I've really procrastinated in writing. So I've decided today I would do this early in the morning while my brain is still fresh and alert, somewhat. Last week we had our couples outing to Victoria Falls. That is some amazing natural wonder. The water level is real high right now, so the falls were just gushing with water. The actual falls are a mile long. The canyon they fall into ,lets just say is really deep. The mist was so heavy it created it's own rain system. so even with long plastic rain coats (with hoods), we were wet. I've seen pictures of when the water is low and people and animals can walk across the river. That would be an awesome picture to see also. I do wish somehow the country of Zimbabwe could collect the water and distribute it to the people who need the water. IT just goes to waste. So we spent a long day at the falls. If I ever figure out my camera, and learn how to send pictures, I'll send them your way. Alan and I are the ones in the baby blue rain coats, rather gay!
The next day was our trip into Botswana to take the safari drive and go down the Chobe River. That was so incredible also. Botswana is a place I could live . The country is clean! and beautiful. Our guide said that every week, the people stop what they are doing and pick up trash. I believe it, so clean. There was a military presence in Botswana, more than in Zim, which w as different. When we crossed over the border, we had to walk into this solution, an d also the vehicle had to drive through the same stuff. It is to clean our shoes off, they don't want hoof and mouth disease to come to the animals. WE saw our share of animals. Before I tell you about them, I just thank God for all his creations, they are amazing. WE didn't see any animals until we drove close to the Chobe River plains, then we saw antelope, Cape Water buffalos, and an old elephant eating. This elephant was in the swampy water pulling up the tall grass, then it would wrap it around it's trunk and with the grass beat it's self with the grass, to knock off the mud. Then it would eat the grass. I could have watched this elephant all day long. Next we saw a zillion baboons. They were running all over and chasing each other all over. Then there came an outsider into the group and the fight and chase began. This poor lonely baboon just wanted to be accepted but the older monkeys really took into this lonely monkey. They chased it for a couple of miles and the noise the baboons made was , really mean. WE saw mongoose. They are funny and fast little creatures. Then we came closer to the river bottom itself. There were wart hogs, more baboons huddled together , they could hear the other baboons chasing the lonely one. Then the hippos ! They are something else. I thought that there were these huge rocks on the banks of the marshy river, but they were Hippos!!!! we counted about 60 of them, all with there heads in the mud! WE did see many of them eating and swimming. later in the day we saw them walking into the river and snorting at us. That was when our guide punched the motor on the boat and we took off quickly. They swim very fast and tip boats over. Ok, back on land. We also saw the biggest Nile crocodiles ever. Even our guide took out his binoculars and said he had never seen them that huge. Some looked like big tree logs but they were crocs. One had it's mouth open, it was cooling it's self off. Rather neat to see. We then saw a herd of elephants come running out of the hills down to the water. Our guide stopped the truck and said for us to be quite. They were like a pack of kids running to jump into the swimming pool and play. We heard them roar and dunk themselves in the water, swish their trunks around and spray water. Then after about 15 minutes the mother in charge, said something and they all came out. Well, they came out and started walking right by us. I was looking at them so close to us, I could see the eye lashes of this one elephant. I was waiting for the trunk to come in the open truck and swipe me. A little to close for the driver, and we drove down the road just a little to watch them from a distance. The bigger "bulls" were off in the river eating, so we don't get close to them. Awesome! Don't you all want to come for a vacation now. WE didn't see any giraffes or zebras, they were in Namibia grazing on the grasses there. From there we went to a place where the guides stop for a brake, they even created a sign," rest stop". but there were elephants there and the guide wouldn't let us out. He said that one day he stopped there and put out a table and put his lunch on it and was taking a break. Then the elephants came and shoved his table over and stomped on it. He learned that this area is for them and they humans have to respect it.
We then drove to the town of Kasane Botswana, where we got on this little boat to start our river trip. The weather was perfect, and the river was so nice to look at. But we had to remember it was full of crocs of all sizes. The company that did the trip also had a floating restaurant on the river, so we drove up to this round barge and they 2 ladies and 1 man cooked lunch for us. It was really good, and almost American food. After lunch we were off to see the animals from the river side. We saw the most beautiful birds ever, and a lot of them. Then we saw the huge monitor lizards, that were waiting to eat the birds and baby crocs. Our guide said that the really big crocs that we saw were 125 to 140 years old. I didn't even think that we could be in any danger, but that was foolish thinking. We saw hippos in the river, crocs on the side of the banks, two large elephants came out of the bush(trees) with there horns locked and they were fighting. That was really neat to see, our guide stopped the boat so we could take all that fighting in. The one thing we did see, were two people. They were fishing. One man was in the water near( the bank of the river and the lady was in the boat( the boat was a wooden tree dug out boat) They would put their fishing net in to the water and then pull it back out. The guide said that most people don't survive such outings because of the crocodiles in the water. He said that these people live in Namibia and take their fish to the market in Botswana to sell and buy food and take it back to Namibia. The Chobe River is the natural border between the two countries. Our guide said that the two countries fight over where the boarder is all the time. Infact some one has placed a flag pole out on this island. He said that every day some one will change the flag from Botswana to Namibia.
Our trip was nice. The people in Victoria Falls are ready to be taught the gospel, the church doesn't have a branch there. We had people ask all the time about our name tags and they wanted to know more about our church. I did tell President I wouldn't mind starting up a branch there, just give it a shot. The city is very expensive to live in , because it's tourist driven. So workers migrate to other communities when the tourist season dries up, and then they come back to vic falls to work. There is a bridge that connects Zambia to Zimbabwe, and that is at Victoria Falls. WE did not have permission to cross over into Zambia, sure wanted to.
We made it back safely and grateful for the protection the Lord feely gave to us.. One thing about our trip. ON the roads, there are elephant crossing signs. Only in Africa!. Our hotel was awesome, we got a great deal on the rooms, because they were running specials. It's the off season. Our dinning area is all open with a huge thatched roof covering it. So the baboons would love to run into the place, and swing on the open beams. They hired guards to only take care of the baboons. They would us sling shots, and just the sound of them being fired off would scare the baboons away. Ok I've really talke a lot, so my next letter will be more spiritual. We love you all and please take care of your selves. We pray for you always and day dream all the time , about our family.
Love from Elder A and Sister H.