Saturday 6th, June 2020
We have been here for three-and-a half months now, with a brief two-week trip back to Mallorca in late February / early March.
We will miss this place when we leave. Everything is green, or better said, glowing in many different shades of greens, while some century old treee trunks are darker and other younger ones lighter.
We are cutting back the grass in the entire Camp area, creating a wide, clear space with broad visibility. Walking freely through this beautiful expanse offers a sense of grandeur and Peace.
The grass, the plants, everything here grows at a rapid pace.
The rainy season is now over, although we still get the occasional afternoon shower. The light alter the tones of everything we see, changing the landscape, softening or sharpening the contrasts
I just asked Steve to make me a vase with a log that I really like. Well actually, I asked it four days ago but the work here is piling up. Putting myself in his head, I can imagine how absurd my request must sound to him: a vase.
The encounter between such distant cultures always raises questions and makes me think about what it means to be born in one place or another. Could I explain to him why I wanted a vase? I understood his surprise, but I simply wanted my vase. I would reflect on that later. I needed to take some wild flowers and put them on a table. They were going to keep me special company, very different from that of this vast nature that surrounds me.
I’m interest in and need to know why I do things. There must be a good reason behind an absurd request or a whim. I sit here writing with these four flowering sprigs next to me wich manage to make me feel much closer to all of you.
The other day a friend of mine wrote to me wanting to know exactly where we were. I sent her our coordinates … “You are six thousand kilometres away!” “That’s not so much,” I replied.
“Intelligence” has made it such that we can return home again in less than a day of travel, or a little more depending on the flights. We miss our family and friends and are well aware that this virus has forced us all, in one way or another, to reflect.
I remember the words of another “wise friend” who passed away some years ago and who has surfaced in my thoughts here on several occasions. He said, “Lisette, the most important thing in life is to share what you see, what you live.” He was one of those people who managed to be somewhat wise in Life. I don’t think one can be entirely wise. He lived the great experience of touching two interesting extremes, being a millionaire and being so poor that he spent three days without eating rather than asking for money. He possesed the genius to relativize everything and his most treasured quality was a brilliant sense of humour that he never let go of.
A few days ago we were trying out a “Chef” who made us breakfast, lunch and dinner for just over three days.
In talking with him, I asked if he lives very far from here, and he commented that he came from Loita, where the Maasai tribe still mantains the deep roots of its culture. He explained to me that if I wanted to know if someone was a Maasai, I should focus on their teeth. “During childhood, a Maasai’s two central teeth in the lower jaw are pulled out.” That stunned me a little and I wondered what the explanation for that would be. “The Maasais do not go to the hospital, and when they are very ill and in great pain, they clench their teeth very tightly and you cannot pry them open. So then you can give the person water through that gap between the lower teeth ”.
I had to think quickly to imagine the situation and realize again how just how far apart we are (and here I’m not referring to kilometres). He also told me that this trait was used to identify them when they fought. “You show your teeth so that the other one knows that you are from the same tribe and realizes that you are one of their own and does not fight against you.” Again it was a stretch for me to visualize that image he had just described. I suppose he noticed the pensive and slightly blank expression on my face and immediately asked me: “Do you in your country not fight with your neighbors? “Are there no wars?” It tood me a moment to react “Ah yes,” I replied. I was though about what our version of their tooth story would be.
I continue to ponder things. It is impossible not to do that here, so far away from everything that we are used to.
We are not born wise. Wisdom is like a very high peak. You must be willing to grab a walking stick, and in the depth of your own silence, walk … walk. Asking yourself many questions, try to answer them and with a great need for Peace.
The fence that another group of “mamas” has built around the garden near the kitchen is now completed.
We try to share out the jobs among different families so that they can all benefit. This has meant offering clear explanations, striving to avoid hurt feelings and anger, and aiming to achieve understanding.
We will have fresh vegetables all year round, a luxury that always suits the kitchen well. Now it’s time to get down to digging and start planting.
“We will never know why one topic might attract us particularly: for me, the journeys to the African savannah have been a profound matter of observation, reflection and analysis of life and evolution.”
From the book -The African Elephant- Lisette Pons. Pag.34