one of the male lions we saw lost his leg because he was caught in a snare.  The park rangers are always on the lookout, but the savannah lands are just too vast to monitor with much effect.
The worst situations are those poaching for elephant or rhino tusks which bring in millions of dollars.  These poachers are part of international crime syndicates using high tech equipment, including planes and helicopters.  They fly over the savannahs, under the pretense of a “doctor” on board, who actually sedates the big animals with rifle powered pellets so the poachers can then cut off or out the tusks or horn.  There are some estimates that an elephant is killed every 15 minutes for its tusks.  The rhinos in Uganda were completely extinct until a decade or so ago when some were purchased from Kenya and the Orlando FL zoo.  There are now around 15 rhinos in Uganda (we were blessed to see up close the two babies born in Jan. and April).  The rhinos in the wild in Uganda are in one heavily guarded rhino sanctuary (an open grasslands area), but the poaching problem for other animals here and across Africa cannot be monitored like this.  The biggest market for rhino horns is Asia because they are used in Chinese traditional medicine.  The biggest market for ivory is China, with the U.S. following in second place as ivory is a symbol of great wealth.  I am reminded of the many references in the Book of Mormon about those who combine together secretly for financial gain or power by whatever means possible, including using murder. 
And when the servant of Helaman had known all the heart of Kishkumen, and how that it was his  [and his secret sect's] object to murder, and also that it was the object of all those who belonged to his band to murder, and to rob, and to gain power, (and this was their secret plan and their combination. (Helaman 2:8)
And it came to pass on the other hand, that the Nephites did build them up and support them, beginning at the more wicked part of them, until they had overspreqad all the land of the Nephites, and had seduced the more part of the righteous until they had come down to believe in their works and and partake of their spoils, and to join with them in their secret murders and combinations. (Helaman 6:38)
And whatsoever nation shall uphold such secret combinations, to get power and gain, until they shall spread over the nation, behold, they shall be destroyed.... (Ether 8:22)
And the regulations of the government were destroyed, because of the secret combinations of the friends and kindreds of those who murdered the prophets. (3 Nephi 7:6)
Wherefore, the Lord commandeth you, when ye shall see these things come among you that ye shall awake to a sense of your awful situation, because of this secret combination which shall be among you; or wo be unto it, because of the blood of them who have been slain; for they cry from the dust for vengeance upon it, and also upon those who built it up. (Ether 8:24) 

Those who know me well know I've struggled with obesity for a long time, but I am so excited that in the past seven weeks I have lost 18 pounds!  Brooks, my boys who were here, and those who are around me will verify I don't deny myself of any foods I like, but the big difference has been exercise and consistently using some of Melaleuca's old and brand-new products.  Still a long ways to go, but this has been easy and safe. I'm super pumped to keep it up. If you want to know more email me at or contact my life-changing friend Sue Prue at 972 318-1020 or 972 977-3678. 


Some school children...every school has it's own uniform.  Makes good business for the local seamstresses.

 The kids here don't know much, if anything, about American baseball or football but they love basketball.  Here is a team going thru drlls.
 Off we go to the "fair".  I'll let u guess what this hole in a plastic tarp is.
 This was one of 2 rides at the park.  A merry-go round and this devise that swings you out on chain-linked metal chairs.  Really looked like something out of the early 1900's. I was willing but Pam wasn't.  On second thought, a link could break and then break one's back and then be flown to South Africa and pray for a very soft landing.  Better safe than sorry.
 Some interesting face painting.

A cake....dough fried up in oil.  Tasted pretty good.  I brought mine home and smothered it in powered sugar...was even better.
National bird...the Ugandan Crested Crane...look carefully and you can see the crest on it's head...maybe double click the pic.
So here is what the hole in the canvas is all about.  It's the fellow who takes your money so you can get into the fair.  Just barely big enough to put your hand through.

Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles remarked: “The ‘vain things of [the] world’ include every combination of that worldly quartet of property, pride, prominence, and power. As to all of these, the scriptures remind us that ‘you cannot carry them with you’ (Alma 39:14). We should be seeking the kind of treasures the scriptures promise the faithful: ‘great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures’ (D&C 89:19)” (in Conference Report, Apr. 2001, 109; or Ensign, May 2001, 84).

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