Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: OVERSEAS VACATION (08/13/15)
- TITLE: Jambo, Serengeti
By Bonnie Bowden
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The sun beat down on the earth in an unabating blaze, splitting the soil like an immense puzzle. Sprinkled into the landscape were kopjes, small granite outcrops.
The roaring of lions, the yipping and snorting of zebras, the haunting wail of hyena, and the grunts, moans, and “merr” of the wildebeest were the calls of nature.
“Look, over there in the rocks’ precipice” James said. We watched as three female lions sat guarding their cubs on the backside of the kopje. Our driver-guide stopped the Land Cruiser, so we could take photos.
As we turned around the bend, an eighteen-foot tall giraffe stood right beside the road, blocking our path. It was so close that I didn’t need my binoculars to see the underside of its stomach. The wheels of the truck squealed as our driver swerved to the left to avoid it.
“Sorry about that, ladies. You never can tell what to expect in the Serengeti.”
“Em, did you get that on film?” I asked. “Remember, we promised your aunt and uncle lots of pictures since they gave us their tickets.”
“Yeah, Sarah. It’s too bad my uncle broke his leg right before the trip. That’s the very least we can do.”
“They probably won’t believe we could give up our cell phones and computers for a whole week. Imagine me taking pictures with a digital camera,” I replied.
“We’re going to head toward Ngorongo. We should arrive at the Masai village for lunch,” James said.
We headed down a side road. In a muddy watering hole, we spotted ten hippos wallowing in the water.
“Don’t let them fool you,” James remarked, “those rosy-brown heaps of wrinkled skin kill more people than lions do in Sub-Saharan Africa.
“Well, I wouldn’t want to join them anyway; I don’t think I need a mud bath today.” Em joked.
Vervet monkeys hung from the branches of the tall tree canopies, and we could hear their constant chattering from far away. It reminded me of one of my favorite children’s books, “Caps for Sale.”
Up ahead, a bull elephant gently swung its trunk back and forth like the arm of a Vacuum Truck. Our driver obligingly pulled over the Rover, so we could snap more pictures.
“Watch out if it flaps its ears,” James said, “that means it’s getting angry.”
“And then what does it do?” Em asked.
The elephant towered above us, staring. Then suddenly without warning, it flapped its ears.
“Aheee!” cried James. He threw the vehicle in reverse.
The elephant charged with astonishing speed, and Em and I tumbled around in the Land Rover as it thundered back onto the road. But suddenly the elephant changed its mind and sauntered away.
“That was a close call,” Em said.
I laughed. I was shaken, but unharmed. “God protected us in the shelter of His wings. Even in Africa.”
“I just heard of your God,” James said, “but to believe means to be cast out from my family.”
We rode in silence. Each person processing what had just happened.
The Manyatta, mud and thatched huts of the Masai, came into view. A Masai warrior dressed in his traditional crimson Shuka came out to greet us.
“Jambo,” he said.
“Jambo,” we replied.
“Habari za mchana,” he said.
“Jina lako ni nani?” he asked.
Fortunately, Em and I knew enough Swahili to answer.
“Jina langu ni Emily.”
“Jina langu ni Sarah.”
The Masai people invited us to join in their “adumu”, or “jumping dance.” With bodies held in a narrow pose, heels never touching the ground, the young men began to jump. Cheers could be heard for the winner.
Your love is higher than I ever thought love to be. It reaches across the world.
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