Maisha: Swahili for Survival

It’s very adrenalizing to be attracted to the mysteries of life. Wanting to seek out the answers of lifes greatest questions, looking for adventure, travelling the world. It’s all very fascinating. I have been traveling the world for as long as I can remember. I used to say “it’s easier to ask me where I haven’t been, than where I have been.” One of my favourite trips was a family safari trip to Kenya, Tanzania, and Zanzibar. Beautiful is an understatment. Fascinating is an understatement. It was incredible to see just how natural that world was. A world so different from the one I come from. The world’s fearcest predators, live and in the flesh, right before my eyes. I saw a pack of female Lions attack a hoard of unsuspecting Zebra. The hoard was in chaos, one unfortunate victim was wounded. A gaping hole in its back, bleeding. It seeked refuge within in its hoard but was sadly rejected by its peers. The unscathed Zebra would kick the wounded until it had no choice but to separate, leaving it alone, injured, and vulnerable. Eventually the Lions returned to its victim, and the rest is history. Just a few minutes and kilometers later, another natural event. A large, very pregnant, Impala struggles to walk. At first I thought it had been injured and was trying to make its escape to recover. However as I squinted my eyes trying to get a clearer image, I noticed the Impala was not alone. Pushing itself through the rear end of the Impala was a beautiful calf. Within seconds of being born, the calf was up on its feet, trusting his mother with his life, guiding him to safety. Within only a few moments, I was able to see the opposite spectrums of life: birth and death.

My parents love to travel. They have been traveling the world, together, for as long as they can remember. You’d think after having kids, they would have settled down. We did. We moved to Canada when I was only three but that didn’t stop my family from pursing adventure. They took my brothers and I along with them on their travels. We never stayed in resorts or beaches, we stayed in hotels in the main cities. My parents wanted us to learn about the countries cultures and ways of living. It’s truley eye opening to see just how differently people live.

As we continued along our safari adventure throughout the days, our Safari guide told us about a very interesting tribe. They lived in villages with huts made of dirt, rocks, and branches. Around the villages were thorny bushes to keep out predators. In this tribe, as well as many others in all of the continent, the people of this tribe live much like our ancestors used to. These tribes are known as hunter and gatherer tribes. They hunt during the day so that they may feast at night. Wild animals pose a threat unlike any I could possibly imagine. Those who are spared the terror of an animal’s attack, may not be spared the infection of an untreated wound. People who are fortunate enough to have access to health care probably couldn’t imagine just how lucky they are. These villages have coming of age ceremonies, in which boys become men. A right of passage for boys starting at twelve years of age. A tradition, in which young boys shave their heads, paint their faces white with chalk, and wear black cloaks. The boys are then released into the wild and must not return to their village until they have hunted a lion. Those who return are men, and those who do not are mourned.

It’s hard to grasp the reality that many societies still live like this, in hunter-gatherer tribes like the ones I learned about in school. Our ancestors, who lived thousands of years before us, would hunt for the food of the day and those who did not succeed, did not eat. Today, people eat out of bordem, people eat to drown sorrows or anxiety.  It’s hard to understand a mothers capability to release their child into the wilderness not knowing whether he will return. Of course they don’t do because of a lack of affection, it is their culture. How are boys to survive in a fearsome society if they have not been taught the ways of the land? Onlookers may not understand that these tribes people are part of the food chain. They don’t have the luxury of walking out to fetch resources knowing nothing can harm them along their journey. Even a luxury such as modern medicine is out of reach, instead the tribes have an appointed member known as the Medicine Man. A healer who uses faith, spirituality, and tribal practices to heal the ill. For the people of this tribe, living is surviving.

via Daily Prompt: Survive

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