A prayer for Youth Day

Bless the Children of Earth
may they have the blessings of food and health
may their homes be peaceful, their world safe
may we adults, work to make these blessings real
by our actions, attention, and giving, we make it so.

Bless the Children of the earth
with the abundance of a happy, secure life
may they have a life with education and opportunity
each child deserves no less, each child is precious
they are the future, the living legacy of our ancestors.
Bless the Children of the Earth.

(Abby Willowroot)

Winter colors

It’s winter here in southern Africa, with temperatures sometimes dropping to almost zero degrees. And still, some butterflies are on their wings, providing contrasting colors. I think this one is called the soldier pansy.

Photo taken in the forest at Kurisa Moya lodge, South Africa

Tires and avos

When you’re travelling, not everything always goes according to plan. So we had a flat tire, and what we do best in such a case is look helpless…

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Luckily, we were in an area with many plantations and farms.

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The workers and manager of one of these farms helped us a lot, providing us with a jack, filling up the spare tire and fitting it on our car. Unfortunately, the spare tire did not fit our car (don’t know how that is even possible…). In a complex switch, the manager gave us two of his tires to fit on our car, so that we could continue our travels. So good to meet kind strangers!

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The farm was an avocado plantation.

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We were invited to visit the harvest.

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The avocados are harvested once a week, from February to November. This day the manager had hired about 100 extra workers to help out.

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When we arrived they had just finished. The workers were heading off. They walked to the office, where they would receive their pay.

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And the boxes with avocados were lifted into a waiting truck. According to the manager, the avocados are then sorted according to size – large, medium and small. Apparently, people in Germany only want large avocados, in the UK they prefer medium, and in China small is popular. Spain takes any size. Learnt some great new things, and we were given some avocados to take home with us – what an experience!

My favorite

Of all the animals one might encounter on a safari, I think the leopard is my favorite. It’s strong and graceful, cat-like enough to seem cuddly, and threatening at the same time. Look at this one, glaring at me while still appearing so relaxed!

Photo taken at the National Zoological Gardens in Pretoria, South Africa

Happy baby elephants

In Southern Africa, elephants regularly fall victim to poaching or to conflicts about living space with farmers and villagers. Sometimes baby elephants are left orphaned when their mother is killed – elephants drink their mother’s milk until they are three years old. In Zambia, Game Rangers International rescues, rehabilitates, and releases orphaned elephants back into the wild. The youngest elephants are cared for at the elephant nursery in Lilayi, close to Lusaka. There they receive bottles of milk every three hours and are taken into the bush to learn to vend for themselves. Everyday between 11.30 and 13.00 hrs visitors can watch how the babies are fed – a lovely sight, as you can see in this photograph. When they are a little older, the elephants are taken to Kafue National Park to join other older orphaned elephants, to work towards reintegration with elephants in the wild.

Winter is coming

The sun shines brightly, but in the mornings and evenings it gets chilly. No wonder that Zambians are stocking up on their winter’s clothes. In this roadside stall the main item for sale are gloves. Who would have thought that there is a thriving market for gloves in Zambia?