African Fish Eagle
We Came to Botswana, Africa and left Inspired
She looked left, then to the right, then nervously turned further around. At a height of sixteen feet, she could see quite a distance and now felt confident to take a few more steps towards the watering hole, provided by the government of Botswana, amidst the patches of dry grass which made up the Kalahari Desert.
Repeating the process two more times she finally reached the sparkling spring of fresh water. Then with legs spread outward, forming an almost perfect equilateral triangle with the ground, she bent forward to drink.
On the right a group of impalas joined the giraffe and her baby half her size. As the impalas refreshed themselves three greater kudu joined them followed by two jackals and three warthogs. Resting comfortably in the midst of the spring was a hippopotamus, peacefully submerged in its center. None of the fearful "cats" were present and it was a lion that the mother feared the most - not so much for herself but for her offspring.
Kudu ............................ Jackal
No animal present staked a claim to the watering hole as its territory. Large or small they all shared. I began to think that this was the closest to a modern day Garden of Eden that I would ever see. A world of harmony amongst the different animal species. Why can't we humans learn to share in this manner?This was Takeaway Number One from Africa.
Eventually all the animals, save the hippo, left the waterhole. the hippo continued to slowly meander back and forth across the fifty meter-in-diameter spring. He seemed at peace but circumstances were soon to change.
Across the desert plains came the elephants, a juvenile followed by an adult and another juvenite. All were running, kicking up a cloud of dust behind that masked the the twenty or more to follow.
Arriving at the waterhole the entire family entered, drinking, slashing each other with the youngsters rolling around in the three foot deep pool, which they shared with the hippo leaving him his personal space.
After ten minutes of frolicking, they left to give an opportunity for a slightly smaller family which was on the way. It was pure joy that we observed and I began to try to recall the last time I felt such joy amidst our stress filled world.This was Africa's second takeaway.
Our time in the widerness of Botswanna took us to three camping sites over eight days. As we travelled south the two inch high patches of yellowish grass became intermingled with segments of a hardwood forest. In particular centuries old baobob trees appeared, with bark stripped by wandering elephants seeking nutrition.
Leopard, the forest preditor
After several hours of driving we suddenly arrived.
The awesome wonder of the rivers of the Okavenga Delta brought a new world.
Lilac Breasted Roller ... seated (left) and, on the right, in flight
Magnificent birds joined crocodiles, hippos and red lechwe antelopes all sharing the delta. The multi colored Lilac-breasted roller is one of nature's beauties whether resting or in flight. The delta also brought us to, per our guide, one of the rarest birds in the world, the Wattled Crane and the Saddle-billed stork, while fish eagles were seen perching in many locations.
Saddle billed stork ......................................................Wattled crane
Even more impressive was the change in the landscape.
Driving out of the dust of the dessert, we found a river encompassed by a deep green of a landscape well irrigated by the flow of delta rivers travelling some 1,000 miles from the mountains of Northern Angola. Just past the river, to its far side, the dessert returned. What a contrast in landscape.
This contrast was an undeniable visual of the resurrecting power of water, bringing abundant life to a barren land. It was also an impactful metaphor of the impact of God's spirit upon each of us. We all have faced the dullness of personal deserts. Yet when we open our hearts to faith, the power of God's spirit brings hope, energy, confidence and a determination to make this world a better place. A better place for humans, yes, but also for the special animals, which we experienced upon close and personal during our eight days camping within the wilderness of Northern Botswanna. That Spirit brings moments of pure joy as we observed amongst the elephants at the watering hole on our second day of our journey.
The emergence of the rivers of the Okavenga Delta amidst the dust and despair of the desert is takeaway number three from God's creation, barely touched by humankind, pure and very, very special.
|Any comments about our presentation on Africa are welcome: please write to Timferguson@lessonsforchristianyouth.com. Thank you in advance.|
|Coming soon: the wilderness of the world of Caperston is similar to that of earth with one difference. This will be revealed in the sequel to The Chest of Visions: Secrets of Caperston, which will be released this coming fall. Further information on the original story can be found at: The Chest of Visions Updated|
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