Safari 2018 #37 The “Grandmother”

by david on September 9, 2019

"Grandmother" “Grandmother”


Mikey translating between Johann and “Grandmother”. Mikey translating between Johann and “Grandmother”.


Monday, September 24

Up at 5:00 and breakfast at 5:30 and looking for tracks by 6:00.  The only tracks we found were the ones from the previous two days.  Not an exciting morning, by any means. Even though we are having no luck in the jumbo department, I was in a place I love, with the best of friends and hunting.  I had no complaints.

One bright spot of the morning was when we went to look for someone Johann refers to as “grandmother”.  Johann tells the story of hunting with another client and coming across a very old woman sitting alone under a tree.  Curiosity got the best of them and they stopped to see what she was doing. It turns out, in addition to being ancient, she was also blind.  Her age and blindness prevented her from doing much for her village. Her current task was to sit under this tree and use her hands and fingers to sift through the soft sandy soil to find seeds dropped by the tree.  The seeds she collected were used to make necklaces and bracelets for the village to trade or sell. They asked her if she was happy sitting under the tree looking for seeds. Her answer surprised and touched them. Her face lit up and her answer was a resounding yes!  She said “I am alive, I have a family and I help my village. What more could I need?”. That simple answer brought Johann’s client to tears. After hearing that, he said, “I can never be happy. I have more money than I can spend but when I get to be her age I will probably be in a hospital bed with only my past to look upon.  This grandmother looks forward to each day with a smile and great expectations, something I will not be able to do.” Since this occurred several years ago, Johann was unsure if she was still alive or even in the same village, but we stopped and asked anyway. The lady we asked said that she was still there and took us to her. It was the wrong time of year for seeds, but we found her sifting through the sand.  Instead of seeds she was collecting debris and keeping the village “clean”. When Johann spoke, she recognized his voice and her face lit up with her broad smile. She was pleased and honored that he remembered her from those years ago and even more so that he stopped to visit her. Mikey translated as Johann told her the story of his client from the first visit. Her smile broadened even more and she rocked back and forth saying the word “yes” in between translated phrases.  I have to admit that even though I had heard the story before, hearing it again in her presence brought a tear to my eye. A person can only hope and pray for the same outlook in life this wonderful old lady has. It does not take wealth and power to be happy. Love and family will suffice.

After leaving the village we drove another 10-12 miles looking for tracks.  Finding none worth following, we headed back for some food and rest. Byron and Peter got back about the same time we did.  They came up with a big “goose egg” in the track department as well. During lunch Byron and Peter decided to head to our next location Bamunu Conservancy and, hopefully, greener pastures.  They packed up and headed out. Johann and I decided to stay and try to hunt here this afternoon, but first it was time for a rest. Try as I might, a nap was destined to escape me. It was just too hot in the tent.  Being unable to rest, my thoughts kept returning to the events of the morning. I kept wondering if I could avoid the situation of Johann’s previous thought he would end up in and place myself it the situation grandmother was in.  The best thing would be to be inspired by this woman, and keep working towards what I wanted in my life.

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