Wed, May 1st, 2024

Our 2024 adventure in Africa

In May, we shared a wonderful adventure in Rwanda with 14 old friends. Rwanda is a beautiful country, quite clean, and safe. We spent almost a week in the Akagera park and I got to experience some very close-up encounters with Lions and Rhinos. Of course, the main event was visiting the gorillas at volcanoes national Park. It was simply incredible being so close to such beautiful, and human-like creatures. I managed to do a lot of sketching and Jim took a lot of great photographs and videos of gorilla life. We did two incredible gorilla tracks and got to visit and learn more about the Ellen DeGeneres Dian Fossey gorilla research facility. We are looking forward to the possibility of helping their programs with our arts for animals programs. I will show a lfe of my wildlife experiences in photographs below...
I am finally getting around to posting the remainder of our African adventure. After we left our "buds" in Rwanda, we did have an incredibly productive and successful, but exhausting, month-long, Arts for Animals Safari (Journey) across Africa.
Here's a summary for you.....
After flying from Rwanda, we returned to our base of operations in Johannesburg four different times, quickly reuniting with suitcases we had left full of art supplies, computers, cameras, and materials, leaving clothes and gear, buying art supplies to ship to Zimbabwe, and sharing time with old friends there, before leaving for our next Arts for Animals destination.
Returning to Victoria Falls, we met up with our scholarship kids (who are now older and selling their work- Amazing!,) We visited our young friend "Descent", who we have been working with for the past 10 years -since he was 14, as a student at Jubalani school. We can't tell you how proud we are of him, now that he is a "man". He has really developed as an artist and is now selling his artwork at the Elephant Walk "mall", in Victoria Falls.
Besides bringing much-needed art supplies and wristbands to our partners there, we convinced the administration at the Mosi oa Tunya ("Smoke that Thunders"-the native mane for" Victoria Falls") High School to change their "Arts and Crafts" Building to an "ARTS AND CONSERVATION" building! Focusing the building more on wildlife conservation meetings, Ecoclubs, and Wildlife Conservation lectures and activities! Together, with our friends with " Children in the Wilderness" and the School headmaster, we are all looking forward to more opportunities at MOSI and at other Zimbabwe schools to extend wildlife conservation education opportunities to kids! We are anticipating that more schools in the Zimbabwe system will follow this lead.
Jim and I delivered another year's worth of wristbands and art supplies to our pals at "Painted Dog Conservation", whose conservation educational camps teach over 1000 kids each year the importance of their wildlife, and especially the endangered "Wild Dogs" of Africa.
Working again with Children in the Wilderness, we also completed arrangements for our Wildlife Arts center at Jubalani School to be moved ( yes, the whole building and outdoor gallery) to a new dedicated Education Campus nearby to better serve the needs of the schools in Victoria Falls and Zimbabwe. Although it was something we didn't expect, relocating the building means that our Wildlife Arts Center and Gallery will become the centerpiece of the new school campus. We will still have to figure out how to pay for that one......
And, we made arrangements for art supplies to be delivered periodically from South Africa to the Rose of Charity Orphanage and established a method of monitoring the children there individually from the USA. I'll try to attach a brief video of a typical greeting for us at the orphanage. Having all those happy little kids run up to you, and give you hugs is such a wonderful experience.
Children in the Wilderness and the "World Reader Program" ( which uses old iPads to enable rural African schools to access a library of literature) were super happy to accept the iPads that many of our friends donated to the World Reading programs. Also, they were incredibly excited to receive the Nikon camera and lenses that our friend Bob Whitney donated. Those cameras and iPads will make a huge difference in their programs.
We are also super happy to find out that our friend Sue Goatley, who helped us establish Arts for Animals in Zimbabwe, has been given the task of creating a new Children in the Wilderness program in Rwanda. We are going to try to engineer a working relationship between C.I.T.W., our new friends with the Diane Fossey Gorilla Campus educational programs, and Arts for Animals. Both organizations can certainly use our Wildlife Protector wristbands, materials, and posters for their programs.
Somehow, we did not take a moment to visit the Falls, even though the Zambezi's high flood waters made them larger and more "thundering" than ever this year. As always, it was sad to leave all our old friends in Zimbabwe but, by this time, we were itching to finish our work in Africa and head home.
Jim and I returned again to Johannesburg and, after flying back out to Hoedsprit, S.A., we visited several schools and organizations in the Kruger Park area. We met with administrators and finalized partnerships with two new organizations, "The Seeds of Light Foundation" (www.SeedsofLight.org ), and "The Bush Babies"-(https://transfrontierafrica.org/bushbabies)( the environmental education arm of the Black Mamba's-the all-female,anti-poaching police)
It was very interesting to see the difference between South African classrooms, which are fairly well-appointed, inspirational, and a little more like American classrooms- compared to the Zimbabwean classrooms which are quite sparse and in desperate need of materials and teaching aids.
We brought them Art supplies, posters, wristbands, and even a laptop computer - and got to visit the classrooms where they work. Our Arts for Animals materials will add a lot to their programs and help them reach more children with conservation stewardship lessons.
We ended our visit to Hoedsprit and the Kruger Park area working with our old partner- Timbavati Foundation (https://timbavati.co.za/timbavati-foundation/). They have built two beautiful, new buildings dedicated to interactive wildlife experiences and education on the campus of one of the local schools there. One of the buildings, containing the terrestrial wildlife interactive exhibit is finished, and in operation. The other building, which is just being finished, will be dedicated to Marine Life (even though it's 500 miles from the nearest ocean), the importance of our oceans, and the magic of aquatic wildlife.
The folks at Timbavati recognize that many of the problems in the oceans today are caused by Plastics, pollutants, and trash entering the rivers and streams of our continents. Protecting our oceans and ensuring the future health of our oceans needs to start in the villages and towns of the world.
Of course, as you know, this is "right up Jim's alley", and he was honored by the Timbavati Foundation to choose his wildlife photography(embossed on aluminum panels) as a design element for the exteriors of the buildings. We brought seashells, marine life books, invertebrate animals encased in plastic, underwater photographs, and other hands-on Marine life Exhibits for the new marine life building. We presented them with a wonderful Nikon camera and lenses - ( again thanks to Bob) to help create more exhibits and educational tools.
JIm used his underwater photography from the Philippines on my iPad to acquaint the new staff with the beauty and biology of underwater life. These folks, who have never even seen an ocean, found the variety and characteristics of underwater invertebrates, and fish almost "unbelievable". Next, we are designing an underwater exhibit area using TVs to project live underwater habitats from American aquariums ( Amazing! Technology can make an aquarium- without water, possible)

I can't tell you what a wonderful visit we had at Timbavati thanks for the hospitality and support of the Timbavati foundation staff. It's wonderful because we really feel like family there!


WHEW! After spending another couple of days in Johannesburg and Shipping suitcases up to Zimbabwe, we headed back home.
Well, that sums up our trip after we left our friends in Rwanda. Some of our friends have asked how they can help preserve African wildlife, and we can always use donations of cameras, iPads, or good old, American dollars. The easiest way to donate is to go to our website at Arts For Animals. ( www.artsforanimals.com)
Now to get ready to go out west to deliver or to our galleries in Montana, Colorado, Idaho and Wyoming.....

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There are very few things in nature as cute as a baby gorilla
There are very few things in nature as cute as a baby gorilla
There are very few things in nature as cute as a baby gorilla
We had so much fun on safari with our friends in Rwanda
We had so much fun on safari with our friends in Rwanda
We had so much fun on safari with our friends in Rwanda
Amazing, at one point I could've reached down and taken this Little baby off of her mothers back as she walked by
Amazing, at one point I could've reached down and taken this Little baby off of her mothers back as she walked by
Amazing, at one point I could've reached down and taken this Little baby off of her mothers back as she walked by
Jim got mad at me because I grabbed my sketchbook and forgot the camera!
Jim got mad at me because I grabbed my sketchbook and forgot the camera!
Jim got mad at me because I grabbed my sketchbook and forgot the camera!
After a arduous journey up the volcano we came upon this gorilla family relaxing in the sunshine
After a arduous journey up the volcano we came upon this gorilla family relaxing in the sunshine
After a arduous journey up the volcano we came upon this gorilla family relaxing in the sunshine
These are the trackers and protectors. Every gorilla family has men watching and guarding them.
These are the trackers and protectors. Every gorilla family has men watching and guarding them.
These are the trackers and protectors. Every gorilla family has men watching and guarding them.
As I sat and watched the silverback from a few feet away I had to wonder what he was thinking of me.
As I sat and watched the silverback from a few feet away I had to wonder what he was thinking of me.
As I sat and watched the silverback from a few feet away I had to wonder what he was thinking of me.
Here we are with our friends sharing a moment with a mother gorilla and baby.
Here we are with our friends sharing a moment with a mother gorilla and baby.
Here we are with our friends sharing a moment with a mother gorilla and baby.
Thanks to my photos and my sketches I have lots of work ahead of me drawing gorillas.
Thanks to my photos and my sketches I have lots of work ahead of me drawing gorillas.
Thanks to my photos and my sketches I have lots of work ahead of me drawing gorillas.
It was a rainy day for our group of friends tracking the Gorillas
It was a rainy day for our group of friends tracking the Gorillas
It was a rainy day for our group of friends tracking the Gorillas
We got to visit our friends at the gorilla doctors who voluntarily maintain the health of the guerrilla families
We got to visit our friends at the gorilla doctors who voluntarily maintain the health of the guerrilla families
We got to visit our friends at the gorilla doctors who voluntarily maintain the health of the guerrilla families
It's amazing how human like these gorillas are!
It's amazing how human like these gorillas are!
It's amazing how human like these gorillas are!
The silverbacks just ignore you, eating bamboo shoots and vines.
The silverbacks just ignore you, eating bamboo shoots and vines.
The silverbacks just ignore you, eating bamboo shoots and vines.
In Zimbabwe,we got to visit with our old friend Sue Goatley! She was instrumental in helping us set up Arts for animals
In Zimbabwe,we got to visit with our old friend Sue Goatley! She was instrumental in helping us set up Arts for animals
In Zimbabwe,we got to visit with our old friend Sue Goatley! She was instrumental in helping us set up Arts for animals
I love visiting the orphanage there and we are working to bring Art to their lives as well.
I love visiting the orphanage there and we are working to bring Art to their lives as well.
I love visiting the orphanage there and we are working to bring Art to their lives as well.
This is Descent a young man we have been working with since he was 14, and a natural artist.
This is Descent a young man we have been working with since he was 14, and a natural artist.
Thanks to our hearts for animals scholarship Descent has become a successful professional artist
This is Descent a young man we have been working with since he was 14, and a natural artist.
This is Lewyn head of the bush babies educational foundation.
This is Lewyn head of the bush babies educational foundation.
The all female anti-poaching unit in South Africa is called the Black Mambas. Since they are all also mothers, they recognize the need for environmental education and teaching their children wildlife stewardship.with help from Arts for Animals .
This is Lewyn head of the bush babies educational foundation.
This is the staff of the new marine life exhibition hall we are building near Kruger Park.
This is the staff of the new marine life exhibition hall we are building near Kruger Park.
Thanks to Timbavati foundation, Jim is able to bring the wonders and majesty of the ocean the children who have never even seen the ocean.
This is the staff of the new marine life exhibition hall we are building near Kruger Park.
Lewyn was such a joy to meet and we were happy to give her a Computer to help her with her programs.
Lewyn was such a joy to meet and we were happy to give her a Computer to help her with her programs.
Lewyn was such a joy to meet and we were happy to give her a Computer to help her with her programs.
We also met with the folks from Points of lLght foundation, to form a partnership helping them.
We also met with the folks from Points of lLght foundation, to form a partnership helping them.
We also met with the folks from Points of lLght foundation, to form a partnership helping them.
Thanks to Candice with Timbavati foundation, we are able to reach more children with aAts for Animals programs !
Thanks to Candice with Timbavati foundation, we are able to reach more children with aAts for Animals programs !
Thanks to Candice with Timbavati foundation, we are able to reach more children with aAts for Animals programs !
We had a wonderful and productive visit to South Africa thanks to our friends Karen and  Candice
We had a wonderful and productive visit to South Africa thanks to our friends Karen and Candice
We had a wonderful visit with our friends at Timbavati and we are looking forward to working together with them on the new marine life exhibit and other programs in the future.
We had a wonderful and productive visit to South Africa thanks to our friends Karen and Candice