Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Angola's Boy Scouts - "Always Alert"

Luanda - At least 20,000 Boy Scouts are registered in Angolan religious entities and they have been working everyday towards to the Angolan community's well-being.

These remarks were uttered recently by the head of the Angolan National Scouting Movement, António Silvestre Sardinha, when welcoming 2.000 delegates from 21 African countries to attend the 15th African conference on scouting in Angola's capital Luanda,  from June 7-9.  The event was attended by high-ranked figures of scounting, namely the African regional director Frederic Kama-Kama, secretary-general of scouting movement, Luc Panissod and the chairman of the world scouting committee, Simon Rhee.

The 15th African Conference on Scouting in Luanda was focused on the theme “Scouting, a vehicle for Africa’s development”, and debated the implementation of policies and guidelines defined in the World Conference for National Associations of Scouting. The conference also debated the goals and programmes for the coming mandate, as well as training actions under the programme of the Angolan government. 

Angolan Scouting was widespread in colonial years, working closely with Portugal's Catholic Corpo National de Escutas.  When Angola gained its independence in 1975 and came under Marxist rule, Scouting was banned by that government.  Scouting was officially started again in February 1991.  In 1994, the inter-religious Associação National de Escuteiros and the Catholic Associação de Escuteiros Católicas de Angola merged forming the AEA.  Scouting includes an inter-religious pastoral commission which brings together the main religions represented by the members of the Scout Association. 

Scouting in Angola enjoys special support from the Catholic Church and some groups are closely linked to the church, and excellent relations exist with UN agencies. Together with UNICEF, Scouting has been in the forefront of the campaign for children's immunization against polio. Scouting activities focus on improving the quality of life in local communities. These include humanitarian assistance to those who have fled armed conflict, working with UNICEF on Oral Rehydration Therapy programs, and an anti-polio campaign led by the Ministry of Health. (ANGOP, Google)

Monday, June 4, 2012

African Folklore: Why Elephant Has a Trunk

(A traditional tale common to several tribal groups in southern Africa)  In the beginning of time, the Creator brought forth all the animals of the bush and birds and insects of the air from the roots of a huge baobab tree. Most of the creatures look the same as they did then, but some have changed in appearance sine the time of creation.

One such animal is Elephant, who originally did not possess a trunk but a pig-like snout instead.  Feeding was a constant problem for such a large, thick-set animal and it seemed that Elephant had to ear non-stop morning noon and night to satisfy the needs of his enormous body.  Drinking was even more complicated as Elephant had to kneel at the water hole and gulp down great mouthfuls of water to quench his thirst. Both eating and drinking were laborious and time-consuming.

One day a group of elephants trekked a long way from their feeding grounds to a distant water hole; the long dry season had dried up most of the smaller pans and springs.  This water hole was the home of a hug he, old crocodile who had gone without food for a long time and was feeling particularly hungry on that day.

When Crocodile saw the herd approaching, he slipped quietly from the sandbank, where he had been sunning himself, into the murky water.  Swimming slowly along, with just his eyes and nostrils showing above the surface, Crocodile cruised over to where he knew the elephants would drink, without making a ripple on the pool's smooth surface.  Not even the inquisitive vervet monkey, feeding high in the nearby trees, saw him swim to where he lay in ambush.

The elephants made their way down the well-trodden game trail to the sand beach.  There they laboriously sank to their knees and started to gulp down the refreshing water.  Crocodile saw his opportunity, and with a huge splash he lunged with terrifying speed at the young bull elephant drinking closest to him.