Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Gabon tour operator pulls plug

(The following news has significance for us in that, the eco-tourism company mentioned was considering sponsorship of our program as well as the possibility of sharing an aircraft- a Pilatus Porter. Refer to my previous posting to see picture and read more).

Gabon tour operator pulls plug on Africa's Eden after aviation row

Will this mean an end to president's eco-tourism ambitions, asks Daniel Howden

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

As an untouched West African paradise where hippos play in the Atlantic surf and buffaloes and elephants parade on the beach, little-visited Gabon had been marked out as a rising eco-tourism star. But foreign visitors may have to leave Africa's last Eden after the country's largest tour operator said it was abandoning its business there following a simmering row with authorities in the oil-rich nation.

Africa's Eden, the main operator in Gabon's showpiece Loango National Park, said that an ongoing dispute with the country's civil aviation authorities had forced it to pull out, closing the door on what it claims has been a €15m investment.

The acrimonious departure marks a sour end to initial efforts to rebrand the country as "Green Gabon". The former French colony has been trying to position itself as West Africa's answer to Costa Rica since taking the decision to allocate more than one tenth of its land to national parks in 2002.

Previously the sparsely populated equatorial country had been best known as a major oil producer, with President Omar Bongo – who ruled Gabon for 40 years until his death last year – connected with various alleged financial scandals involving French oil giant Elf. "Gabon without France is like a car with no driver. France without Gabon is like a car with no fuel," he once said.

The former French air force lieutenant was regularly criticised for flouting human rights and amassing a huge fortune in an impoverished nation. And the family's spectacular wealth was recently the subject of an embarrassing corruption probe by a French magistrate.

However, Mr Bongo attracted rare international praise eight years ago with his decision to gazette 11 per cent of the country for preservation in 13 national parks.

With some 70 per cent of forest cover and little in the way of infrastructure, the strategy depended on attracting comparatively small numbers of high-end visitors who could be flown to newly created lodges and camps inside the parks.

Evidence of progress in putting Gabon on the map came when Loango National Park was named in 2008 by the British Guild of Travel Writers as "best new overseas destination".

The income from tourism was then supposed to pay for the parks in a "cash for conservation" trade.

Gabon's promotion as one of the world's last true Edens – endorsed by several major conservation groups – was meant to be the beginning of an eco-tourism boom for the oil-dependent economies of West Africa.

Since taking over from his father, the country's new President Ali Ben Bongo has restated his commitment to developing tourism and insisted he believes in "Green Gabon". Now the falling out with the country's biggest tourism investor, Rombout Swanborn – the Dutch founder and CEO of Africa's Eden –threatens to unravel this strategy.

Mr Swanborn, who spent part of his childhood in Gabon and made his fortune in the oil industry, said he would be taking legal action to claw back some of his firm's losses on what had been billed as one of the world's most exciting eco-ventures. A spokesperson for the firm, Jacqueline van den Broek, said that Africa's Eden had stopped marketing the destination and would be closing up its exclusive Loango Lodge – and laying off 125 employees – when the current batch of visitors leave before the end of August.

She said that government talk of creating an industry had been let down by a lack of real effort on the ground: "After 10 years we're the only high end, professional operation in Gabon and we're being pushed out."

The final straw for the venture came after a year-long dispute with Gabon's much-maligned civil aviation authority. All Gabonese airlines have been blacklisted by the EU since 2008 after failing to meet 93 per cent of safety and operational requirements and the tour operator has its own in-house airline, SCD. But the authorities have refused to renew the operating licences. "We've been pushed to this stage quite a number of times but our patience has run out," said van den Broek.

Sebastiaan Verhage, who works in Gabon with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) said the pull-out would be a blow for eco-tourism in the country but not necessarily a fatal one.

"Tourism is very important for Gabon and Africa's Eden are very important for tourism," he said by telephone from the capital, Libreville.

"They are the ones who got film stars and rich people to come here and made Gabon a bit more famous." But another five smaller operators are still in business, he added, and the southern sector of Loango park was still accessible even if the spectacular coastal area to the north was harder now to reach.

"This place is not going to become Costa Rica in the next few years. There are no roads, no hotels, no infrastructure for that," he said. "A real tourism boom could take 20 years or more."

Green Gabon?

* Former President Omar Bongo designated a staggering 11 per cent of Gabon's land mass a National Park – only Costa Rica has a higher proportion of the country given over to conservation.

* Established in September 2002, Loango is the jewel in the crown of the 13 parks. Situated between the Nkomi and Ndogo lagoons, forests, savannahs, wetlands and ocean all come together within its 380,000 acres. With more than 60 miles of uninhabited shoreline, it is widely regarded as one of Africa's last great coastal wildernesses.

* According to the Wildlife Conservation Society, up to 60,000 forest elephants inhabit the vast forests of Gabon. In Loango they can be spotted wandering the white sand beaches during the rainy season, which lasts from October to April.

* Gabon's beaches are home to the world's largest population of leatherback turtles, with a recent study estimating there are 47,000 females alone.

* After South Africa, the world's biggest concentration and variety (at least 14 at the last count) of whales and dolphins can be found off the Loango coast. Humpback whales head to Gabonese waters during their winter breeding season from June to September.

* Other species to spot include red river hogs, slender-snouted crocodiles, western lowland gorillas, manatees and a huge array of birds.

* Loango is also home to the legendary "surfing hippos". These were memorably captured on film frolicking in the warm equatorial waters of the Atlantic Ocean by National Geographic photographer Michael Nichols.

"The hippos feed all night and then came back surfing up the coast to sleep in the lagoon all day so I had to be there very early, ready to take pictures as they arrived," he explained. "That meant setting up camp at least 45 minutes away so as not to disturb them. I couldn't even use a flashlight because they might have seen it."

Nichols spent five months camping in the park with his family, as he documented the wildlife, much of which is unaccustomed to seeing humans because there are very few dwellings within the park. "It was a bit like the Beverly Hillbillies going to live on the beach in Africa," he said.

Alex Kiprotich

Monday, July 26, 2010

Today's Meetings... and more.

Today's meetings began at 9am... well, almost.

Last week, I texted our programs' friend in the civil aviation department, asking for a meeting. He texted back and we settled on 9am at his office, for this morning. Knowing that a lot can happen over a weekend, I sent him a text at 8am to verify. Getting no response, I made my way to his office, wondering what I would find.

The civil aviation office has recently moved from the 2nd floor of the terminal building at the international airport to a building at the airport formerly used by Air Gabon- a now defunct airline. The renovated building is now in great shape. Every office is very clean, newly painted, new furniture (from Italy), and, of course, air conditioned. Arriving at the front door, I am now greeted by a security detail, whereas, in the previous offices, I could casually walk down the halls of their floor and into the office of my friend. Well, they've put an end to that. It's tight security throughout. Lucky for me, there were a couple of ladies, that knew me, approaching the front door at the same time myself. They vouched for me and I was in the front door to the second level of security- the receptionist behind the glass.

I told the receptionist that I had a 9am with my friend and then she said something I couldn't understand. She must have said something like "Oh yeah? You and everyone else" because, at that moment, I caught a glimpse of my friend further back in an adjacent room to the receptionist, making copies and surrounded by 3 or 4 others. As he looked up, I gave him a wave and his response was a "oh yeah, that's right, I'm supposed to meet with you today." So, needless to say, I had a bit of a wait.

After some opening chit-chat, we got down to business. Here's what we discussed:

> Hangar: We have a hangar for our airplane, but the problem is this... it's at the wrong airport. In fact, it's not even at an airport anymore. It's at what used to be the place where the Bongolo Hospital had previously thought would be the base for the aviation program. However, having no aviation activity for many years, the surrounding village moved in. Now, there are houses up and down the airstrip (now a road) with power lines crossing here and there. So, our question is this- If we can take down the hangar, can the airport give us a small piece of property to put it up at the international airport? Our friend bounced this to ADL- Aeroport De Libreville. He gave me the name of the contact I would need to take this up with and the location of his office. I would do this next.

> Fill-in Airplane: I discussed the two ideas we had for a backup airplanes. He told me to forget about the Pilatus Porter, sighting some complexities there. Frankly, that helped to clarify things for us. I had loved the idea of logging some time in the Porter, but getting familiarized with it and then getting the sign off, here in Gabon, was proving to be a complicated and expensive ordeal. So... I'm hoping that, by the end of this week, we can have a meeting with the owner of the Beechcraft Baron and firm up the details of the arrangement.

> AvGas Availability: Apparently, in east part of the country, at a sugar plantation, there is a small fleet of Pipers that do aerial spraying of pesticides and the such. I asked our friend if he had a contact for this operation and if he knew where they were getting their AvGas. He said he didn't know, but that he would look into it for m
e. Our goal is that, when our aircraft comes back from repairs, we have a better source for cheaper fuel.

> Airstrip Certification: Once a year, we have to fork over funds to re-open the runway at the Bongolo Hospital. This is an expensive endeavor. We have to pay for an inspector or two to travel to the airstrip, make the inspection, meals, and lodging. Then, the inspector makes his report and then documents the airport as open. You would think that's the end of it. Nope. Now you must pay a fee for that document to be processed. You get a copy and then they send the document down the pipeline so that everyone knows your airport is fair game for takeoffs and landings. So, my question for our friend was to see if anyone would be offended if we asked for a "discount" for some of the fees involved. Answer? He passed on this one. He suggested that I talk to a colleague of his.

There was some other stuff, but, you get the gist (is "gist" a word?).

After the meeting, my friend walked me out to the parking lot. He's never done that before. Perhaps a new security procedure? Hmmm. Well, he did meet a friend in the parking lot, so there's that.

Since I was at the airport already and feeling lucky, I took a walk over to the t
erminal building and was fortunate enough to find the right people to talk about finding room to erect our hangar. They said that the problem is one of land- there may not be anywhere to put a hangar. However, he gave me an idea to make my proposal more palatable to "ADL" (Aeroport De Libreville). He suggests that we say that our hangar will be available for others to use as well, that ADL may work hard to find us space. So, we're gonna give this "community hangar" thing some thought. Truth is- it's really too small for most aircraft to use, so, even if others wanted to use it, their aircraft wouldn't fit. Hmmm...

After this meeting, my time at the airport was done. I had a real desire to grab a cafe-au-lait at the Aero Club, but... I should probably find a place where I can get one for less than 3 bucks. So, that's a slice of a couple of meetings in the life of a central african bush pilot.

When you fall off an elephant...

As many of you know, on March 29th of this year, a traumatic event occurred. The one and only airplane that serves the Bongolo Hospital and that is solely set aside to bless the people of Gabon, the airplane that took years of fund raising and decades of prayer, the one aircraft that my family and I looked upon as critical to our calling to Gabon, this airplane lost power during flight, performed an emergency landing (by yours truly & my friend, Egmont), and incurred tens of thousands of dollars of damage.

People have great sayings about the feeling that times like these engender... "It took the wind out of my sails"; "It felt like a sucker punch"; etc. etc. I have to admit that it really felt like all that and more. It was really hard to stop questioning God on what was going on.. then and now. There are plenty of comebacks to all the questions... "we'll know what it was all about in time"... "when we do new things for the Lord, there is always pushback"... and more. And, it's all true. We will know in time what this is all about. There is an enemy that seeks to keep God's people and God's work from succeeding.

Now, coming back from a 3 and 1/2 month furlough in the States, it
feels an awful lot like we're "climbing back into the saddle." We were "bucked off", but we're ready to get back and make it happen.

"The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again."

Proverbs 24:16

So, with Gene Autry providing the theme music, we're marching on.

Since returning, here are some of the things we've been up to:

> Reconnecting with friends: We've spent time with our Gabonese friends as well as some of the expat community.

> Mobile Medical Clinic: Joe and Sam were able to head out for a day with the mobile medical clinic that is run by the national Gabonese Alliance churches. I (Steve) got to stay home and play Dr. Dad with Megan and Alace who had taken on some cold and flu symptoms.

> Civil Aviation Meetings: I'm getting the ball rolling on a few items with our aviation ministry. One, in particular, is with the construction of a hangar at the Libreville Int'l airport. Our hope is to move an already existing hangar, which our team owns, to the international airport. We are looking for favor from the airport authority to grant us room for the structure.

> Guest House Projects: Thanks especially to the Hmong district Alliance Women for their giving to upgrades and repairs at the guest house in Libreville that Alace directs. We have moved forward in the work of a rec room as well as recovering old furniture with new fabric. Our hope is to "class the place up a little" and make it a place where everyone can rest and relax from their journeys.

> Prep for boarding school: Joe and Meg are less than a week away from heading out to boarding school in Cameroon. There are some last minute details to take care of before the trip. We really covet your prayers to make sure that everything is in place and that we're set for the journey- documents / visa's / car maintenance / etc.

> AIRPLANE REPAIRS!!! Last, but not least, we are making progress in this area. We have confirmed the dates for the team of 3 mechanics from MMS Aviation- arrival Aug. 24th; departure Sep. 1. Please pray that all the logistics come together for things that need to be in place prior to their arrival.

"And we know that, in all things,
God works for the good of those who love Him,
who have been called according to His purpose."

Romans 8:28

Sunday, July 25, 2010

All Things in Moderation?

Alace and I have been blessed with many great things in our life, but we really treasure 3 amazing gifts above all other earthly ones.

The first gift came on December 21st of 1994 in a hospital in Nacogdoches, Texas. The cool thing about the gift was that we got to give it a name. We decided on Joseph Carter.

The second gift came on August 8th, 1996 in Longview, Texas. We called this one Megan Catherine.

Leading us to the third gi
ft on August 25th, 1998 in York, Pennsylvania- Samuel Caedmon.

Parenting these three kids has been such an honor. As any parent
knows, as much as you seem to be teaching your kids, they seem to teach right back to you.

There's many dynamics in taking kids to live outside the country that you yourself called "home". In fact, when a child spends a good amount of his or her formative years outside of the country that their parent called "home", the children earn the title "third culture kid" (TCK). So... our kids are going through some of that. They are TCK's. There have been books written on the dynamics... Alace has read some of them... I'm sure they're insightful.

So, when our family went "home" to the states, we were returning to a place wh
ere the number of choices and diversions skyrockets. In Africa, diversions, for our family, were limited to about 3 main selections: "screen time" (tv/internet/dvd/Wii/etc.), card games, and the beach. There were other things, but those were the main ones. Contrast that to the other side of the ocean. In the states, the number of choices is exponential. It wasn't until later in our time back in the US that Alace and I bothered to chat about the challenges that this might pose on our family. Here's a "for instance"...

For instance, when our kids asked for permission to go here or there, or to buy this or that, there's an interesting thing that would happen in my brain. I would think, in that moment, "you know... for the last 2 or 3 years my children haven't been able to even consider this t
hing, so why not?" And, in that moment, I have to be honest with you... I had guilt and, on some level, that guilt played a part in my decision. I would often say "yes" to such appeals to purchase this or that (within limits, of course) or to go here or there. It took me a while to recognize this... or, should I say, acknowledge it and discuss it with Alace.

I'm happy to say that we did, in the end, recognize, acknowledge, and discuss this phenomenon. We had to fess up to the fact that we also allowed this thinking to creep into our own choices. When faced with a Dairy Queen or Dunkin Donuts along our path, there were those moments of internal dialogue... "you know... I'm on a limited timeline here in the states... you know... I really should load up on things that I could otherwise not get when I'm away... you know... I really do deserve it..." and so on. Sadly, I must admit to returning to Africa with my belt on the next notch larger.

Another line of justification goes like this... "Hey- I'm not gonna be back in the states for a few more years. I better load up on this or that or update all my technology, etc." That's a good one. I have "a friend" who got bit by that one this past visit to the states. Is it wrong to think that? No, of course it's good to make sure you have the right tools for the work that you're called to- no question. However, there is a limit, right? Do I need the iPad? Do I need the iPhone? Another good line is, "Hey- I'm an 'early adopter'... it's just in my blood to get the 'latest and greatest' stuff!"

So, here's the rub... If every trip to the states (or anywhere that you have more choices) is another occasion for us to give into our "guilt" or my "justification" for indulgence, we open ourselves up for over indulgence. Not only that, but when you add in the fact that your children are part of the equation, you run the risk of planting unhealthy ideas about what returning to the US is all about.

How much is too much? Where's the line? Hmm... good question. Certainly, there are things that are unquestionably good to take advantage of when you can find them in the world- better healthcare, drinking water, connection to a faith community, clean places to live, safer transportation, etc. However, then we come to the "not-so-much-needed" stuff of life, so to speak. Some places, like the US, are filled with more than others. However, most anywhere you go, there are opportunities for over-indulgence. The question becomes, "How much is enough?"

If you happen to hold the "purse" in your family, surely you've had this moment... someone approaches you with the request for cash to go get something that they "NEED". Then ensues the chat about what is truly a "need" verses a "want", roll
ing of eyes, personal insults, charges of hypocrisy, etc. It can get messy.

Well, if you've ever met our kids, you know that we are blessed with really balanced children. I'm not in fear of them going "overboard" into a lifestyle of over indulgence. Alace and I are parents trying to do the right thing and give our kids a healthy worldview. When it comes to the "stuff" of this world, we simply tell our kids, "Listen, we're not on this world for long. God has given us stuff to borrow and take care of for the time being- stuff that is durable and consumable. Also included are our minds and bodies. We should be taking care of all these things in such a way that gives evidence that we are simply 'stewards' for a time, and we're grateful for such a gift."

So, over-indulgence puts the focus on the "stuff" and not the ONE who blessed us with the stuff. Over-indulgence also takes from any testimony to others that we are being wise stewards of these God-given blessings.

Luke, the physician and friend of the apostle Paul, wrote in his Gospel, "From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked." Here is a call to good stewardship... the responsibility of having "stuff".

How much is enough? How about this question... "Who" is enough? Jesus is enough. He is sufficient, not any thing in this world. The Creator God, our Heavenly Father, was more then generous when he gave us His only Son, Jesus (John 3:16 - Merry Christmas!) With this perspective, I believe we're free to live a life that is "wealthy" or "poor" or anywhere in between in the eyes of our world. We realize that none of it belongs to us. It's only by God's grace that we have any of it.

Many people misquote the 1st century Roman writer, Petronius saying, "All things in moderation", however, what he really said was "Moderation in all things, including moderation". I'm not sure that misquoting him has much to do with this, but, suffice it to say, that quotes like this and others like "Do you own your stuff, or does your stuff own you?" become hollow- they miss the point that we're in a dream world if we think we own any of it to begin with.

So, how much is too much when heading to a "land of plenty"??? That's probably not the right question. A better question is, "What is capturing my heart? ... the stuff? ... or the ONE who has blessed us with it?"

Now, in case you've developed the idea that I'm a kill-joy, let me add this...

I have a friend, JD, who works in a West African country. He and his family went for an extended visit to the states and he told his young children, "when ever you see a Dairy Queen and wanna stop, just say so." That must have been fun... I was thinking at the time, "JD, you can take me on a trip to the states anytime you'd like!"

Has our God been generous with us? Yes! To an unimaginable degree! Can I, as a father, risk being overly generous to my kids from time to time? Yeah... I think that'd be a great risk to take.

(ps. Seriously, if you have questions/concerns about over-indulging your kids, there are a lot of resources out there. Don't believe me? Check out "")

Monday, July 19, 2010

We're Back in lovely Gabon!

Hey Everyone!
We're back home in Gabon, safe and sound. No problems with any flights and all 13 checked bags got through!
We're unpacking and reconnecting with friends. We should have an email update to our supporters in the next day or two, so be on the look out for that.
Thanks for your prayers,
Steve and the gang

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Did We Miss You?


We tried to make it to everywhere possible to see everyone possible... but, alas... we may have missed a couple of you.

Now, through the marvels of the "internets", you can listen to one of our presentations (@ State College Alliance Church on June 6, 2010).


Thursday, July 1, 2010

Airplane Update- CHANGES!!!

At any moment now, I will get an email confirmation that our insurance company has wired the funds to our account and we can then wire funds to our friends at MMS Aviation so that they can get their crew's airfare, fly to Gabon, and containerize our aircraft for return to the US (that was an awfully long sentence). Please pray that this happens expeditiously.

At the same time, we are working to pursue options for aircraft to fill-in. As previously stated in previous blogs, we have 2 candidates- a Cessna 206 and a Beechcraft Baron. Below we have a couple updates on the situation...
CESSNA 206 UPDATE: (like the one pictured)
As you can see, the Cessna 206 is very much like our Cessna 207- just a little shorter. 6 seats and still has the double doors to get the stretcher in. UPDATE... The owner of the C206 has indicated that they want
to SELL the aircraft (not rent) by September. Since we don't have the resources to purchase the aircraft at this time ($118,000), we are in a little bit of a pickle. Please pray with us!

Here is a picture of a Pilatus Porter working for JAARS in Indonesia. It is a turbo-prop (burns jet fuel) aircraft that typically seats 8. In Gabon, there is just such an aircraft working for a private company. I am currently dialoguing with them on how we might be able to use this aircraft as it sits idle quite often.

Please pray for all these things. As you might suspect, with any option comes a pile of paperwork and hoops to jump through. But... all things are possible!

More on this later...

... This is one of those "zen" stories. I think we can give credit to Eugene Morgan. I don't endorse him or Buddhism, I only post this because I plan on referring to it at another time, in another blog... perhaps... Leave your comments if you'd like. It's a familiar story for most, I think.

Fortunate or Unfortunate ...

There once lived a farmer. He lived on a farm with his wife, his son and one horse that the family had raised from a colt. The family planned to enter the horse in the annual country fair and hoped it would win prizes that could lead to breeding opportunities. This would ensure a nice future income for the farmer and his family.

The night before the fair, a violent storm swept over the countryside. When the farmer and his family awoke early the next morning, they found that the fences had been blown down. Their prize stallion was nowhere to be found. The farmer’s wife was beside herself with despair. The neighbors came and joined in the wife’s grief.

“What terrible misfortune has befallen us!” cried the wife. “Yes, yes, this is most unfortunate,” the neighbors agreed. But the farmer said, “Fortunate or unfortunate, I don’t know, let’s wait and see.”

A week passed and the farmer and his family were sitting at the breakfast table. Looking out the kitchen window they saw a heard of horses galloping toward the farm. It was their faithful stallion, leading five horses and a little filly behind him. He had found a heard of wild mares, and now he was bringing them home. The farmer’s family ran out to open the corral gate for the horses. The farmer’s wife was overjoyed and exclaimed, “What a fortune turn of events, this is unbelievable!” The neighbors rushed over exclaiming, “How fortunate you are!” The farmer just said, “Fortunate or unfortunate, I don’t know, let’s wait and see.”

Over the next weeks the farmer and his son were busy training the new horses. One day the son was thrown by one of the wild horses. He suffered a bad fall and broke many bones. The farmer’s wife was very upset. Between her sobs she said, “We never should have let those horses in; this is a misfortunate accident! My poor son.” The neighbors came to commiserate with the wife about her misfortune. And the farmer said, “Fortunate or unfortunate, I don’t know, let’s wait and see.”

Two days later the king’s soldiers came by the little farm. The king had declared war on an adjacent country and the soldiers had orders to draft all able-bodied young men into the army. On seeing the farmer’s son with both legs and both arms broken, not to mention several ribs fractured and numerous lacerations on his face and head, they left him home and continued on to the next family. The farmer’s wife wept with relief, crying “How lucky we are! This is most fortunate.” The neighbors most of whom had had sons taken off to war, said “You are indeed most fortunate.” The farmer said, “Fortunate or unfortunate, I don’t know, let’s wait and see.”

Some months passed. The farmer’s son was recovering nicely; he was able to walk, albeit with a cane. A messenger from the king’s palace dropped by the farm to inquire about the health of the son. Seeing the son’s improved condition he stated that by order of the king, the son must come at once to the palace to work in the gardens and stables. There was a shortage of workers at the palace due to the war. What could the family do but let their son go? The wife was bitterly angry and cursed the king for his unfairness. “How unfortunate we surely are! We have lost our only son and there will be no one to help us with the farm now.” The neighbors came by to console the wife, murmuring, “What an unfortunate turn of events.” The farmer just said, “Fortunate or unfortunate, I don’t know, let’s wait and see.”

The king had a beautiful daughter . One day she looked out of her window and saw the handsome new gardener. She fell in love with him and went to her father and said, “Father I have found the man I wish to marry. Please make it happen!”
The king, unable to resist a request from his lovely daughter replied, “Of course, it shall be done.”

The next day a messenger was sent from the palace to the farm, bearing a wedding invitation for the farmer and his wife, as well as an invitation for them to come live permanently at the palace. Can you imagine the reaction of the farmer’s wife? She was ecstatic and could hardly contain her join. Jumping up and down she laughed, “This is incredible, how fortunate!” The neighbors exclaimed “Indeed, this is a very fortunate turn of events!” And the farmer as usual, said … !