Kevin and Dawn Smith Charitable Foundation fundraising campaign for Suma, Uganda school nearing it’s end – 70% of goal has been raised.

        

After my trip to Uganda (full diary here, read from the bottom), Dawn and I decided to do something more substantial to help make lives better for the people of Suma Village, Uganda, Africa, by matching donations for the building of classrooms and sanitary facilities in the school, which is in desperate need.  For every dollar donated by others (up to $4,000) by March 31, Dawn and I will match it!!   The $8,000 will fund the project completely (this is a fraction of what this would cost to build in the west, so your money is well spent.)  The work will be done by the villagers but money is needed for the materials!

A huge thank you to Andrew Chaplin, Margo Jackisch, Paul Willamson, Chris & Sue Korsgard, Tony and Sandy Urbik, Joanne Callaghan & The Van Loon Family, Tedd Mallasch, Adrian Boulding, Maria, Jamie Galeher, Team Clark, Cory Korsgard, Woody & Melch, Don Smith, Bill & Judy Mulcahy, Lori and Henry, Nick Vlahos, Reggie, Keith and Lauren Smith, Marilyn Skok, Jill Fahlgren, The Petersens and one anonymous donor who have already made generous donations!

As of this moment, we have raised 70% of the funds necessary. Even small amounts by many people can quickly add up and we can meet our goal.  If you dig into your pockets, we’ll dig into ours!!

One of the people who donated sent me this note: “Thanks for spearheading this. We take so much for granted having food and whatever else we want every day.  These people lack those basic needs and it just doesn’t seem right.”

For details on the project and how money will be used, click here —> Soma school project

To donate with a credit card, click here —> https://www.justgiving.com

For donations of $500 or more, please contact me before donating (so that I can arrange for a 501(c)(3) receipt for your taxes.)

Bonus video

Hi all, here are a few videos that I shot that didn’t get posted.  Some cheetah, wildebeest and some impala.  The very first clip is a 9-minute video summary that I threw together in a couple of hours on the last day.

posted.

Tuskers (part 2)

The African elephant is a sight to see up close. Tall, giant heads, immense bodies and big feet! They are almost majestic as they walk. I could watch them all day. Mike said “it must be great to be an elephant!” Here are a few pictures taken by Dawn, and 2 video clips that I think are a good conclusion to the photo and video entries of the trip diary. The first video shows the elephants almost performing for us (with encouragement from Gerry!) and the second video shows the tremendous size of this bull.


In a few days, I’ll sum up my thoughts on the Wild Eye safari.

Tuskers (part 1)

Now that I am home in Chicago, when I think back to my 10 days in Africa, one of the memories that sticks most in my mind is not a cheetah hunting and killing an oribi, or lions kissing when meeting, or a hyena devouring a gazelle.  It is when the 5 of us (Kennedy, Grant, Steve, Dawn and I) sat for awhile and watched elephants in Amboseli. Grant and Ken seem to have a knack for getting us just in the right spot for elephants. and we were treated to a private show that including “dusting” (spraying dust all over themselves to help remove parasites.)  Then they walked 10 feet in front of us, not paying any attention to us.  A nice way to spend 30 minutes. Here are some pictures (taken by D) and video (shot by me). The video is 2 mins long, so I know it is a bit long for the attention span of a social media view, but I already cut it up from the 9 minutes I took. I tried to remove that shaking camera and any blur.

More and more Big Cats

Coming to the end of the trip reports.  I know cats sleep a lot, as I have a “big cat” at home who spends 15-18 hours per day sleeping. His cousins in Africa are no different.  Many times, we would run across lions that are sleeping and we’d wait for them to wake up. They usually would wake up, stand, stretch and then lay back down and fall asleep. In the Masai Mara, we saw lions most days.  Here are some pictures Dawn and I took of two of those encounters.  The male lion certainly is photogenic. The 2nd to last photo is a lion named Scar.  His name comes from the fact that he has a huge scar on the right side of his face, from a fight with another male lion. Scar walked about 3 miles to meet up with these other lions … the last photo is his kissing greeting with another male lion.

There is a video too, it is 1 min 45 sec long and it is a typical (uneventful) scene with lion and wildebeest I shot in Amboselli (I think). The lion is too small to really do any harm and the wildebeest (and one zebra) move closer as the young lion walks away. They probably spot the adult lions in the distance.  The best description of the wildebeest is this quote from an article I read (accuracy confirmed with our guide Mike) … “For all their stamina, the wildebeest are the most stupid animals of them all.  They have a memory of about one minute. I have seen them escape from a lion hiding behind a bush and then, one minute later, walk back past the same bush and get attacked again.”

Tomorrow, I’ll post about some more cheetah and also a leopard we ran across, and after that, finally, I will finish off with an extravaganza of pictures and video of elephants.

Rhino

Most days, we saw rhino. One day, it was the black rhino but most days, it was the white rhino. The major difference is the shape of their mouths. Black rhinos have a pointed lip while white rhinos have a flat, wide lip. Today, black rhinos remain critically endangered because of rising demand for rhino horn, which has driven poaching to record levels. The horn is trafficked to Asia where it is sold for insane amounts of money. Here are some photos we took, and a 1 minute video. Notice all the birds on the back of the single rhino. Cool, huh? The 2nd photo (with the mountain in the background) is black rhino.