ITINERARY FOR TRIP INTO BEAUTIFUL AFRICA – By Maribeth Shanley

Below is my long anticipated trip to Africa, in particular to Rwanda and Uganda.  As many of you know, this will be a working trip.

Invited by Edwin Sabuhoro, a young man who was a 2015 CNN Hero of the Year Nominee, I will begin writing Edwin’s autobiography.  Edwin was honored for saving the mountain gorillas from being poached, and, for teaching the poachers how to make a decent, and most importantly, a legal living. It was Edwin who transformed the ex-poachers’ lives. They now are the guardians of the same gorillas as they protect them from poaching and other nefarious activities.

When I first met Edwin, via Facebook, I mentioned I was a writer. He told me he was looking for someone to write his autobiography. Knowing any writer would love to take on such a wonderful project, many of the writers far more sophisticated, experienced and talented than me, I am proud, honored, excited and blown out of the water at my good fortune. With that said, below is my itinerary prepared by Edwin.

Day 1 (13th Feb 2018)
1:00pm: Arrival with Turkish Air
2:00-400pm: Trip Briefing and Resting
4:00-7:00pm: Dinner at Home Rwanda
Overnight: Home Rwanda

Day 2 (14th Feb 2018)
8-11:30AM: Take a Kigali City Tour visiting major parts of Kigali one the Africa’s leading clean cities
11:30-12:30pm: Have lunch at Bourbon Coffee
12:30-4:00pm: Traditional entertainment by former gorilla poachers at the Gorilla Guardians Village
5:00-6:00pm: Discussion with former poachers
7:00-8:00pm: Rwandan Traditional Dinner
9:00-11:00pm: Traditional campfire and songs of the gorillas
Overnight: Gorilla Guardian’s Village

Day 3 (15th Feb 2018)
8:00-9:00am: African Breakfast
9:00-12pm: Visit Iteganyirize Women Crafts Cooperative
12-1:00pm: Participate in lunch cooking with Iteganyirize Women Cooperative
1:00-2:00pm: Lunch
2:00-3:00pm: Discussion with former poachers.
3:00-4:00pm: Traditional dancing experience at the Gorilla Guardians Village

4:00-6:00pm: Meeting Francois – The guide who worked with Dian Fossey. Longest serving employee (over 30 years working with the gorillas) in the Rwanda Park Service
6:00-7:00pm: Dinner and Resting
Overnight: Gorilla Guardians Village

Day 4 (16th Feb 2018)
5:30-6:00am: Breakfast at the Gorilla Guardians Village
6:00-3:00pm: Trekking Mountain Gorillas- a once in a lifetime experience
4:00-6:00pm: Relaxing and playing local games at the Gorilla Guardians Village
6:00-7:00pm: Dinner at Gorilla Guardians Village
Overnight: Gorilla Guardians Village

Day 5 (17th Feb 2018)
8:00-9:00am: Breakfast at the Gorilla Guardians Village
9:00-10:00am: Transfer to Lake Kivu. One of the freshwater lakes in Africa’s Great Rift Valley. Great place to unwind after trekking gorillas
10:00-6:00pm: Resting day at the beach
6:00-7:00pm: Dinner at Lake Kivu Serena Hotel
Overnight: Lake Kivu Serena Hotel

Day 6 (18th Feb 2018)
8:00-4:00pm: Transfer to Uganda Via Cyanika Via Nakivala refugee camp and later to Nyabuhikye, Ibanda via Mbarara. The route takes you through western Uganda-The Pearl of Africa. One of the most beautiful landscape in Africa
5:00-6:00pm: Check in at Nyabuhikye Resort

6:00-7:00pm: Dinner at Nyabuhikye Resort
Overnight: Nyabuhikye Resort.

Day 7 (19th Feb 2018)
8:00-12:00am: Visit Nyabuhikye Village where Edwin Grew up, visit his primary, church, his his home where his family lived and talk to some neighbours and friends who grew up with him
12:00-1:00pm: Lunch Uncle Robert Rutehenda’s Home
1:00-3:00pm: Conversation with Auntie Victo and Uncle Robert about Edwin’s mum.
3:00-5:00pm: Visit Uncle Chris Tumwine, Edwin’s Baptism Father about Edwin and Edwin’s mum (The only one left of the 3)
6:00-7:00pm: Dinner at Uncle Chris’s Home
Overnight: Nyabuhikye Resort

Day 8 (20th Feb 2018)
8:00-9:00am: Breakfast at Nyabuhikye Resort
9:00-11:00am: Conversations with Uncle Emmanuel Kafuniza about Edwin and Edwin’s mum
11:00-1:00pm: Visit Karuhoko, Edwins mum best friend. Lunch at Karuhoko’s home
1:00-2:00pm: Visit Nyabuhikye Primary School where Edwin studied from and his local Church
2:00-4:00pm: Visit Ibanda Secondary School and talk to Karemera, Edwin’ s former teacher
4:00-7:00pm: Visit David Karumu, Edwin’s Uncle and best friend 8:00pm: Dinner at David’s home
Overnight: Nyabuhikye Resort

Day 9 (21st Feb 2018)
8:00-9:00am: Breakfast at Nyabuhikye Resort
9:00-1:00pm: Visiting friends and interaction with Uncle Emanuel.
1:00-3:00pm: Transfer to Mbarara
3:00-4:00pm: Visit Igongo Cultural Center for a Western Uganda cultural experience
4:00-6:00pm: Uncle Dick’s House and interactions with Aunt Diana & Dinner
Overnight: Overnight at Aunt Diana’s Home

Day 10: (22nd Feb 2018)
8:00-9:00am: Breakfast at Aunt Diana’s Home
9:00-12:00pm: Transfer to Lake Mburo National Park
12:00-6pm: Safari Game Drive-Lake Mburo National Park. Lake Mburo national Park is the smallest of Uganda’s savannah national parks and underlain by ancient Precambrian metamorphic rocks which date back more than 500 million years. It is home to 350 bird species as well as zebra, impala, eland, buffalo, oribi, Defassa waterbuck, leopard, hippo, hyena, topi and reedbuck.
6:00-7:00pm: Dinner at Acadia Cottages Lake Mburo
Overnight: Acadia Cottages Lake Mburo

Day 11 (23rd Feb 2018)
8:00-9:00am: Breakfast Acadia Cottages Lake Mburo
9:00-5:00pm: transfer to Akagera National Park
6:00-7:00pm: Dinner at Akagera Game Lodge
Overnight: Akagera Game Lodge

Day 12 (24th Feb 2018)
6:00-7:00am: Breakfast at Akagera Game Lodg
7:00-1:00pm: Safari Game Drive in Akagera National Park. Akagera National Park is central Africa’s largest protected wetland and the remaining refuge for savannah-adapted species in Rwanda. Popular for its scenic beauty. The rolling highlands, vast plains and swamp-fringed lakes of this north-eastern territory contain a rich biodiversity and are home to a number of rare species, such as the shoebill stork. With more than 12,000 large mammals and 482 bird species, this breath-taking landscape is every nature lover’s wildest dream.
1:00- 4:00pm: Meet Patrick, to learn about Edwin’s dad and life as a refugee and in the refugee camp
5:00-6:00: Transfer to Kigali
Overnight: Home Rwanda

Day 13 (25th Feb 2018)
8:00-9:00: breakfast at Home Rwanda
9:00-6:00pm: Resting, and lunch at Bourbon Coffee
Overnight: Home Rwanda

Day 14 (26th Feb 2018)
8:00-5:00pm: Transfer to Nyungwe National Park. Nyungwe National Park is an untouched natural rainforest that is filled with exciting biodiversity. Covering over 1000 square kilomtres, Nyungwe is surely one of the world’s most beautiful and pristine mountain rainforests. It’s believed to be one of Africa’s oldest forests, staying green even through the Ice Age, which explains its diversity.Home to habituated chimpanzees and 12 other primates species (including a 400-strong troop of habituated Ruwenzori Black & White Colobus), it’s also a birder’s paradise with over 300 species, including 16 endemics, and is home to 75 different species of mammal.

12:00-1:00pm: Visiting the King’s Palace in Nyanza (where the last King of Rwanda lived) and the National Museum of Rwanda in Butare.

1:00-2:00pm: Visit the National University of Rwanda where Edwin went for his Law School
Overnight: Gisakura Guest House

Day 15 (27th Feb 2018)
8:00-9:00am: Breakfast at Gisakura Guest House.
9:00-12:00pm: Canopy Walk or Nature Walk.
1:00-5:00pm: Transfer to Kigali
Overnight: Home Rwanda

Day 16 (28th Feb 2018)
8:00-9:00am: Breakfast at Home Rwanda
9:00-5:00pm: Relaxing and interaction with Edwin all day and later in 5:00-6:00pm: Dinner at the Marriot Hotel
7:00-10pm: Transfer to the airport

WOW!  I’m tired already from simply copying and pasting.  This is a trip and an opportunity of a lifetime.  I thank all the beings, here and on the other side for giving me this incredible gift.  Thanks mostly to Edwin, for putting his trust and his incredibly fascinating life story in my hands.  I promise to give this my entire being, including my heart, mind and soul.  Edwin deserves the very best work.  I will give nothing less than my absolute best effort.

 

 

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The State of Our Union

Indigo Sea Press Blog

As I consider the state of our Union, I think about the people who wish to come to the U.S. seeking the American Dream.

Recently our new President signed an executive order banning those who practice one of the oldest religions of the world, Islam, from entering the country.   The ban,  implemented this weekend,  victimizes individuals of the Islamic faith, including a small child.

Below is a photo of the five-year-old Syrian refugee child holding a small baggie in her mouth.  She’s unable to hold her baggie with her hands because her little arms and hands are bound behind her back with handcuffs.   What makes this photo more egregious is what Sean Spicer had to say at his press briefing after the weekend flurry of arrests, detentions, and people with visas turned away at their departing airports.

syrian-child

When asked about the little girl, Spicer commented that just because the child in handcuffs…

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Odd Times…

Well written blog from a first-time blogger. It’s well thought out, constructed and written. We are indeed living in odd times.

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Gratitude

Indigo Sea Press Blog

Gratitude.

A simple word that carries so much power. As the launch date for Root draws closer, as I tick down my to-do list to get ready, I can’t help but think about how grateful I am to all the folks who made releasing Dormant memorable. Of course, there are the folks I expected to be grateful to – my parents, my sister, my husband, my critique group – but it’s the surprises that come to mind today. From the woman at work who sent out an email blast on the day my book was published to the high school classmate who invited me to speak to her middle school students. The support I gotten from my old school mates almost makes me miss high school (almost…OK, not really).

I remember the sweet ladies in my mother’s book club who read Dormant and discussed it with me via Skype. I’m…

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Mother’s Day by John E. Stack

Exceptional blog worth the read and the suggestion to look into foster care.

Indigo Sea Press Blog

I casually walked toward the front of the auditorium and took an end seat about four rows from the front.  I have been attending church here for around twenty years and it was not unusual for me to be there alone.  Suzanne will often stay home if we have a baby or if one of ours is sick. I don’t sit with friends, because I have a tendency to talk and misbehave. I’m well over fifty, but for some reason I find sitting for long periods of time quite troublesome.

Anyway, we had a sick little boy at home with a double ear infection and Suzanne refused to let me stay home and take care of him, so Allie and I took off to church to celebrate Mother’s Day. So, again, here I am singing during worship time and decided to look around the auditorium. I really wasn’t surprised by what I…

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Yellowstone National Park – The Perfect Ecosystem Storm – Part I, by Maribeth Shanley

thermal activity High among the Rocky Mountain tops lies a plateau area called Yellowstone National Park.  Known for its diverse wildlife, it boasts to be the most active geothermal habitat in the world.  The Park claims more than 10,000 thermal features,  including hot springs, mud pots, and fumaroles.  Most famous are the geyser basins that provide daily entertainment for park goers as pools of heated water throw up gaseous steam and spray from the bowels of a volcanic earth.  Established in 1872, the Park was the first declared national park in the world.   For fifty years the park remained a perfect ecosystem.

Rocky Mtn wolf At the top of the food chain was an established sub-species of the gray wolf nicknamed Northern Rocky Mountain Wolves.  This wolf kept the entire ecosystem in check; that was until the late 19th and early 20th Centuries.  It was during Theodore Roosevelt’s  presidency that a practice called Predator Control Campaigns began.

Roosevelt was an avid hunter.  He also considered himself a passionate naturalist and sought to understand the balance between establishing a wildlife reserve in Yellowstone, while allowing hunting and also seeking to understand the role of the predator.  Roosevelt sought to justify hunting by marrying all the components, wildlife preservation, hunting and predator conservation into one neat world view that was ultimately designed to benefit what he called in his book, The Wilderness Hunter,  “the free, self-reliant, adventurous life.”  Unfortunately, during that period of history, no one understood the importance of a healthy ecosystem and how all the parts, from the top to bottom were interdependent.

Considered a vicious predator, by the beginning of 1926, the last of the wolves were eliminated from the Park.  A seventy-year-wolf-drought ensued.  During that ecosystem famine, the entire park suffered devastating results.  Wildlife such as beaver, predatory birds, waterfowl and land birds began to disappear.  At the same time, coyotes and herds of elk began to proliferate.

Also during the same seventy-year period the study of science flourished, and scientists began to understand the importance of ecosystems.  During the same period, true conservation groups established themselves and began putting pressure on the Federal Government to fix the ecosystem of the Park.  All concerned groups recognized that the explosion of the elk populations was causing devastation to the park lands.  Thus, in the 1970’s an effort to recover wolves to the Park was proposed.  A twenty-five-year battle began.

Canadian Wolf Finally, in 1995, thirty-one adolescent Canadian wolves were tranquilized, delivered to the Park and released.  By January of 1996, an additional thirty-five wolves were released in another section of the Park.  For scientists and conservationists, it marked a last-ditched effort to save the wolf species from becoming extinct in the wild.  The release was not without controversy, however.  The opposition to the release claimed the wolves would devastate the grazing animal populations.  In fact, just the opposite happened.

Within a few years, the rivers dramatically improved.  Summer flows improved, fish spawning increased, and vast numbers of waterfowl began to return.  Also, beaver populations began to boom.  The Park became a microcosm study of just how critical a balanced ecosystem is for the survival of all species.

elk herd Before the wolf returned, the elk grazed in the open and were without fear.  Their natural behavior was to graze on the move, never staying in one place too long.  Without their number one threat, the wolf, their new behavior radically changed the landscape, especially along river banks where they grazed everything to the ground.  Trees and shrubbery couldn’t establish themselves. Thus, the river banks became weak resulting in erosion as silt poured into the rivers.  The trampling by the herds further decimated the river banks.  Silt buildup destroyed spawning pools decreasing fish populations.

Before the removal of the wolf, everyone worked in unison with each other from the top of the food chain to the bottom.  At the same time, everything natural from the forests to the rivers to the grasslands and wetlands thrived.  Without the wolves, it all went to hell.

beaver dam With the reintroduction of the wolf, fear of the wolf caused the elk to retreat to their natural habits.  That retreat enabled trees and shrubs to recolonize river banks.  The recolonization led to rivers going back to their natural flow.  The trees brought back the beaver population.  Trees are now culled naturally by this docile rodent as they build their dams and lodges.  Those beaver dams created spawning ponds for fish which fed bears and predatory birds.  The ponds created by the dams provided food and a habitat for aquatic insects which provided food for waterfowl and fish.  Enriched soil encouraged further growth of trees which provided for more nesting sites for birds and squirrels as non-aquatic insects proliferated.  The result, everyone, and everything once again flourished.  The prosperity restored balance and established a wealth of knowledge for science.

Where the intervention of humans had a devastating outcome, this new human intervention had a lasting benefit at all levels of biodiversity for Yellowstone.

So why is Yellowstone back in the news in 2016?

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I Don’t Think Death is the End

This is utterly beautiful! Please enjoy as I have.

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A View to the Unknown – by Maribeth Shanley

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I just submitted the final edits for my new fiction novel A View to the Unknown.  It will publish this month.  My first fiction novel, Crack in the World, is currently available at amazon.com, as well barnesandnoble.com, booksamillion.com and indigoseapress.com.  A View to the Unknown will be available at the same venues.  I will let you know when it is in publication.  I hope you read both.   If you do read either or both, please take the time to post a review.  Reviews are critical to exposure, especially on Amazon.  In the meantime, I am sharing the Acknowledgements for A View to the Unknown.  I hope it inspires you to pick up a copy.

****

“When facing fear, walk through it.”
(Author Unknown)

As I put to bed my novel, A View to the Unknown, I am once again reminded of the poet Mary Oliver, who put words to the theme I have lived by my entire life:

Someone I once loved gave me a box full of darkness.
It took me years to learn this too was a gift.

Any adult who suffered molestation knows the truth of these words, especially if they too found the will and courage to embrace their darkness while turning it into strength.

To all children and adults who still suffer the darkness that once ripped out your heart and devoured your soul, I hope I can inspire you to find the will and courage to transform your pain into power.  It’s the best revenge ever!

****

Although A View to the Unknown is the sequel to my first novel, Crack in the World, I wrote it to stand on its own.  I do hope you read both. However, it’s not at all necessary to read Crack in the World first.

Through my characters, I was able to view their lives, challenges, pain and grief with the eyes of an observer.  The result:  I feel I now have a crystal clear understanding of what I have experienced in my life and the real consequences of that experience.

I am all too familiar with the conscious torment and over time, I came to understand the deep-seated unconscious pain as well.  It’s taken me my entire life to comprehend what happened to me.  Now, I am finally able to fold neatly that experience and all its agony and gently tuck it into the archives of my soul.

What my father willingly did to me yet failed to take responsibility for, took its toll.  Through sheer grit and determination, I embraced what he did as I draped myself in its lessons.  I emerged from the cave and hugged the warmth and kindness of the sunlight by making that sunlight my own.

As did Emily, I never once took my eye off that sunlight.  I never wavered from seeking true happiness, so that, once I recognized that joyfulness, as did she, I pulled it close to my heart and cherished it for what it was…Freedom to be Me.

Molestation is a devastating experience for any child especially when the pedophile is someone that child knows and trusts, and, in my case, loved.  By keeping my eye on the sunlight, I was able to grow in ways that even as I wrote the words, I marveled at my growth and my deep-seated compassion.

I wish for and hope that all children who have felt the violation in the same horrendous manner may come to know the peace I have come to know.  So, I say to you…KNOW that what happened to you is NOT who you are.  NEVER allow it to define you.  You and life are much larger, and you are far more capable than settling for less.

Embrace the light and dance in the love and kindness of the innocence someone attempted to steal from you.  In the end, if you do this, you will become the person who wins.  Unlike your assailant, who threw his or her life away, you refuse to throw away yours.  Stand tall and love the person you wish to become.  Then…become that person you love.

****

Thanks to Indigo Sea Press and especially Mike Simpson, who continues to support my endeavors and encourages my writing.  You’ve given me the gift of using my voice to speak my mind.

Thank you to my wonderful husband of 45 years, Bob.  Thank you for sharing your love and giving me the gift of absolute love so that, when it came time for Emily and Sean to share their final Valentine cards, I was able to go to my wooden chest and pull out two of the most wonderful cards we’ve shared over the years.  Bob, you are everything a woman desires then cherishes as she travels through life.  You are my light.

To my sister, Gail, who, from the beginning, has stayed by my side.  You recognized and encouraged my growth.  You have been unwavering with support for my writing.  You are my best fan, and I am yours.  I love and cherish you with all my being.

To my sister, Colleen, who has never wavered from my side.  You stood by me in the darkest hours of my pain.  You walked away from our father when he wrote and mailed his last cruel letter to me.  You have been by my side the entire way.  I love you deeply.

To my best friend, Brenda, who cheered me on.  Thank you for recognizing my talent and then encouraging me to write my novels.  Thank you for being the first to call both a romantic story of love, courage and triumph.  I love you like a sister, Bren.

To everyone who is reading this, I hope you enjoy reading A View to the Unknown as much as I enjoyed writing it.  If it gives you inspiration, even better.

I am finally able to close the chapter on that part of my life.  Now I can bask in its triumph and flourish with the continued growth it inspires.

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ELECTION YEAR – One Person’s Struggle with Heart and Mind

They say a person should follow their heart.  As a natural born idealist, my heart tugs at my mind. My heart has good intentions.  It knows what it wants.  My mind warns me that, at least in some cases, the heart has a tendency to ignore reality.

I have been an idealist for a very long time.  My favorite song is John Lennon’s Imagine.  I can imagine; and, more, I want to imagine.  However, I see caution signs all around me.  The biggest sign is the one that says humans are not even close to the idealism of a world imagined by John’s poignant lyrics.

I grew up in a family that was not only run by a militarist dictator but one who was also a criminal.  He ruled over his realm with an iron fist and demanded everyone acquiesce to his commands.  The partner in his parenting relationship was a weak individual who would rather hide her eyes than stand up for what was right.  She had her mind and idealisms yet it was easier to do as she was told and allow her dictator spouse to rule with impunity, regardless of the outcome.  Having been the one subject in his realm who experienced all his authoritarianism, including his secretive propensity for criminal behavior, I retreated into my mind.  That is where I began to listen and lean to the left of politics.

When I left home and moved to Washington, D.C. in 1970, it was an easy choice for me to embrace the anti-war movement, feminism and every single anti-establishment sentiment that rippled through the environment of that movement.  Later and as a liberal arts college student in the midst of an institution that taught idealism, I flirted with socialism.  At one point I even joined a young socialist group.  It was there, at the meetings, that my idealism got its first taste of reality.

The group’s ideology was one that tugged at my heart; but, the political structure of that ideology forced me, for the first time, to question the reality of that ideology.  The structure dictated that I behave according to the group thinking.  I was back where I began under the roof of a dictator who wished to own both my soul and body.  So, one evening, as we all sat around a huge table, I spoke my mind.  I questioned the political structure of the group and asked why I should allow them to tell me how to live, but more, how to think.  I never returned to that group, but went my way knowing that I needed to gather more information before I committed to any one humanly orchestrated ideology.

Election year, 2016, finds me back at the crossroads of ideology vs. reality.  There is no doubt that my heart and mind still exist on the side called liberalism.  I am an ardent liberal.  However, my 68 years of real world experience cautions me to weigh all the information before I commit to who I will cast my vote for now and in November.  There’s one more element involved.  One of the two opposing candidates is a woman.  I have never given up my feminist affinities.  I know that part of me is solid because it is always weighing all the information.  My father ensured that part of me would stand vigilant at all times.  Nevertheless, there is still the matter of my heart.

It would be so easy for me to feel the bern.  John Lennon’s Imagine and Simon and Garfunkel’s Looking for “America” pulls me to that side of the spectrum.  I want to imagine.  I want to believe.  I want to follow my heart.  Alas, my mind and its wealth of learned knowledge won’t allow me to slip silently into the slumber of the song the siren sings.  I know too much.

I am 68 years old.  I am a recipient of Medicare.  Before making the decision of how I wanted to have my Medicare administered, I joined an organization and sold Medicare to people who were first time recipients and those who were existing recipients, but had never been exposed to the different insurance choices within the system called Medicare.  I demanded of myself to know my choices.

Medicare in its purest form is not all it’s cracked up to be.  Medicare in its purest form means a recipient is subject to pay 20% of all medical costs.  At first blush, that doesn’t sound all that foreboding.  However, when one weighs the medical institution that currently exists in the U.S., for a typical human recipient, financially, Medicare is a prohibitive system.

Imagine the typical full-blown hospital bill for one hospital stay.  Such a bill includes copious fees for, e.g., doctors, tests, and procedures.  They also include facility usage fees which include those $100 Kleenex boxes.  Fact:  given the evolved and complicated medical institution, based on one hospital stay, a person on straight Medicare could easily go bankrupt.  It would take much more than eight years to rein in that system, and it wouldn’t go quietly.  The party on the right, lobbyists, the drug companies, doctors, et. al would fight tooth and toenail for the status quo.

I recall the McDonald’s guy, Morgan Spurlock, currently with CNN, did an investigation on the cost of getting a colonoscopy in the U.S.   During his one-hour report, he broke down the history of our medical institution which is the elephant in the room.  It’s big, complicated to the point of incoherence, and has one goal in mind.  Profit.  Through hours of research, Morgan could never lock down a cost for the procedure.  What he did discover was that in the U.S, without insurance, this procedure would be too costly.  Instead, he opted to go to Thailand for a vacation/procedure holiday which cost him less than what the procedure less the vacation would have cost him in the U.S.  In other words; the medical institution has had years to become what it has become.  One man named Sanders is not going to have the time to rein in that system in four or even eight years.  Bernie Sander’s call for 100% Medicare for everyone is a pipe dream.  The siren is singing a myth.

Medicare for everyone?  I sure as hell don’t want to be put on pure Medicare.  Having had dual knee replacement surgery, I would have already experienced bankruptcy at the hands of the medical institution.  With a Medicare Advantage plan, I had to know all my plan co-pays to monitor the bills mailed to my home by the sub-contracted medical industry called Medical Billing.  If I didn’t know my plan co-pays, I would have wound up paying, at least, five times what my co-pays were.  In reality, the medical system is corrupt.  It complicates its corruption with layers of red tape, hidden information and multiple layers of sub-contractors.  The medical institution is determined to keep the system too difficult to understand.  Had I not known my plan, I would never have made the phone calls I did to verify that the numerous bills that found their way into my mailbox were bogus.  I may have unwittingly paid them.

Okay, you say, there are institutions in place that keep the cost of Medicare down.  Yes, there are, but, guess what?  They are all run by another institution called the insurance industry.  Medicare Advantage insurance companies are the institutions that, just as all medical insurance companies do now, negotiate with the medical profession to keep medical costs in check.  Because I knew my co-pays,  my procedure was well within my budget.  However, reality tells me that most people will not know their co-pays and will fall victim to the crooked medical institution that sneaks bills into the mail that are not owed.  I know this because I sold Medicare Advantage to Medicare recipients, existing recipients.  Most recipients have no clue what their co-pays are.  Thus, they fall victim to medical billers who slip in bills that tell the recipient he/she owes the difference between retail and the negotiated fees for a procedure.  Did I just lose you?  The point, the Medicare system is so complicated that to think of making it available to the masses is pie in the sky.  It will take more than two terms of bern to create a system that could become that ideal system.  Mr. Sanders would have to become a permanent president to make that happen and, the other party would have to cease to exist.  It just isn’t realistic.  It’s the song Imagine in spades.

Yes, there’s another alternative for keeping down cost called Medicare Supplements or Medigap.  Having sold it as well, unless a person was chronically ill, I typically steered people away from it.  For a healthy person like myself, it’s a waste of money.  Where Medicare Advantage is a pay-as-you-use insurance plan, a Medicare Supplement plan is like car insurance.  You pay a high premium every single month whether you use it or not.  Plus, with every birthday, the cost creeps up until the premium becomes prohibitive.

One more thing to consider.  A single payer Medicare type system for everyone means for everyone.  That includes the one-tenth of 1% of the population who are billionaires.  The Donald Trumps of the world would also become beneficiaries of a Medicare system called Bern.

Then there’s the promise of free college tuition for everyone.  Think about that institution and its red tape and hidden fees, etc.  Eight years of one presidency isn’t going to be able to make a single dent in that system.  Plus, even if the presidency became a forever one, 100% free tuition for everyone means the children of the one-tenth of 1% billionaires would also become beneficiaries.  That doesn’t even sound like pie in the sky to me.  It sounds like pie in the face of the 99.9% of non-billionaires.

Well, here I am back at the beginning of my quandary.  Should I follow my natural born idealistic heart and allow myself to feel the bern or do I listen to my pragmatic years of experience in the real world?

I don’t know about you, but I chose to face reality.  The U.S. is not ready for a Bernie Sanders.  There’s a lot of prep work to do before the U.S. can begin to work toward his dream.  There are institutions that must be reined in, some that must be created and some that must be eliminated.  There’re lots to do.  The U.S. is not ready for Mr. Sander’s revolution.  It is pie in the sky and a disaster waiting to happen.

I know who I’m casting my vote for in a few months and in November.  I’m voting for the woman who is still fighting to break through that damned ceiling, the one who has the real experience and fortitude to take on all the big boys, domestic and foreign, the one who will build on all the good that has come about over the last eight years.  I’m voting for the battle worn lady named Hillary Clinton.  She will get us closer to the bern than the Bernie will.

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2016: the year of increased and improved tourism in and for UGANDA, by UGANDANS

Beautiful story about Uganda and the heart of the Ugandan people. I so look forward to visiting Rwanda and Uganda.

scare-a-hero

IMG_4515FOR a veteran, if I may use the word, of the National Parks with many visits going back to the difficult days when the groups driving through the animal trails very rarely consisted of indigenous Ugandans, this Christmas was both a pleasant and dismaying eye opener.
My Christmas in the Park, managed by www.shiyaya.travel crowned my year of tourism landmarks and promised me that 2016 would be even bigger for Uganda’s tourism sector, especially local tourism (you, me and ours being tourists) – which means that we have a lot more work to do.
The vast pleasantness of my trip lay in seeing so many Ugandans in the Parks, but ironically that also dismayed me somewhat at a few turns and corners – literally, when the car accidents occurred.
On one morning, three accidents took place within a radius of a couple of kilometres, and all appeared to be caused…

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