This is a quote from "Hillel the Elder" from the first century. (I thought I was so original!)

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Zambia Dresses Up For 50th

Zambia gained its independence from the British on 24 October 1964

It has been fifty years of growing up…
and maturing and planning for the future...

Zambia has earned the right to be proud of her accomplishments.
The government took the day off and got all gussied up for the festivities.

The FREEDOM statue was a place to pay homage to those who paved a path to independence.

The colors of the flag could be seen everywhere.

It is the common citizens who make up a democracy.
This man showed his loyalty not only to Zambia but to the current president. 

Every town had its own celebration.

Many showed their pride by dressing up in new clothes made especially for the occasion.

We took pictures of the many styles.

Everyone was creative in their own way.

Even if they used the same material it all looked totally different.

The men joined in the display too.

We caught many children heading to the city center to join in the celebration.

Many were happy to have their photos taken.

Some were engrossed in the ever present cell phone.

Others just radiated the holiday spirit.

Some were away in their own thoughts and music.

This dress displayed a map of Zambia.

What a great display of nationalism.

The materials were varied.

The styles were varied.

Some went with their friends.

Some with proud mothers.

Into the center gathering spots they went...

The boys had special shirts.

Maybe some HAD to wear what their mother had made?

Some just embraced the idea and ran with it.

With a new dress, everyday is a happy day.

However, modern Zambia keeps in touch like the rest of the world.

Sisters just show off their patriotism.

Crowds gathered for many different events.

It was a perfect day to fit in a good game of football.

Some towns gathered for music by the river.

Combies got in the action by showing the national colors.

Occasionally it was evident that some patriotism could have solved a bad hair day.

Even just a new chitenge could be enough to display some national pride.

Below you can see that Mom only had time for new skirts and and pink and red were natural colored tops to go with them.

Of course work never stops, even when outfitted for the holiday.

Sister Skidmore and I feel very loyal to Zambia but somehow didn't think we would blend in wearing the Zambian flag.  Kristi was given a Zambian umbrella by a local restaurant to get her ready for the rainy season around the corner and so she could show her Zambian spirit.

We stopped by the Jubilee arch on the way to the airport and took a selfie.

But maybe I went a little too far trying to be Zambian in my new work clothes.

Don't worry Zambians.  I will only wear this at home.
Here is to another 50 years of Zambian growth, harmony and PEACE!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

South Luangwa Nat'l Park, Zambia (Finding the Face of Evil)

I didn't go looking for a face that represented EVIL but I did find one.
It wasn't in this group of Senior Missionaries.  We had gathered for a small conference and then visited South Luangwa National Park in Zambia.

Our Conference lasted a full day and was very informative and helped to get us all united on many issues concerning the young missionaries and what specialties we were called to concentrate on.

We then moved to the game park and we stayed in a tent that had a roof over it to keep it cooler.

This time of year (Sept/Oct) things are pretty dry so much of the game gathers at the main river.
I love taking photos of the lilac breasted roller as it is so very colorful.

This iridescent winged bird fascinated me as I had not seen it before.  It is called a Hadada Ibis.

Then of course to find a lioness out roaming around is a thrill.

It appeared that she had taken down a cape buffalo.  Lions grab them by the snout and hang on and suffocate them to bring them down.  Then others help finish the job.   The rangers thought that the buffalo had gotten stuck in the mud earlier but at this time was completely clear of the mud. This lioness is a little leery of all the crocodiles that are in this shrinking pond.

But the feast is too tempting and she settles in to fill her stomach.

The vultures start to gather knowing that their turn will be coming up.

I didn't like the way he looked at me.  I might look half dead so I better start acting half alive.

Then all of sudden the crocodiles got a little too close and the lioness decided she had had enough.
That old buzzard thought his number was next, but it turned out to be the crocodiles turn.

It is so annoying to have to wait and be patient.  
Believe me, those are qualities I have also learned in Zambia.

Madam lion had one last look and decided that three crocs and many more coming was just too much.

She went across the road to join the other six with full stomachs in the shade of an old tree.

Now the crocs were all trying to get in to the best parts first.

When a little chunk came free they just threw it back in their mouths and down it went.
My mother would have been appalled and thought it was cub scouts all over again.

Then this big boy seemed to get the prize.  At first we thought it was a stomach but it appears that the cape buffalo was pregnant and he has found the fetus.

He appeared to be the biggest croc in the pond but several couldn't help wanting what he was taking off  with.

Three crocodiles eventually got a good grip on the prize and it was a tug-o-war.
Finally, in true crocodile fashion,  the one that thought he had a big enough chunk in its jaws started spinning to get his share.  Pure power and muscle and a lot of leverage.  At this point there were still three big crocs attached.

As hungry as these guys were, like true aviators, they were always checking "6" or behind so there weren't any surprises for them as there turn finally came up.

Then they got to relish some parts that the others have a difficult time getting to.

It was then that I took this photo of a crocodile that just looked like he could be the poster boy for the "FACE OF EVIL".

Something about all the teeth and blood with that shade of green and those green eyes and I was glad I was still in our truck.

So another peaceful, quiet day in the countryside of Zambia has passed.

The next morning we saw hyenas that I had not seen before.
Pretty ugly and always try to get someone else's kill instead of doing the work themselves.

We had seen several leopards at night, which was pretty spectacular but difficult to film properly.
Fortunately we found this fellow early in the morning lying in a small ditch and peeking over the side at some impalas.  He probably wasn't happy we disturbed his prey.

Leopards are so very beautiful.  It is little wonder that village chiefs and high society New Yorkers like to wear their fur.  Once you see it in the wild on such a beautiful animal it just looks wrong to be displayed anywhere else.

A leopard is a pretty solitary animal and must stay in tip-top shape to stay healthy by catching its prey.
Absolutely mesmerizing to watch in the wild.

We next went to an estuary that was drying up and there were thousands of different birds feeding on the fish as their water hole was slowly shrinking.

I won't bore you with all the photos of different birds eating fish and herding them into schools to gorge themselves with.

Below is a Yellow-Billed Stork, a bird I had not seen before.

So at the end of the day, I and my friend below, were just spectators in this grand cycle of life.

He is probably wondering where he fits in as he contemplates life.

I feel confident that we are all creations of a Heavenly Father.  
That I, and every other human that lives on this earth is literally a spiritual son or daughter of heavenly parents.  That as we take on mortal bodies we are in a testing phase of an endless eternal life.
There was so much more before birth and I look forward to so much more after death.
Isn't it exciting to get out in this world and put pieces of the puzzle together for ourselves?