MORE A PARADE OF ELEPHANTS

Our guide said he’d never seen this before. A parade of 40-50 elephants walking two to three abreast in a long line. Males and females, calves and babies, aunts, cousins, including magnficient mature elephants with huge tusks.

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Carol Van Brugen
JOBS IN MFUWE

People who come to Mfuwe and can’t find jobs often try to live by farming a few acres of cotton, peanuts (ground nuts), corn (maize), and tobacco. But they depend on rain, and have little access to fertilizer or others soil amendments. They also risk losing their crops to raiding elephants. People who subsistence farming must raise enough to feed their families and trade for other products like clothing and cooking oil.

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Carol Van Brugen
HOW ARE ZAMBIAN STUDENTS DIFFERENT FROM U.S. KIDS?

At home, our students don’t usually enter reading contests like this. Take a look at this little guy in a reading competition with eight other schools in the area, a first for Uyoba School. Just a year earlier, Africa Hope Fund provided a new reading program with books for each student. Their test scores jumped that year.

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Carol Van Brugen
HOW TO HIDE AN ELEPHANT

It doesn’t seem possible that a thirteen foot tall mammal weighing more than 15,000 pounds can sneak up on a person. But look how this elephant’s color blends in with branches and woods. And how this herd coming through the woods and preparing to cross the South Luangwa River blends in so well, it’s nearly impossible to count them.

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Carol Van Brugen
ELEPHANTS AND PEANUTS

Yesterday I bought some salted peanuts in the shell. Today while I was waiting for water t boil for my tea, I grabbed a couple of peanuts, and a memory flashed past. I was very small and probably at a zoo, and feeding a solitary elephant a peanut as she reached her trunk over the metal fence

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Carol Van Brugen
ELEPHANTS: A NATURAL SIGHT

Taken towards the end of the day, this photo of   a lagoon in the South Luangwa National Park is the very essence of the life elephants should lead. During the wet season, the lagoon is full of water, fish, and birds are abundant, herbivores like puku and impala are plentiful, and the elephants enjoy the luxury of spraying themselves with water.

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Carol Van Brugen
WE CAN DO THIS

Before I traveled to Zambia in 2011, I had no idea how close elephants are to extinction. I never thought about how many elephants died so their tusks could become ornaments and trophies. I didn’t understand that they have been hunted for their ivory for centuries.

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Carol Van Brugen
WHY ZAMBIA?

People ask Carol Van Bruggen and me, “Why Zambia? Why not do good work at home?" Our answer is that we do both and so do our board members/directors. Sharing our abundance with others doesn’t have borders.

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Carol Van Brugen
THE HISTORY OF IVORY

The word elephant comes from the Greek language for ivory. Elephants were hunted for their ivory before Egyptian King Tutankhamun, in power during the middle of the 12th century, was buried in a casket with 45,000 pieces of inlaid ivory. 

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Carol Van Brugen
THE SOUTH LUANGWA NATIONAL PARK

The South Luangwa National Park is nearly two and a half million acres of grasslands, riverine and riparian woodlands, rivers, lagoons, and semi-aquatic grasslands surrounded by bush in a country of one hundred and forty-eight million acres with mopane, mahogany, leadwood, winterthorn, sausage trees, vegetable ivory palms, marula, tamarind trees, and more.

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Carol Van Brugen
MFUWE VILLAGE – PART II

Mfuwe has a police department and a local clinic which is usually staffed by doctors who come for short periods and are hired by the safari industry. There is one gasoline station and one occasionally working ATM machine where a small herd of goats seems to like hanging around.

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Carol Van Brugen
MFUWE VILLAGE - PART I

Mfuwe (pronounced “muh” foo we) village has grown because of the many safari lodges in the area. People flock there seeking jobs, but there are more people than there are jobs in the safari industry which shuts down during the rainy season December through March.

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Carol Van Brugen
TUSKS AND TERRORISM – PART II

The connection between ivory and terrorism continues to include many terrorist groups. Boko Haram, a branch of the Islamic State of Iraq active in the north of Nigeria since 2009, (The name means “non-Islamic education is a sin.”) wants to impose Islamic law as the only law in Nigeria, and is also among the militants making money from trafficking ivory tusks from slaughtered elephants to pay their fighters and buy arms and ammunition.

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Carol Van Brugen
TUSKS AND TERRORISM – PART I

Many ivory traders are terrorists. Money from buying and selling poached ivory finances their campaigns of terror and destruction. Between 2012 and 2014, about 60,000 elephants and more than 1,600 rhinos were slaughtered by poachers according to the Wildlife Conservation Society, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, and other organizations who work to protect endangered species.

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Carol Van Brugen
WHEN AN ELEPHANT DIES

When an elephant dies, her calves, sisters, cousins, aunts, and grandmothers visit her body, using their trunks to examine every inch of her and touch her gently. They stay with her body for about three days. Part of this time they stand with their backs to her and occasionally touch her with a hind leg

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Carol Van Brugen
A WARTHOG FAMILY

I love these guys. For all their fierce tusks, and annoyed looks on their faces, they are not aggressive to humans. Warthogs eat grass, fruit, berries, roots, and insects. When they are desperate depending on weather conditions, they also eat small mammals, birds, and reptiles and can live for months without water.

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Carol Van Brugen
ELEPHANT EXTINCTION

Does a photograph of an adorable baby elephant pull at your heart? These little guys were in the back courtyard at Mfuwe Lodge while their elders ate mangoes. They got tired, and one fell asleep. Like a true sibling or cousin, the other wouldn’t rest until he had what looked like the best napping spot.

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Carol Van Brugen