We had started the journey back to the exit gate, as we planned to leave the Serengeti before sunset. It was the last day of the safari, and I was reminiscing about the two nights I had spent in the jungle.
Suddenly our Jeep came to a halt.
We were surrounded by a pack of eight resting lionesses, including a baby. Time seemed to stand still. The next 15 minutes were the most surreal of my life, appreciating nature in its purist form.
My travels this summer took me to Tanzania, a country I’ve always wanted to visit. The highlight of the trip was undoubtedly the three days I spent in the Serengeti.
I keep a list of things I want to experience and the countries I want to visit during my lifetime. The Serengeti was very high up on the list, so my excitement level was at its peak when I entered the jungle for the first time.
I was accompanied by one of my best friends from high school and a tour guide named Msafiri, which translates to ‘traveler.’ One thing that fascinates me is the sheer size of the Serengeti region, covering an area of about 5,700 square miles. Visitors are only allowed to remain on a single road that cuts through the entire nature reserve park.
As I embarked on the three-day journey, I didn’t know what to expect. What surprised me the most was the feeling of driving through endless nature. I felt tremendously calm and patient throughout. I was in constant awe as I appreciated each and every magnificent creature we encountered. Time slowed down as I was exposed to a strong sense of connection to the natural world.
This made me appreciate the countless blessings I have been given and exposed me to a new way of living. ‘Haraka haraka haina baraka’ was what Msafiri said regarding his way of life. The phrase translates to, ‘hurry, hurry, has no benefits.’
There is no blessing in rushing things, so always be patient.
Msafiri is only 27 and has been driving people around in the jungle for the last seven years, so there were many things to learn from his motto and free-spirited life. The biggest thing I took from him was the value of patience. Msafiri’s job requires him to be extremely patient on a daily basis as he is consistently on the lookout for animals. He told me that there is an art to spotting animals and if he tries to rush the process, he is rarely successful.
His words truly inspired me as I lost track of time, traveling deeper and deeper into a natural rhythm of living life in the Savannah. It was a wonderful feeling to live in the moment and eliminate all the stress I had in my day-to-day life.
Having no mobile service for most parts of the trip also helped this process, making me realize how dependent on technology our society has collectively become. With a whole world out there, we can do so much more with our time if we try to limit our use of technology on a daily basis.
The time I spent in the jungle gave me a new lease on life. ‘Haraka haraka haina baraka’ indeed held true for all the people I met in Tanzania. Even though the country is going through tough economic times and the overall environment in the country is negative, the people are always at peace and relaxed.
When I got back to Lehigh, I started to notice how stressful and hectic our lives have become. Everything is so fast-paced, and we sometimes forget to live in the moment, which can lead unnecessary stress and issues that are not good for our mental health.
Since I returned from Tanzania, I have been determined to implement the lessons I learned into my daily life, and I can already notice a positive impact.
Saad Mansoor, ’20, is an associate news editor for The Brown and White. He can be reached at [email protected]