From time to time I have clients write about their experience on Safari. I am always amazed by the effect of a trip to Africa can have on people and how well they write about it. This is the first in a series of three guest blogs from my clients
This year, I had the honor and pleasure of putting together a multi-generational safari for a family. One set of grandparents, three adult children and their spouses, two grandchildren and an 81-year-old family friend from Japan. I happened to be in Tanzania when they were there and got to spend a few days with them. I was so impressed with this family—how everyone got along, how everyone looked out for everyone—they already had that great African spirit about family.
They had an amazing adventure and saw some things on safari that I have never seen. One of the grand kids, 12-year-old Danae was kind enough to write a guest blog item for me about some of her thoughts and experiences. Read below. You will be very impressed. She is a very bright young lady (and a great kayaker). She is also an extremely talented and poetic writer and has beautifully captured some of the essence of her experience. I know her safari will be with her for the rest of her life.
Danae – thank you. I could not have said it better. Want a job writing a blog?!
By Danae Kawamoto
Africa. Here I am far up in the blue skies of Tanzania, above the land where my infinite safari will once begin. Every week I have been dreaming about the feeling of looking into a lion’s bright, ferocious yellow eyes. Every single hour of the day thinking, dreaming, believing, my eyes trying to claw themselves out to explore themselves, and not wait. From what I have heard, Africa is a big land of adventure and excitement. I have heard all about the warm-hearted and generous people who live there, and about the beauty and freedom of the wildlife.
A couple of hours have passed and night has fallen, and finally, my family and I are out of the large, soaring fish eagle and are headed into the airport building. The smell of foreign air, grass and dung immediately rises into my nostrils, welcoming me into the new land. As we enter into the small airport, we meet our guides, Godwin and Simon, who will lead us in our journey through the Serengeti out in the wild.
Once we settle down, Simon and Godwin lead us outside into the bus in which they will drive in to take my large family and I to our first lodge. Out into the night we drive, under the bright white stars, and the beautiful full moon that lights up and leads the way. Barely anything can be seen, only the outlines of the trees and a few lights out in the distance. After a while, I realize that we have arrived, and half asleep, grab my things and jump out of the vehicle into the lodge and onto the bed.
Five o’clock. That is when the morning prayers are announced. Still tired from the previous night, and exhausted from time changes, I manage to force myself to get off the warm, comfortable bed that yells and calls my name to try to persuade me to jump back into its arms. I change then take a quick shower, excited for the day. Now all I have to do is wait for my parents and brother to wake up, and a longer time for them to get ready. Then we will walk out into the cold morning air, to watch the last bit of sun rise above the hills and baobab trees.
We have just finished our delicious, mouth- watering breakfast of fruit, toast, omelets, muffins, juice, and milk when our guides ask if we are ready to head out to the Serengeti. “Your luggage is already in the safari jeep and ready to go,” Simon tells us. “Your family will have to split up into two because only six can go in each jeep. Ready?” With that I walk out into the area where the cars are parked, and jump into Simon’s jeep with my bag, camera, and hat waiting for the safari to begin.
As we drive through the endless plains of the Serengeti, we pass many Maasai tribes and warriors, and many young boys wrapped in red cloth who take the cattle out to graze. “It is amazing how they are able to survive out here,” I tell my aunt. I was studying their spears and mud homes when suddenly our car starts speeding up, making me fall harshly back onto my seat. “Simon, what’s going on!” I blurt out.
“Lions,” was all he stated, obviously more concentrated on driving than me.
Lions? I think to myself. What does he mean? We have already seen some lions before. What is so different about this?
Then I know why.
Out in the distance were many jeeps, three lions out in front of them. Simon was right about the lions, the two males and one lioness. Though something else accompanied them. A buffalo, trying to fight against them, to become free from the grip of the strong paws holding him down. One of the males was clutching onto its neck, its paws wrapped around him.
His sharp teeth tearing apart the bloody throat. Meanwhile, the other two were in the back of the suffering creature, one damaging its back legs, the other wounding its rear end, as the animal screamed and yelled, groaned loudly, as if that could tear him away from this horrible nightmare. He was done, finished, his pain will soon blow away like smoke in the wind. The lions have succeeded, and now tired from the long battle, have lay down to rest in the grass beside a strip of water.
At least it has died already, I thought. At least he cannot feel anything anymore. My perspective soon changed like leaves change colors, and the hatred against the lions melted away like snow from a fire. As we drove away, deeper into the Serengeti, I thought about this over and over again in my mind, and realized that what happened before our eyes is part of nature.