Hello again from Malawi!
Today, instead of phone alarms and extreme heat, we were woken up to the sounds of the African jungle and overcast skies. The cooler temperatures and bouts of rain was a welcome change for everyone! After fresh coffee and tea we headed back onto the land cruisers for a second Safari and went deep into the jungle for some more animal sightings.
Everyone on the team was hoping to see some of the “Big 5” this morning. The Big 5 being: Water Buffalo, Lion, Elephant, Rhino, and Cheetah. As we drove deeper into the thick foliage it became harder to see anything but the more basic animals and a caged, small pack of wild dogs. While everyone on the cruiser was trying to stay positive, everyone was becoming somewhat underwhelmed. As we rounded a corner, Derek finally caught sight of wildlife lying along the riverbank. A massive Crocodile laid on the warm sand and slowly made its way into the Shire River. Not much further down the bank, was a cluster of hippos and another Croc, dubbed the “King of the River”. While these things were interesting, it still felt like we were missing out on something. Continuing on we saw nothing new or noteworthy until we were about a kilometre away from our accommodations. There, by the small watering hole, we had the luxury of seeing 3 beautiful giraffe. We felt it was a splendid way to end our safari even if we didn’t see anything of the Big 5.
Upon returning to the main sanctuary we had a nice breakfast and enjoyed a little bit of down time where some enjoyed a swim, and others just enjoyed the scenery. I was back at our tent when I heard Derek yelling and panting at me “ELEPHANTS! Ev! There’s ELEPHANTS!” (Thanks to Stephanie for spotting them first! 😉)
I think the whole team moved very fast to our tent’s front porch, where the best view seemed to be. The majesty of seeing a couple wild elephants so close in our proximity was such a true testament to God’s creation. Dennis kept saying “6 days folks” and it really resonated with me. God created all this beauty, not just here but the entire heavens and all the earth and everything in it in 6 days and on the 7th day he rested. I thought about the work we all did this past week and while still accomplishing a lot, it is nothing compared to the beauty of what God so masterfully created in those first 6 days!
We continued on with our day and had a good debriefing session with the team amidst baboons, Nyala, wild boars, and elephants in the jungle around us. Reflecting on everything, the good and the bad, was incredibly enlightening for all of us.
We then made our way out of the National Park and headed back to our accommodations in Blantyre. After quickly dropping off our things we set out into the City to get some last minute souvenirs, snacks for the long journey home and a beautiful dinner.
As I’m writing this, reflecting on not only today, but this week, I’m amazed at the growth. Not just personally but as a team.
Starting with being very far out of our comfort zones and essentially strangers, to becoming very comfortable with large bugs and all sorts of different species; to being very comfortable with farting, laughing and joking with these people in such a short amount of time, is something that I’ll cherish forever. Wrapping up this blog and our time together is bittersweet; bitter that our time together is coming to an end and sweet that we’ve had such an amazing opportunity and experience together in this beautiful Country. Forever thankful for this opportunity to serve and for these people we could serve with and for the people we could serve to. To God be the Glory!