Thinking back to my experience on safari, I can honestly say it was one of the most life changing experiences I have ever had. I never knew that a few days in the wilderness with wild animals could be so meaningful. There were so many memories made that I will never forget.
At the beginning of the 4 day trip, Joseph, our driver, taught us a lot about the Messiah people. As we drove to the Serengeti, we passed many of them and were able to learn to say hello in their language. Then, he taught us how to distinguish our greeting between the men and the women, so we were able to greet them in very respectful ways. Colleen managed to call a boy a woman, and he got really offended. Once we arrived at Serengeti, we had a great experience looking at the animals, watching them in their natural habitat, and reminiscing on our child hood dreams of one day being able to do an amazing trip like this. We practiced our Swahili and watched the animals, learning many facts about the animals and their way of life.
The next few days were spent doing all of these things and spending quality time getting to know each of the others on the trip and our drivers. We all managed to find our favorite driver and stick with him after that, so of course I rode with Joseph most of the time. We liked to joke with him, so one day I decided to memorize a funny Swahili phrase and say it to him. Lisa said it was fun that I was learning Swahili, but that wasn’t the kind of Swahili she was intending for me to study! 🙂
On our way home from the trip we had a very scary experience. I had asked Joseph a question so he turned around to clarify what i was saying, and when he turned back around there was a Messiah cow crossing the street. If you know anything about the Messiah, you know that you do not hit one of their cows. It’s a really big fine, and they will get angry with you and throw things at you. They also make you pay all kinds of fees and pretty much scrape you clean of your money because their cows are their way of living so they charge you all the money they would have earned from that cow. So, in order to avoid hitting the Messiah cow Joseph swerved off of the road and was heading straight for a pole in the ground. At last second, he managed to swerve to avoid that, but then there was a boulder in front of us and a huge ditch, so we went over the boulder and through the deep ditch before coming to a stop. Luckily, we only had a flat tire and everyone was fine so we were able to fix the tire and leave. As we were fixing the tire a whole group of Massiah, practically the whole Messiah village, came to make sure we were okay and thank us for not hitting their cow. It was a very crazy experience.
Overall, I thought that the whole experience was a dream come true! I loved everything, even though some of it might have been scary. I know that this was probably a once in a lifetime experience, and I know that I will never forget the amazing time I had with my fellow classmates and the drivers. I really want to move to Africa, so hopefully after I graduate from Grand Valley I will be able to figure out a way to make this dream come true! 🙂