All photos and text are property of Dave Forney and may not be used without express permission.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

World Elephant Day

On Wednesday, August 12th, I saw in the local paper that it was World Elephant Day.  I actually had no idea that there even was a world elephant day. 


That said, during my first year and a half living in East Africa, I've had the privilege of seeing quite a number of elephants. They are massive, majestic, magnificent creatures!  I love watching them and it's hard to imagine what the Savannah would be without them.  Then again, there's no wild rhinos in Uganda anymore, as they were hunted to local extinction a number of years ago.  Hopefully, that won't happen to the elephants.


Sadly, though, elephants are being slaughtered at the rate of about 100 per day (yes, that translates into well over 30,000 per year!) mostly due to the ever-increasing value of black market ivory, and the insatiable desire for it--especially in China and other parts of Asia.  Uganda's elephants are doing pretty good these days and are fairly well protected.  Not so in many other African countries.  Their numbers throughout Africa and worldwide are rapidly declining.


Anyway, this week seeing as how I have a lot of elephant shots that I've never shared, and since it was in fact World Elephant Day on Wednesday, I thought it would be appropriate to show you a few of the elephants I've seen here in Uganda.  Enjoy!

As usual, all photos appearing in this blog post are copyrighted and may not be used without express permission. Contact me if interested or if you have any questions. Thanks!--Dave














Saturday, August 8, 2015

Karamoja Trip (Part 2 of 4)

Last week we enjoyed having my parents visit from the U.S.  At some point I'll share some photos from their time here... but I'm really behind on photos right now, so rather than delving into ones which I haven't even looked at yet, I thought I'd return to a previous series that I started several months ago. Karamoja.


You may remember that way back in April, before I went to Nepal, and before the craziness of the busy summer season, I had just begun to share with you about a trip that my oldest son, Britt, and I took up to Karamoja.  We had the privilege to join a small group from our sending church in the U.S. for a week of visiting, praying with, and encouraging local pastors in remote village locations throughout the region.  If you you don't remember that previous post, or missed it, you can see/read it by going here.  

Above is a photo of a handsome elder walking down the dusty road in Moroto. Below is a picture of the Karamoja area throughout which we travelled many miles, visiting and praying with many national pastors, and seeing their churches and communities.  I just love the vast open country and limitless sky of far Eastern Uganda!


Here's some random pictures of some of those visits/meetings and a few of the people with whom we met, along with some services we held.







It was also great to see the Karamojang peace villages that I've heard so much about over the years. Below is a school that our sending church in the U.S., Good Shepherd Community Church, helped make happen for the children who live in the peace villages.  


Speaking of kids, there were always tons of them around--curious about who we were and what we were doing.  They were especially interested in Britt, who was often surrounded by many youngsters.  Below, while we were changing a flat tire in the middle of nowhere, he had the chance to explore a bit of the Savannah on his own.  He was disappointed not to find any lions or leopards, but still came back with a smile on his face.


Kids love having their picture taken. Frequently they gesture to the camera indicating they want a photo.  Then, of course, they want to see the photo on the camera screen.  If I ever get back up into these remote villages, I'd love to print some of these out to give to them.




These kids are carrying water back to their huts. Those jerry cans are HEAVY! And much of the water-hauling is done by the kids and women...it's often a very long haul too!


Speaking of water, here's a man-made reservoir in the area.  I had seen it a number of times from the air, but never from the ground. It was pretty cool to see it from this perspective as the sun was setting.  It's amazing that even in the driest part of dry season it still has water in it.


Check back again soon and I'll have some more shots from our Karamoja trip.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

July Newsletter

Here it is.  Our latest newsletter. Better late than never...  If you want to view the letter as a pdf, just click on the one of the pages, or go here.

http://www.maf.org/document.doc?id=3959

If you subscribe to our letters via e-mail, you should get a copy forthwith (I like that word). If you're on the snail mail list, then you should get it in the next week or two.  If you want to sign up for our letters, or find out further information on how you can be involved in our ministry, go to our MAF webpage or e-mail us.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Shots from Uganda

Hi folks, I only have a few quick minutes this late Sunday afternoon, but didn't want to leave the blog high and dry without a new post. So here are some random shots from Uganda.


I have a ton of shots from past months, just sitting here waiting to share.  That's where these came from. Some were taken back when it was still dry season. It's long since turned rainy and green again.  


There's also a ton of new photos I have, from clear back in early March till present, that I haven't even had a chance to look at yet.  Seems like I've just been too busy. But I'm sure one of these days I'll get around to it.  In the meantime, enjoy the ones from my little stockpile.



As you can tell by now, I'm not writing captions for these...its quicker to just blab generically, like I am.  But I guess most of these shots are sort of self-explanatory anyway. You could probably sum them all up by saying, that MAF flies to a lot of remote places, in the name of Jesus, to help people. And when we get to all those places, its obvious that the kids love the planes, the adults love the planes, even the dogs love the planes!  Haha.





On a side note, we are way past due for a news letter. I'm hoping to have one out this week, and I'll post it here. A few of you have mentioned that you got dropped from our mailing list.  That's unlikely, but if you think you did, just shoot me an e-mail.  More likely, is the fact that you just haven't gotten a letter in a while, which is because we haven't sent one out since February. Normally we do them quarterly, so one should have gone out in May.  And I'm usually quite punctual with our letters.  Oops!

But it would be a huge understatement to say its been a bit busy around here for the past few months--well, since March really.  So rest assured...a news letter will be coming forthwith.  And I'll post it here when it does.  And you will get yours via e-mail or mail soon thereafter.  We are so blessed to have such a committed prayer and financial ministry team behind MAF and us. Thank you!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Additional Musings on Nepal

I've decided to do one more post on Nepal, with a few thoughts about the country and the people there, and a few more pics to go along with that.  I hope it will entice you to visit some day.  



Nepal is a beautiful country!  The mountains are one of the main attractions, and they don't disappoint. Many people come from all over the world to trek the gorgeous Himalayas in Nepal.  The people who live in these remote areas, and even in the city, rely on the tourists for their livelihood.  I frequently heard locals talking about their concern as to what long-term effects these earthquakes might have on tourism. 


As horrible as these twin-quake tragedies were and are, I can ensure you that the people of Nepal will rebuild and recover.  Of course, the pain and scars will still be there with those who experienced it, but they are a strong and determined people, and they will be ready to welcome tourists back before you know it.  They want you to come and visit. While I was standing in the formerly picturesque mountain village (below), imagining what it looked like before the first quake set loose a cascade of rocks and boulders that wiped out the buildings in this picture, a young man came up to me and invited me to his "house".


This is where we wound up going (below), to his newly erected tent.  His house had been destroyed.  When the first quake struck he had been in the process of building a little lodge for trekkers.  It was his dream, and his future. He showed me how it had been severely damaged. Indeed, it was probably beyond repair.  But rather than giving up, he quickly built a temporary shelter for his family, and then began picking up the pieces to rebuild his house, and his lodge. 

He showed me how he was going to improve it over the original design, and where he intended to plant a flower garden, and herbs, and how he would make steps down a steep hill to a little hot spring, and on and on... That's the attitude of the people of Nepal--it's not that they don't feel the pain of the earthquake tragedies. They do.  Many have suffered beyond what most of us will ever know, or could ever handle.  Yet, rather than give-in and admit defeat, they are taking what's left and beginning to rebuild.  And they are counting on the tourists/trekkers to return, to ensure a future income for them and their children. 


Switching gears a bit, to religon.  Nepal is about 80% Hindu, about 10% Buddhist, about 5% Islam, and the rest is comprised of Yumaism (3%), Christianity (1.5%) with others making up the remainder.  
Everywhere one goes in Nepal, there are obvious signs of the two main religions--there are temples, shrines, prayer flags, monasteries, and all sorts of other symbolisms of their beliefs.  For example, returning to the Kathmandu airport after a relief flight to the North, the massive Boudhanath, one of the largest Buddhist Stupas in Nepal, dominates the city skyline.  


But as I said, the main religion in Nepal is Hinduism. The way people practice Hinduism-- what they believe, and how that plays out, can vary widely.  But since there are literally tens of millions of gods in Hinduism, the representations of these gods can be seen virtually everywhere you go in Kathmandu--from the shops (below), to the office buildings, hotels, houses, cars, and on every street corner.  


There are also many, many Hindu Temples throughout the city--virtually every street corner has a temple. Many are small. Some are large. This one (below) is massive, and is a World Heritage Sight. Its the Pashupatinath Temple, one of the most sacred temples in all of Hinduism, thought to be built around 400 A.D. 


Sadly, the reason for our visiting Pashupatinath Temple this day was for the cremation of a helicopter pilot who had died in an accident the day before. He was flying for a different flight operator--not the one we were working with. However, the flying community is small, and most of the guys at Fishtail Air knew this young captain well. Indeed, some were good friends with him.  It obviously hit them all pretty hard. I was honored and humbled that my friends at Fishtail Air asked me to accompany them to the cremation of their friend.  And I appreciated their candor in explaining what was happening, and the opportunity for all of us to talk freely about our beliefs and customs.


Here is a Sadhu, a Hindu holy man at the Pashupatinath Temple.  I went over and talked with him for a bit. Apparently he's spent the past 30+ years here at this temple, doing what the Sadhu do.


Whereas Kathmandu is primarily Hindu, the remote, mountain villages are often primarily Buddhist.  As such, there are a lot of monasteries in some of the most remote and rugged and beautiful locations, ranging from small (below) to massive.


It's also common to see Buddhist prayer flags fluttering all over the mountain villages, up on top of steepest spine ridges, actually almost every where.


Here's another monastery on a steep ridge that we passed on our way to a more remote/devastated area.  Not a bad view from there hugh? This one was fortunate to have survived the earthquake.  However, many were devastated, or their supply trails cutoff because of the twin quakes. The monks and nuns who lived in those places were desperate for help. As we do in all disaster situations, MAF was helping to bring aid and relief and supplies to EVERYONE who desperately needed them, no matter who they are, what they believe, or how remote their location.


Switching gears again--this time to the city of Kathmandu itself.  When I first got there, just a few days after the first quake, it was eerily quiet for such a large city. I didn't realize at first, how many people had fled the city.  But slowly, as things got back to "normal" it became the bustling beehive of activity I had expected.  Truth be told, I didn't really get to spend much time looking around--only about two hours total, one afternoon, during the entire time I was there.  But it seemed to have a very unique feel for a large city, different than anywhere I've ever been before (and I've been to a lot of countries and cities). I really liked it--the shops, the good cheap food, the friendly people--it had more of a small town feel.  It definitely is a place that a foreigner could walk the streets and just enjoy the place and the people.  Some day I hope I can return.



On a side note, I just couldn't cease to be amazed at the electrical wiring in Kathmandu. I've never in my life seen so many wires going everywhere, and yet it somehow seemed to work.  I would hate to be an electrician in that city. How in the world would you ever make sense of all of that?...maybe just run another wire.  In fact, it looks like that's what they've done.  :-)  But the truth is, even after two massive quakes, the electricity there was still more reliable than it was during the 8 years we lived in Kalimantan, Indonesia.  Go figure.


So here's a few parting shots that focus on the great aspects of the lively city and the gorgeous countryside, rather than the destruction.  Hopefully they will entice you to plan a visit to Nepal sometime in the future. You won't be disappointed, and you'll be helping the local people, who are so desperately counting on tourists to soon return to their country.