December 8th the senior couples of the mission sneaked out of town and had a Couples Conference in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. We had been asked to keep it “hush hush” because we were going out of the mission even though President had gotten permission from President Koelliker, Arica Southeast Area President. We each paid our own way. It was strictly a voluntary trip but who would want to miss it! So we mortgaged the farm and joined in.
This picture was taken from a helicopter a year ago by one of our senior couples when they had come as tourists to Africa.
We flew to Kasane Botswana on Wednesday morning, drove to the Chobe Safari Lodge, a five star accommodation with monkeys swinging from the rafters, wart hogs roaming the hotel grounds and Kudu, Impala and Eland on the menu.
We had a three hour game cruise on the Chobe river that evening with what got affectionately called a “waterside” (instead of a fireside) where we briefly shared uplifting mission experiences. However it was cut short as we lost our focus and our attention was drawn to four “teenage boy” elephants scuffling on the banks of the river. There were also pods of hippo, large flock of maribou stork, water monitor lizard and enough crocodile to keep one nervous and alert. This is a malaria area so we were all prophylaticated (is that a word?) with doxycyline to ensure only happy memories from the experience.
Thursday morning we departed for Zimbabwe to see one of the Seven Wonders of the world! At this time of the year the Zambezi River feeding Victoria Falls is still low so the flow is not as magnificent BUT we were told that it is better because then the mist is not so thick that one cannot see the falls. The mist from the Falls rises high in to the air as the water plummets “smashing! Crashing!Pounding!Pulverizing!” to the canyon below! It was fun getting wet in such breathtaking atmosphere!
This picture is not of the main falls(see picture at top of post). We didn't get a good picture of the main falls with the thick mist but this is still pretty amazing even tho it looks like a drizzle!(one of the other sister's got some great pictures. I'll try to get some from her.)
We enjoyed the day and returned exhausted to the lodge. The next morning we departed at 5:30AM for a morning game drive in the Chobe Game Reserve . No lions or giraffes or zebras this time but plenty of gorgeous birds. We saw a Marshal Eagle (an endangered species) with a baby impala kill up in the tree. There were wart hogs,impalas, other DLA and a pack of endangered wild dogs, …………….. It was so relaxing to bump along in the safari jeep and enjoy the beautiful scenery and the peaceful surroundings. Compared to the Midekwe Game Reserve in October this was much greener and therefore the animals were harder to spot because they had gone into the bush.
If you look closely right at the fork of the tree you can see the leg of a baby impala that this Marshal Eagle had caught and flown up to his perch.
Made a stop at the market in the town of Victoria Falls to allow the local artists to practice their "charming" sales techniques on us. One fellow was telling us such a pathethic story with such great pathos totally dramatized that Elder H started to laugh. The other artists/merchants who had clustered around hoping to catch us at a weak moment, started to laugh as well. The fellow stopped, glanced at all of us and burst out laughing! He reached out a shook Elder Henrichsen's hand. It was a great moment. We had made new friend.
We flew home that afternoon happy and relaxed and ready to “go get’em” for another seven months. This will likely be our last Couples Conference since both President & Sister Poulsen and the Henrichsens are running out of time. Shhhhh…that’s a secret too!
(check back later if you'd like to see more pictures that I'll get from some of the other couples)