Dusk in Africa comes with a soundtrack of screams and squawks from the bush babies, haunting nighttime bird calls, unknown rustling at the edge of the forest, and the whoosh of bats dive-bombing our verandah as we sit outside in the waning light, enjoying a bite of dinner. It’s a balancing act, swatting at mosquitos while ducking from the bats, trying not to knock over our drinks or send our dinner plates careening off the table. To be fair, it is also the bats’ dinner hour, and they are doing quite a good job at eliminating the flying bugs around us. But when they buzz your head, a half inch away, it can be unsettling. And it’s not just a bat; there are at least five or six of them, so a relaxing meal it is not. We refuse to give up and go inside though – just learning how to adjust to our new dinner companions.
That rustling though of leaves in the acacia forest. Is it the wind, or perhaps something traipsing along the edge, watching us from behind a cloak of leaves and brush? Are those eyes staring back at me, or is it a stray beam of light bouncing through my glass of tequila causing me to see things that aren’t really there? Another few sips and I’ll have forgotten about those eyes and probably be fretting over something else. There are plenty of odd things to fret about here. I tell myself one day this will all be completely normal, but for now I’m on the lookout.
Dawning of the day…
In the predawn hours, roosters do their best to make us get out of bed earlier than we want, and the doves chant ‘get up and go to work, get up and go to work’! Which of course we are not going to do so we pay them no heed. We’re not officially retired yet, but we are practicing what it will be like, and our first exercise is learning how to sleep in. We haven’t made it past 5:30 a.m. yet, so we have a way to go, but at least we can get up when we want.
Morning coffee (now that we are, in fact, up) outside on the front veranda is a peaceful way to start the day. Until we notice a very large area of the grass moving and heaving, although there’s not a critter in sight. This is unnerving – what could be creeping around under the sod causing that kind of visible disturbance? My first thought was snakes, and lots of them, followed by what a shame it will be to have to leave Tanzania the day after we got here. But then a small, brilliant red head pops up, followed by countless others, pop pop pop, and come to find out the grass is full of tiny Fire Finches who are simply trying to get some breakfast.
What a huge relief! I am not ready for lots of snakes, and never will be. Watching the antics of these little guys I thought if only they would head out to the path in the forest where we walked yesterday, they could feast for hours on the long line of safari ants we watched marching along…
…a seven or eight foot long swathe of them (that we could see anyway), looking for something to devour on their way to wherever they were going. They are like land piranhas and can consume just about anything in their path, very large immobile animals included. Best to jump over them and keep on walking.
Don’t let fear immobilize you…
Living in Tanzania is liberating, scary, overwhelming and exciting at the same time. While the coffee was brewing earlier, I perused the communal bookshelf to see if anything might jump out at me besides a large spider that would be good to read. Oprah Winfrey’s book What I Know For Sure yelled ‘pick me, pick me’, so I did.
I randomly opened to a chapter that started …’How can I realize my potential more fully…especially when contemplating what’s next in my life? Sometimes moving on has terrified me, but making a bold move is often
the only way to advance towards the grandest vision the universe has for you. Don’t let fear immobilize you, and remember you are always a single choice away from a new beginning’.
There is so much power in that line of thinking, and these sentences felt like a cosmic confirmation that we have made the right decision. This has been my mantra throughout most of my life; to help propel me forward and to overcome the fear of making big changes. Often this has meant leaving loved ones behind and saying good-bye to important parts of my life, not easy in the past and even harder now.
My greatest fear though has come from the thought of not having taken those chances and one day realizing I was out of time. So, I press on, despite everything that’s fighting for my attention and trying to get me to stay in my comfort zone, snakes and spiders be damned!
So, karibu (welcome) to our new chapter – we’re glad you’re here!
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