My Namibian Adventure: A guest Blog by Michael Mogamisi

The first time I travelled to Namibia, I had been quite young – only 12 years old. Back then, my experience had been for the most part through the eyes of the adults around me; through the influence of their tastes. But still, I remember how much I had been particularly enchanted by the ocean; that great and mighty expanse of water that albeit pleasant to see, terrified me to death. I do vividly remember being in awe of its massive waves, that crushed with such heaviness at the shore. Yes it is still fresh in my mind, even the feel of the cold stinging waters that chilled me to the very core. My mind still evokes memories of when I had sat at the beach and admired the brave folk who were ever so fearlessly surfing the waves. And that is almost just about it.

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Of course it cannot go without saying my uncle had made a huge impression on me: I can never forget how much my uncle had looked forward to experiencing the sun set. He had rubbed that off on all of us. Yes indeed, I can still remember how I had excitedly watched him point out at the horizon, to the point where the sun touches the sea, while explaining – rhetorically of course. That day, I learnt that the horizon is indefinite blah blah, and that it can never be touched or reached. That; although we can see it – what we see is basically the end of our line of vision and that, no matter how much one may try to approach the horizon, it can never be reached, because in essence, it does not exist.

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My brain like a porous sponge had tried to absorb as much as it could as he went on and on to explain many things about the earth; its round shape; its apparent flatness to the eye; its separation from the sky and how the two never meet even though they sometimes seem to meet. He had gushed on how beautiful it was to view the horizon at sea, without bushes or buildings in the way of one’s vision. After that lesson we had all stood still and gazed out at the sea, as the sun sunk into the waters. That beautiful slow dipping and sliding motion of the sun as it sets at sea!

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The following day I had woken up to a mighty hiss and feeling cold to the bone. The weather had completely changed; the sea was angry, like very angry. We could all hear its hiss from where we abode, and we were told (the children) not to dare go anywhere near. All we could hear was its mighty waves slap and crush at the shore, as it sent out a ghastly cold breeze that bit into our bodies. I had been shocked and extremely disappointed by the sudden change.  Even worse, it was decided (by the adults), that the trip was to be cut short. I was devastated.

On our way back I remember noting down all the names of the villages we drove through until my uncle had asked to find out what I was writing, only to be dismayed, for he had thought I had been calculating the distance we had travelled or doing something more clever……! “Sigh..!”

Fast forward 16 years later, and I sought to revive my memories. This time, having been invited by a friend to tug along.  We had planned to leave Kanye, my home town, around 0500, strategically aiming to avoid traffic. However, we ran half an hour behind time – my fault – leaving around 0530. We then drove for about 3 hours, covering roughly 300 kilometres, until we reached a village called Kang where we had hoped to top up our fuel, only to be told, “there is no petrol!”  Village things..! Not that we needed fuel that desperately though.

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Fortunately, the next service point, in Namibian lingo – because in Botswana we refer to petrol stations as filling stations – had petrol. While there, we warmed our bowels with a nicely brewed cuppa tea, served at the service station.

We then continued on to cover another three hundred or more kilometres. Along the way, we enjoyed a view of wild ostriches. There were plenty of them in pairs and some grazing solely but never in groups of more than three – I wonder, if it was just coincidental or whether there is a logic to it…

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The birds were so beautiful; some at the sound of approaching vehicles would crane out their long necks, and whenever we tried to slow down to take pictures, would take off lazily as if warming up for something boring. I kept wishing I could see them suddenly flap their wings wide out, curl their feet and just take off into the air.  Foolish, I know!

I also found the strength of an ostrich’s long feet somewhat fascinating. The way its legs sort of support its entire body mass while its neck runs long and away from the body. It’s amazing! Right? This makes one wonder how long it takes food to travel down its long stretch of an oesophagus and exactly how many peristaltic contractions would be involved.

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What I missed though, were the ostrich chicks; I remember that when I was younger and travelling that very same road, I had seen them trail behind the adult ostriches in an amazing straight line. Then, with the mind of a child, I had imagined them to be good students. I thought it was amazing how they could take instructions so well and order a perfect straight line.
We saw many other wild animals: guinea fowls, warthogs, impala and so on…..

The car was agreeable and naturally, we pressed down on the gas pedal, until just before we reached Charles’ Hill, we ran into the traffic police who gave us a ticket for over speeding. We were devastated but warned! Cautious not to repeat the same mistake again, we kept to under 120km/hr for the rest of the journey.
When we reached Charles’ Hill town center it was around noon. We stopped to fuel up again and had a short lunch break.  With regard to food, we had carried plenty.

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The drive to Mamuno border post from Charles Hill is less than five minutes. The crossing was quite smooth, save for one rather grumpy immigration officer who seemed to want to be pushed to do his job.  Under the impression that we were done we drove out, only to hear someone shriek, “o ya kae?!” (Where do you think you are going?!). Though tempted to break into laughter, surprised at being told off in Setswana, on Namibian soil, we held ourselves. Recalling it is still funny though. Apparently, we had to have paid for a road permit…!

By 1PM we were well on the Namibian road. The landscape isn’t much different from Botswana. It is just as dry and arid and with a hot, blazing sun.

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I could feel the sun streaming into the car through the window.  About an hour later, at Gobabis we stopped a young boy riding a bicycle to ask for directions, and he was like “askies…… Oh, that way” pointing out at the right direction. We found his tone and brief precise answer quite hilarious. So much, so that for the rest of the trip we adopted ‘askies’ (excuse me) as a new, fun word in our vocabulary. Not that the word was new to our ears, but it had been unexpected and made up for a funny memory to be kept.

In about two hours we passed through Windhoek, the capital city of Namibia. The architecture appeals to the eye – The city is sort of nestled in between hills, so the roads wind in and out. Though a bit more compacted, in comparison to Gaborone, we found Windhoek far much nicer.

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Once again, we had to stop for directions and were immediately out of the city.

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Just outside the city we encountered a police road block, where an officer pulled us over to search and inspect our car et cetera et cetera. I thought he did it with such a stern bravado. I remember thinking, ‘does he even want visitors in his home country?’ The way he went about his job was just…. I wonder what he had hoped to discover.

We then resumed our journey and went through Okahandja. Just before you enter the town, there is a new settlement there. More like a squatter camp. The houses are made of corrugated iron sheets which shine in the afternoon sun. But the place is just too littered and dirty.

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We drove on, passed Karibib around 5pm, and my friend Bo-at (short for Boatametse) thought of switching on the radio. We tuned into a local station, Radio Wave which played really good music, I thought.  The radio sort of provided some good entertainment while giving us a little insight into Namibian current affairs. The female co-host claimed to have a friend whose mother in law is bothersome to the extent she invades her family space. The friend did not know what to do, she said. One listener called in and said that she as well, had once been in a similar situation. However, she then discovered her mother in law was allergic to cats and her problems got solved, she said. She decided to rear up 3 cats! We had a little chuckle to this. One has got to take the hat off for that innovative sister.
By the time we arrived in Swakopmund, night had set in and the road had gotten crowded by trucks. Some straddled the road, making it almost impossible to overtake them and some had drivers who were kind enough to keep the hard shoulder and allow other cars to pass. We continued along the coast, but in darkness, we saw nothing of the coast but the road ahead. After a good 17 hours on the road, we finally checked into our lodge at around 9 pm, at night. It was a nice place in the affluent area of Walvis Bay, run by a German couple who had apparently just received their Namibian citizenship after 10 years.

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Our cottage was very impressive. From the front door there was a little kitchenette that opened into a living room with white armed sofa chairs decorated with blue cushions, giving way to four comfortable looking single beds spread out at the corner of the room. I then quickly showered, flipped through the channels on the TV and having found nothing worth watching, reclined to bed. I slept soundly.
The next day we stepped out of the cottage into cold weather. We had of course checked the weather forecast before and all websites had predicted a partly cloudy weather. So, we had never expected to be met by full clouds!

The drive into town took less than 3 minutes. In fact we only turned two streets and we were on Sam Nujoma Avenue, a very long street. According to Bo-at, the town’s architectural style is significantly European. He happened to be more of an experienced traveller, so we used him for reference, “askies”.We also liked the fact that there was paving everywhere, which is a striking contrast to our dusty towns in Botswana.

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As Bo-at carried out the business he had come to do, we traversed the streets and did some window shopping. In one of the shops we met a really good Herero sales lady who made us feel at home at their store. She answered almost every enquiry we made on the products. At one point she asked about our nationality, to which we responded “Batswana…!” And she was like, “o yeah. That explains it. If it were some of our neighbours they would have said ‘ah my friend! Discount! My friend…!” We thought she was hilarious, especially the way she tried to mimic the different accents. With that in mind, later, when we went back to the shop, we did remember to ask for a discount! One has to learn the tricks of the industry…..

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We had lunch at a Pakistanese restaurant and enjoyed some of the most flavoursome Indian curries. I for one had some lamb; it was just so tender, and melted in my mouth. Bo-at being vegetarian, had a chick pea curry served with paratha bread. The food was so filling. The service was also great, even though it took a while for the food to arrive.

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Eventually, we wrapped up our business in town and went around the lagoon to see flamingos and the pelicans. We had hoped to also see seals but were told, for those we would need to take a boat trip and leave very early in the morning. But it was so cold and we dared not go into the sea waters, so we settled for watching the flamingos; with their long pinkish legs peeping out of the waters and their heads bowed down as if in reverence to the sun. They stood perfectly still; totally motionless. Not once did any fly off. I still don’t understand what could have been going on in their heads at that time, an evening prayer session maybe?

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Constrained by time, we then decided to go and feast our eyes on the world famous Dune 7. Bo-at had raved on about how it is the tallest sand dune in the whole wide world, so one could just imagine our excitement when we got there – the sight of the wind carrying up small billows of dust up and lining them into neat piles with sharp edges and straight sides… Beautiful!

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With Dune 7 done with and dusted, we returned to the cottage to get ready for our return.

The following day we left as early as three am and made several wrong turns in Swakopmund on the Sam Nojuma Avenue, until we had to approach an ATM security guard for directions. By dawn, we had approximately covered a good three hundred kilometers. Since we were travelling east, we could see the sun come out – a massive scarlet ball in the east. It emerged from behind the hills in all its majesty and illuminated the entire world before us.

The clock on the dashboard read 6:45, so Namibian time happens to be one hour behind, relative to Botswana time.

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One can imagine our excitement after we randomly caught Tirelo ya Setswana Namibian broadcast while flipping through the radio stations. Naturally, we squealed in excitement. It was nice to experience a little bit of home while away from home. We had never expected it. Over and above, we had tuned into the radio station just when the guest preacher was sharing on Romans 12: 1-2:

I beseech you brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God (king james version)

She admonished against intemperance, with more emphasis on ill dressing. She urged that, before we go anywhere else or out into the world, we should be absolutely sure that our bodies are well covered and thus, show that indeed our bodies are the temple of God. She went on to caution against letting our bodies to be hosts for the devil by failing to keep them sanctified.  Listening to that radio station was a real pleasure. More especially that it was a Friday. The music kept us both delighted, particularly because they played Setswana songs.

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On our return journey, not once, did we get stopped by anyone. Except occasionally, by cows and jackals crossing the road and sometimes antelopes strolling on the side of the road.

We arrived in Kanye around 4am the next day. I definitely look forward to more of such adventure………..until next time hasta la vista and God bless………………………!

 

Thou Shalt Be Perfect!

Thou shalt be perfect with the LORD thy God; Deuteronomy 18:13.
But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. 1 Peter 1:15-16.

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But is it not a common phrase that “nobody is perfect”? Then, what is the bible saying, What is God trying to say really?

I have been alive for about a quarter of a century now, and I have had my fair share of ups and downs. I have had times when I really strove for perfection with God in all aspects of my life. But there have also been times when I really fell short.

What is it? What is perfection? How can I attain it for myself?
To be quite honest, I have my own answers to all these questions. I have my own ideas of perfection but that is just for me, another person’s ideal perfection may be completely different from mine, it may exceed or fall short of it. That is just it! Some of us want more, and some of us are content with little. It is a completely relative thing, although for the most part we do want the same things in life. We all long for happiness and succes. But what does God want for us?

It is very clear throughout the bible, from Genesis to Revelation, that God wants only that which is best for us. In his word it is very easy to see that all he ever wanted was for man to be happy and successful. We are the ones who have always limited him. We always keep him back from taking our lives to the greatest heights in terms of potential.

In Genesis we read of a God who creates this perfect world and places man right in the middle of it to keep and use it for his best advantage, under a set of principles. However, man rebels. He chooses his own way and opts to give allegience to the devil, a cruel master, and the most bitter enemy of God.Man loses his perfect nature and finds himself bound for death. The Lord does not let him go however. He loves him dearly, and promises to make the greatest sacrifice ever in order to buy him back from his new master. To save him from emminent death. Genesis 3:15. He comes to earth and dies in his place under the most debasing conditions on a cross. And through that cross, man is finally able to regain his lost perfection.

It is a shame however, that we quite often reject the merits of the cross. Unfortunately, the path of rebellion always seems more attractive for us. Prime evidence of this is shown through his experience with the children of Israel.
The bible tells us of how He delivered them from slavery in Egypt with great power and how He guided them through the wilderness to this beautiful place He had prepared for them to inhabit. With the working of great power and miracles He gave Israel victory over all their enemies and provided ample evidence for His presence in their lives. He also gave his ideals for their lives and revealed His desire for them to be a perfect nation. However, they chose instead to complain and rebel, all the way until they reached Canan. This brought a lot of drawbacks and difficulty along their path, and it all emanated from a lack of faith and trust. 

God had meant for them to become a very prosperous nation through which other nations could have learnt about this all mighty God called Jehovah, who provided for the deepest needs of the soul; Isaiah 56: 1-8. Even the central positioning of their country in the then known world, shows that God had indeed planned for them to be a beacon of light to the sin sick region that surrounded them. But they rejected this plan and became a very closed society. The sharp distinction between Jew and Gentile was constantly emphasised. And they failed even to recognise the son of God when He went to dwell among them, murdering Him in the process.

We all know how the history of ancient Israel came to an end. God chose to remove his scepter from them and passed it on to the Gentiles. He hates sin and He can only bear with spiritual immorality for that long. In the end Jerusalem was destroyed by Roman armies under General Titus in AD 70, and a lot of the Jews were killed, some remaining to be scattered all over the world as slaves and refugees.

How often I reject God from my own life. How often I choose to stray, to have my own way… And it always ends badly!

The Lord wants us to be perfect individuals in whose characters His image can be fully reflected. The bible gives plenty of evidence that we do not really have to face life on our own. What we need is complete faith and trust in Him. That is the only way we could ever reach the spiritual heights he hopes for us to reach. Proverbs 3:5-8.

Picture: bingeeatingtherapy.com

How To Catch a Bird

 

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There are many ways to catch a bird, I could go on and on about how to do it.

But the classical method is the box method.

Basically, you attach a long string to a stick and support it vertically under a box with a little bird food there, such that the box is raised by the stick at one end. Once the bird walks in, you just pull the string and the box falls over the bird and covers it.

When I was a child I would spend hours and hours trying to catch birds that way. I would wait and wait until I gave up with no success because, birds are very clever animals. Unless it is your lucky day, no bird would just walk into a trap just like that.

So in order to fool it and lead it in, you have to place a long trail of food from a long way off and all the way into the trap. The bird would start picking on the food from where it thinks it is safe, and it would blindly sing, dance and eat its way right into the box.

By the time it reaches the trap it cannot even notice that it is in danger because it is just too absorbed in the food and it is not looking around.

Why am I writing about birds, what has that got to do with lifestyle?

Well, it is because, the same way we catch birds is exactly the same way the devil puts us in bondage. No christian would willingly allow themselves to be lost, but the devil is cunning, and he uses little things to blind us until we are lost

Many times you would ask yourself, how did my life get to this point? I used to be much stronger than this…

And the truth is, you start falling long before you even notice it.

What I’m trying to say is, as Christians, we ought to be watchful. We have to pay attention to the kind of music we listen to, the kind of movies we watch and sometimes, even the kind of people we associate with and the kind of foods we consume.

Our thoughts determine the kind of people we become, so we must closely guard what goes into our minds.

“Do not see how close you can walk upon the brink of a precipice and be safe. Avoid the first approach to danger. The soul’s interests cannot be trifled with. Your capital is your character. Cherish it as you would a golden treasure. Moral purity, self-respect, a strong power of resistance, must be firmly and constantly cherished. There should not be one departure from reserve; one act of familiarity, one indiscretion, may jeopardize the soul in opening the door to temptation, and the power of resistance becomes weakened.” EG White, Adventist Home page 404.

Matthew 26:41 Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation

Pic by National Geographic

When God says; Wait!

In many places throughout the bible we come across places where God tells us to wait.  I guess He repeats it so many times because He knows it is an inherent human trait to be anxious. And after all, they say repetition deepens the impression.

Anxiety is not a bad thing really. For example, it is only natural for a mother to be anxious about the well being of her children. It only means she is concerned about their safety and has their best interests at heart.

However, it is also possible to be overly anxious. Which is bad. It is also possible to be the exact opposite, to be extremely careless about things. Which is just as bad. All this explains why we have facilities like psychiatric clinics, where psychologists and other health professionals step in to help, when mental problems like that arise.

On the other hand however, the Lord tells us to be anxious for nothing (Philippians 4:6), but to direct all our fears to Him in prayer. We are also told, in His word, that it only serves us good, when we quietly wait on Him (Lam 3: 25-26). And in the book of Asaiah, He tells us that as we wait, our strength is renewed, which gives even more endurance for us to rise above our troubles (Isaiah 40;31).

The same book tells us that He actually waits before He pours out his blessings on us (Asaiah 30: 18-19). We can never ask for anything unless there is a need for it. Similarly, the bible tells us that our Father waits until we recognise that need and raise our voices to Him in prayer.

What a wise God! He is only ever concerned about that which is for our greatest good. Just as much as no parent desires for their child to be spoilt and complacent, so is our God. Concern not yourself with those around you and know that your heavenly Father deals with you in a personal, and individual manner (Psalms 37:9). Rest assured that the Lord has your best interests at heart and will only ever do that which will bring you the greatest blessing (Prov 3: 5-6).

My spring so far…

I just thought I should share a few pictures of my spring before  it is all gone.

This is purely 5 megapixel iPhone photography by the way,

A newby at photography of course, but surely getting there.

 I took these randomly, however most of the images are from nature parks or some monumental places I recently visited.

Satan’s Attack Against God’s Memorial

In vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men. Matthew 15:9, NKJV.

The enemy has worked in the religious world to deceive people into the belief that the law of God can be set aside. He has had long years of experience in this work, for he began with our first parents, using his powers to cause them to distrust God. If he could interpose himself between their souls and God, he knew that he would succeed. The prospect of becoming gods, knowing good and evil, was pleasing to Adam and Eve, and they yielded to the temptation.

In receiving a knowledge of good and evil, human beings feel that they are gaining much; but they do not understand the purposes of Satan. They do not understand that they are taken in his snare when they tamper with the law of God. The enemy knows that if the church can be controlled by political enactments, if it can be led to unite with the world, it virtually acknowledges him as its head. Then the authority of human-made commandments will work to oppose the rule of the government of heaven. Under the leadership of Satan there are those who will dispense with the righteous, holy enactments of God concerning the Sabbath, the observance of which is to be a sign between God and His people forever.

Satan’s plan has taken with the religious world. He has created an order of things entirely his own, making void the law of God. Through his deceptive working he has gained in the professedly Christian world that which he thought to gain in heaven–an abrogation of the laws of Jehovah. Through the Roman power he has worked to remove God’s memorial, and has erected a memorial of his own to sever God from His people. Today the Protestant world is estranged from God by its acceptance of a spurious sabbath. Not one iota of sacred authority can they find for doing this; yet, full of zeal, they assert that the Lord’s memorial given at creation should be ignored, despised, trampled upon, and the first day of the week take its place.

No deeper wound could be inflicted on God than to ignore His holy day, and place in its stead a spurious sabbath that bears no mark of sanctity. God gave the Sabbath to the world to be set apart for His name’s glory. He says: “It is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you…. Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant.”–The Signs of the Times, November 22, 1899.

source; revivalandreformation.org

Daniel speaks

I have found myself frequently exclaiming the words of the psalmist; “What is man, that thou art mindful of him?” quite recently while going through the prophecies of Daniel 11.

God truly answers prayer. For a long time I was searching for the perfect bible commentary with which to go through the book of Revelation until I discovered the book of Uriah Smith; Daniel and the Revelation.

Though an old book, written more than a hundred years ago, it is just what I had been looking for, and not only is it about the book of Revelation, but it covers Daniel as well… And being well acquainted with the first ten chapters of Daniel, I had never really done much study on the last two chapters before, so I decided to go through them first. I also had the internet handy to crosscheck all the historical references. It is funny how simple sources like Wikipedia confirmed almost everything in one hit.

Daniel 11 was different for me because unlike the other visions of Daniel, like those in chapter 2, 7 and 8, most of it is in plain language. While not ignorant of the fact that God in his greatness has seen the future of this planet and nothing is hidden from him, I must say I was surprised by the way even leaders like Cleopatra or Julius Caesar and their various life stories were revealed to the prophet years before they were ever born.

Also common in the text is the way in which different leaders rise and fall along the course of time. Battles are fought and new world political systems take place. Kingdoms are set up while others get uprooted. But throughout, the theme is constant; man is a hundred percent mortal and regardless of his life story, he is bound for the grave.

My April wasn’t such a good month. I experienced the death of two people I knew very well, both under rather sudden and very sad circumstances. And their passing drove me to the realization that we are very fragile indeed, and we can be gone any minute. We never really know what tomorrow brings, but we are reminded by God in his word to live our lives in the best possible way we can live them today; Ecclesiastes 9:10.

I am currently on chapter 12 and hoping to go back to the rest of the book before continuing with Revelation. The word of God is exquisitely consistent, and it is very nice how Daniel only sets a foundation for a clear comprehension of Revelation. Both books repeatedly speak of a common message; “Surely I come quickly.” Revelation 22:20. Although we set up governments and various democracies, they will all soon pass away, just like the ones that have come before. And it is very important we realize that God will be setting up a permanent kingdom very soon Daniel 2:44. And we all stand a chance to be a part of it through our Lord Jesus Christ.

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