Location: Thunder Bay/Fernie, Canada
Hello all! Just wanted to send out a thank you for visiting our site during our trip. We loved getting the messages, and hearing your comments about our photos and adventures (misadventures)! We are home safe and sound now, ready to get on with the next big adventure...jobs! Take care all, and we hope to see you very soon!
Location: Maun, Botswana
Greetings everybody! Here is the last journal entry of the trip. I have been alone in Maun for the past two weeks almost. Fly made it safely back to Canada (Fernie to be exact) and is enjoying the snow and skiing as much as the apparently rainy weather will let her. I am definitely missing having a Canadian counterpart, but I will see her again soon enough!
I have been spending half of my time out at camp with the eles, and the other half wrapping things up here in Maun. I can't beleive how fast the time is going by, I will be back in Canada myself this time next week.
I had two groups out at camp last week, both from Matshwane Primary school, a private school here in Maun. The kids were fantastic, and the teachers...well, most of them were great to work with, others were just big kids themselves!
The weather has changed drastically. There has been hardly any rain at all, with cool nights and beautiful sunny days! I could handle this weather all of the time!
I finally followed through on something that I have wanted to do for a long time now, I got extensions put into my hair. They are all braided, and my hair is quite long now...a picture will be posted in the near future. All in all it took 18 hours, but I read 2 books, and my butt was only sore for a day after!
Anyway, there really isn't too much to report. I hope everybody is well, and we will be in touch when we are all back on the same continent...those of you who are on that continent. As I read over this, I can see why it was Mel's job to keep this journal up to date...let's just say my photo posting skills are better than my writing skills! :)
Location: Maun, Botswana
I DID IT!!! I finally won the battle with the internet. There are quite a few new photos posted on the site now, so take a look at them! As well as adding some new pages all together, I updated the Elephant Outreach Program folder with a couple of new ones as well.
Time is flying by in Maun. It is hard to beleive that Melissa is heading home on Friday afternoon, and I'm sure my time will fly by after that as well.
We have finished with the Elephant Outreach Program trips. We had our last group of students out at camp on Saturday. Things went fairly smoothly, as they should after 25 trips out in total! We did have some adventure though, during the elephant activity, we were surrounded by a small pack of wild dogs, it was pretty exciting because they are quite rare, and we haven't seen any yet.
Not too many other wildlife sightings, however, many insects are enjoying the new cool dry weather. Corn Crickets are invading Wilma's garden. She has hasked us to throw any that we see over the fence, but we told her it would not be possible (if you saw the size of them, you would surely say the same!!). There has also been an invasion of stink bugs. They were coming down like rain in some parts of town, and apparently the little beetles smell quite horrible, but Mel nor I can smell them.
I hope that you enjoy the new photos that we have posted, hopefully the number makes up for the lack of updates over the past couple of months!
Location: Maun, Botswana
I swear the email I sent out was not a ploy to get you to check out the site!!! Sorry about the photos, but it seems like Botswana does not want Casey to upload any photos (actually, she got one up!).
Since you are here, a short story to keep you entertained. We have been spending the last few weeks running Elephant Outreach Programs for the local school kids, and enjoying it quite a lot. There are new program ideas that we are trying out, and more that we are continuing to make.
Yesterday we decided to knowck off another tourist attraction off our list in Maun (there are only 3)... we went to teh Crocodile Farm with Robin and Brian (family of some of the people we live in the compound with).
Arriving at the Croc Farm Gate, it was hard not to stand with an open mouth staring becasue the first staff member we saw was missing an arm! Not very good advertising!!! It looked as though it was a fresh injury, and I no longer wanted to go visit the crocodiles. When we met the youngest ones, we all pet it, Casey for the longest while I tried to get a picture. Even though it was only 4 months old, they still looked pretty vicious. We survived the experience, and we all left with four appendages. An interesting industry, but pretty gross if you ask me! The adult crocs were as wide as kitchen tables, and the longest one we saw was about 3m. HUGE... SCARY... so happy that they were in fences.
Location: Okavango Delta, Botswana
For those of you wondering what we have been up to lately, we have been busy taking local primary and private schools to the Elephant Outreach Program in the bush. They have been going quite well, and we have been filling a lot of our spare time with new programming ideas, and making new activities for the kids to enjoy, as well as to keep the program different for us.
We were in need of an adventure, seeing as the trips were going so well. There has been a lot of rain this year, the locals say the rains this year are like the rains that they experienced here in the 70s. The bush tracks have been very wet, but passable... and we have only had to fly with one group. Since then, we have started driving again, and although the tracks are drying up a bit, they have deep ruts making the drive very slow-going.
The last trip we did went very well... great teachers, students, and a very fun program. Everything was going very well until we started the drive back to town. We were about an hour into our trip when there was a huge crack... oh boy, our back axle broke. The driver turned around to face us and he said That is a BIG matata!. What to do... we had a radio with us in case of emergency. Well this was an emergency, so the radio came out. Only our luck, there was no signal on the radio. Not even a little bit of fuzz when we held down the button. I climbed on top of the car in hopes of receiving a signal above the trees. No luck, just a funny pose like the Statue of Liberty. Casey and I decided that we had to start walking to see if we could find a better signal. We were 15km away from the buffalo fence, and if all else failed, they have a radio there that can reach town. It was already 2:30pm, and we were hoping to have the kids rescued by nightfall. Not only because of sleeping arrangements, but because only 2 kms before we broke down, we had a water crossing, and there was a HUGE Hippo living in it! When it gets dark, these beasts come onto land to look for food. The cute Hungry Hungry Hippos are not very cute and actually very dangerous.
We would not start walking without Mike, the local coordinator, as our body guard. We left the students, their teachers, and the driver with the truck as we started to walk... so happy that this was in the heat of the day on a sand track... now we were really in the bush! Only about 15 minutes up the road some dialogue started to come through on the radio. Casey stopped there and did not move again, until we were able to get through to Doug or Sandi (or anyone for that matter) for help. A few messages were sent about our matata, and then we received confirmation that there was a vehicle on its way to rescue us. Now it was just a matter of waiting... a little worrisome because waiting times in Africa are always unknown, and could last a LONG time!
This must have been a record fast waiting time... when you say there are kids stranded in the bush, people seem to move faster! By 5pm we were all loaded into another vehicle on our way to Maun. We finally arrived at 7pm to drop off the kids to their parents, only three hours late. Of course, they were ok with it once they realized that everyone was ok.
There are still a few groups to come, and some wrapping up work to do before we head home. The temperatures have dropped significantly, and it is quite hard to get the kids motivated to do anything away from the campfire. Hopefully it will warm up a bit, but not too much; we are enjoying the change... and no bugs!!!! When you think that things in Africa are getting a little boring, there is always an adventure waiting around the corner!
Location: Maun, Botswana
When we arrived in Maun in November, we noticed certain things that we just attributed to us being in Africa. However, after travelling through a few different countries, we have discovered that it is not Africa, it is in fact, only in Maun...
Only in Maun...
*Only in Maun do pickup trucks pack in so many people that the back end is nearly dragging on the road.
*Only in Maun can you be driving along the highway and witness a goat giving birth on the edge of the highway. (luckily the grass is much longer now, so we can't see many goats at all!!)
*Only in Maun does a vehicle accident attract crowds of 100 people in a circle around the vehicle to get a very close look at what has happened. (that means lifting tarps to view the carnage that has been covered up by the authorities!)
*Only in Maun will you get an evil glare from an immgration officer or store clerk when looking for assistance during working hours!
*Only in Maun can you order a meal from a restaurant and wait for over an hour to then be told that what you ordered is not available!
*Only in Maun can you go to a store to buy a product, see that the store has the product in stock, but then be told when you want to buy it that it is just not possible...with no real reasoning given!
*Only in Maun can you live on the edge of town and get full cell reception (which is an occasion in itself!) and then go into the middle of town and get NO cell reception.
*Only in Maun are there donkeys ALL OVER the road! If we were to count the number of donkeys that we see in one day, it would most definitely be over 50!
*Only in Maun is the school bus for the secondary school a nice big shiny flatbed truck!
*Only in Maun do headlines read:
"Donkey's have last laugh on our streets"
"Donkey rapist strikes again"
(notice how they are all in regards to the donkey population...I'm not joking when I say there are ALOT of donkeys!)
*Only in Maun do horses walk through the bank parking lot, and then into the middle of the busiest street in town, and nobody but us thinks that they are slightly out of place.
I hope to include a photo page that will display all of the things we have pointed out...and I'm sure that there are many more. We tend to spend a majority of our day discussing the many traits that make Maun a one of a kind 'urban village'!
Location: Okavango Delta, Botswana
HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!!!
Sending our best wishes for a day filled with chocolate and love!!! We flew back from the Delta today, what a wicked experience. I sat in the front seat with the pilot, and Casey occupied one of the four seats in the back. A great way to see the area!
Tomorrow we are back to camp to start our first school group of the new year. We are very excited to use some of the new games we have made for the program. Talk to you soon with an update!