Happy New year
Our time in Africa has been incredible, and being here with friends has made it even more memorable. For those of you that don't know, we connected with friends of ours from Abbotsford on Christmas Eve and spent the holidays with them.
We stayed with their family in a small community near Lake Victoria and after Christmas we all went camping on the Serengetti together. The boys had a blast harressing the wildlife in their safarie vehichles and us girls snapped hundreds of pictures of animals. Will, our friend from Canada, spent some of his childhood in Tanzania so he speaks Swahili fluently and he was able to do a lot of translating. His parents still live in Tanzania and operate a Bible College for local African students. As you can imagine tutition is expensive by African standards and many students wait for years for a sponser. We felt the Lord promting us to sponser someone after we met a young woman in a rural African community who has been wanting to attend the college for some time.
We are in Zanzibar right now, an island off the coast of Tanzania. It is stunning and it has so much history.The streets here are very narrow and all the doors are made of intricatly carved wood and covered with brass knobs. Apparently the style was borrowed from India where the brass knobs prevented domesticated elephants from breaking down people's doors. Crazy!
Just yersterday we visited a historical site where slaves were kept in hideous conditions underground until they were sold. Even after slavery was abolished it carried on here for many years.
Zanzibar is a very conservative muslim society so I have made a point of covering my body head to toe.. long skirt, head scarf and long sleeves. It is soooo hot here and very humid, I have no idea how all the women wear so much clothing. I am happy when I go swimming and only have to wear a bathing suit. Hopefully in the next couple of days we will be able to rent a vespa and explore the island - gas permitting. We are trying to learn some Swahili now as we still have almost a month left in Africa.
The snorkling and diving here is great- so many spotted rays and anglefish. They other day Nathaniel found a puffer fish and he teased it until it turned into a ball. I almost choked on sea water laughing so hard. I wish we cold download some pictures onto this site but we can't find any computers that will allow us to. We have so many pictures of Nathaniel holding reptiles and lizards and even one of me helping him hold a giant python. Hope this blog finds all of you well. We love hearing from you, even if it is just a short note.
- Love Jocelyn
It's hard to put into words what it is like to have a troupe of 20 or so elephants standing less than a stones throw away from your car and at least 2 or 3 less than 10 feet away. They mulled around happily tearing out bucketfuls of grass and chewing contentedly. At one point Jocelyn dragged me back throught the window as one slightly curious Elephant got a little to close to me and our camera. Jocelyn had images running through her head of curious elephants inocently crushing our camera . I'm quite sure that she was not far off.
Or similarily how a person is impressed by the deep rumblings of a pride of lions as they banter back and forth between eachother. Again, closer that I'd usually let cows get, and the cows would be behind fences!
Just the sheer numbers of animals of soo many different types is enuf to make a trip like that worth it. Herds of Wildabests, Cape Buffalow, Gazzell, Impalla, Zebras, Ostrichs, Waterbucks, Dik Diks, Warthogs,
Nile Crocodile, And Giraffes, Elephants, Lions, Hyenas, Servals, Jackels, birds of all species (especially Ginea Fowl, like a big grouse and just as stupid). We camped in tents on the Serrengetii, and for a lulaby we had the hackeling of hyenas and the roaring of lions. It was Epic!
This Cape Buffalow kept his distance while we changed a flat tire, but I don't know who checked over their shoulder more, me or the Buffalow
On th way back from the Sarengetii we stopped at a nice restarant, you know one that costs a bit and has a nice view. I was bored of the view in short order and began looking around for something that could occupy my attention. It wasn't long before I saw a small lizard on a rock not faraway sitiing in the sun by Lake Victoria. So after a bit of egging from my friends and a camera slung across my shou8lder I headed off to disturb this sunning lizard. Just as I get to the first set of rocks I see a huge monitor lizard slipping into a hole and out of sight. I mean it is close to the biggest lizard I've ever seen in real life....You know most people would think twice before getting involved with a 5 foot monitor lizard. Somepeople would at least stop to think once, a thought something along the lines of "once I get his tail then what" But me...I give up thinking altogether and jump down between those rocks and grab the tail just before it slithers into oblivian. And THEN I wonder what I'm going to do with his other end which is now hissing and clawing as though it were the proginy of satan himself.
Well....I can't just let go, and if he does turn on me I can jump in the lake, but for now he seems to be dead set for the hole and continues working in that direction. Which is fine by me. I somehow manage the wit to get my camera out with one hand and snap a couple of pictures of the visible half for proof with my friends.
I then look over my shoulder and call my buddy Will Tuokola. He knows instantly that if I'm calling him things must have gotten really interesting. He's there in a flash and telling me to lift the tail up to him. Sounds like a good plan but that means that the bitting end of this devil lizard is gona have to pass uncomfortably close to own bitting end and i'm wagering that his snappers are nastier than mine. So after planning and vizualizing my escape route should things go awry, I lift up the beast with 2 hands and clear out. The thing is wildly lunging up in an arc and trying to free his tail end. I gotta give it to Will, He kept ahold of that thing when most people would have filled thier drawers.
After about 5 minutes of me taking pictures of Will looking like a construction crane, keeping a safe distance between
himself and the Monitor, his arm was getting tired and it was time to switch. So we exchanged. I kept the Monitor busy while he found a stick so that we could hold down the head and get a grip on him. Once we had it in two hands it calmed a little but we were sure to keep a tight grip, One bite and you'd have some seriouse hospital time and even more seriouse antibiotics. I will get a pic up as soon as we can locate a computer with enuf ram to get the job done in under 1 hour.
We were in Kenya for one night and if any of you have seen the news on the civil crisis there right now we are glad that that was all. Nirobi is not a nice city and that was a week before they had their election. It has been one week since the election and there are over 300 dead because of differences in political parties. It is madness. It has strarted to affect the contries that surround them in ways like difficult getting gasoline for cars. over night the price quadrupled from $1.50 to over 4 dollars a liter here in Zanzibar (a small island off the coast of Tanzania.
- Nate Dawg!