You have my full permission to blow me away with miracles.”
Last night as I laid awake in the wee hours, from our campsite neighboring the game reserve I heard plop plop on my tent and learned it was monkeys throwing things to check if anyone or anything was inside. Then there was the chilling laugh of a hyena, a gunshot then the low rumble of a lion. I hope it wasn’t poachers. This is camping in Africa.
Our fearless leader has been giving us vignettes of the history for each country we’re passing through. It’s fascinating and tragic and a lot to digest but I invite you to dig in using sources different than what we learned in US schools. We all benefit the more we know.
Those elephant crossing signs I mentioned? They were serious. On Elephant Highway there are no big game fences here so elephants (and giraffes, donkeys, cows, and goats) roam freely, grazing roadside or crossing despite oncoming traffic (despite its name, Elephant Highway, it’s really more like a rural 2-lane road, and a rough one at times). We saw dozens of pachyderms during our drive, on the shoulder, in the road, or just in the bush feasting on umbrells of the classic acacia. At one point. a huge (huge) lone bull crossed in front of us, turned with ears flared and shook his head in protest, then stormed off into the bush. He was just feet from the truck; what a magnificent sight. (Why did the elephant cross the road?? Because he can and no one is going to argue with him!) 😆
We arrived at our Sedia Riverside Hotel in Maun, a lovely, comfortable tropical spot, and enjoyed lunch on the veranda under a mulberry tree that sprawled like grape vines overlooking the pool. Until it rained and we moved inside.
With beautiful names like Boi, Nbala, and Deko, the staff took wonderful care of us and at dinner the chef came out to check in.
Most days I can’t believe the similarities between these parts of Africa and Paraguay. Not only does some of the landscape looks familiar like the scrubland and palms but the rust-red soil; tropical summer smell mixed with a hint of smoke, jasmine, dusty earth, and reeds; neglected infrastructure; primitive subsistence living (I would vote that Africa is more advanced on this); temperamental weather; and friendly people. Old memories are ignited daily.
Many of our days involve long drives and it offers rich opportunities to practice mindfulness. What I needed most when I came to Africa was space to be quiet, to look within without distractions or ability to hide from it. Those long drives have been perfect. They reveal some old me, some patterns I’d like to change, some things I’m freaking proud of, time to just BE. With no agenda. When I made the decision to come here, I suspected it would be powerful but could not have known the magnitude of the shifts that would ensue. Every day I thank the African earth, sky, and myself for the precious day and the timing of being here right now. Perfection.
Tomorrow morning we’re canoeing into the Okavango Delta where we’ll be camping on an island for two nights with no electricity and likely no cell service so don’t expect any stories from me until later in the week. I promise I’ll get you up to speed when I’m back on line.
Lean into the discomfort. Stay there longer than you want. Get curious about your resistance. Stare it down until you find the beauty in the ugly. Witness the magic that reveals itself.
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