There was the green and yellow walking stick one of the Masai warriors had presented her on their trip to Kenya. On that trip she was able to witness the great migration of the wildebeest. She said that was her most prized memory ever. And on another shelf was the picture I had taken of Uluru just after sunrise.
She started traveling late in life. She intensified her schedule as her health declined sharply. She continued to add to her list of places she wanted to visit.
The flames dance upwards
While the elders affix their stare
The children are running and cheerful
While they all happen to be there
The light in the sky still remains
We must wait til darkness participatesNow gather around
And I’ll tell you this
We are earth’s children
Among the forests hesitanceLook up to the stars
And feel our father’s trance
For we shall mow
Be expected to perform the rest
The Great Migration is a cycle of life and death, played out on the plains of the Serengeti (in Tanzania) and Masai Mara (in Kenya). Some 1.4 million wildebeest, 250,000 Burchell’s zebra and a smattering of trailing Thomson’s gazelle make this year-long round trip. In fact, around 250,000 Wildebeest and 30,000 zebra perish in this tough trek, mainly younger ones. Along the way, many migrating animals become prey to predators including lion, cheetah, crocodile and hyena.
We were one of the lucky people who actually witnessed this event. The Wildebeest would approach the river that they had to cross in response to a lack of drinking water. There appeared to be a leader who, to me at least, was surveying the crossing for predators. He would approach, look around, sniff the air, and taste the water. The first couple of times he, along with the rest of the heard just made a circle and returned in a few minutes. What he was seeing was crocodiles in the river and at least 3 lions on the far side who were also staring at him. Once the stampede began the sound was unbelievably loud with snorts and the water splashing as the Wildebeest began the crossing. Once the leader started across it was like an auto expressway at rush hour. Suddenly a crocodile sprang out of the water and grabbed the Wildebeest and drowned him. Other crocodiles join the fray. The Wildebeest far outnumbered the crocodiles and most made it to the other side. On that side were waiting a dozen or so lions who joined in the feast. The squealing sound was surreal. While having the appearance of a frenzy, recent research has shown a herd of Wildebeest possesses what is known as a “swarm intelligence”, whereby the animals systematically explore and overcome the obstacle as one.
This picture was taken on our recent vacation in Kenya. In fact on our last day. Our guide himself had not seen anything like this. You think you are alone on the large plains of the Serengeti and Masi Mara but the tour jeeps are in constant contact with each other. Once we found these Wildebeest getting ready to cross our guide contacted other tours and within minutes there were around 10 jeeps loaded with tourist like us. Guides are below:
The next time you’re in a public place — a coffeehouse, a park, a store — observe the people around you. Pick a person, a couple, or a group, and imagine what their lives might be like.
Photographers, artists, poets: show us IMAGINE.
We were at The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Kenya, East Africa. The children were on a field trip when we arrived. They were dressed in their finest outfits. We were greeted with lots of giggles and finger-pointing. We found out that was because very few had ever seen a white face. A little girl would jump from behind her teachers gown and quickly point at my wife and giggle.
What would their lives be like? Honestly, I find it difficult to visualize. They live in what we would define as poverty, have bad nutrition habits and still look happy and absolutely radiate optimism. After our visit we went back to our hotel room in Nairobi. I found the juxtaposition of extreme poverty of these individuals and our luxury hotel to be a bit disturbing even today.