This summer, I traveled to the bush in Kenya for six days and five nights. With me was my immediate family and my best friend and her family. The beauty of the land and its people exceeded anything that I could have imagined. What surprised me the most is the confirmation I received about healing, but I’ll get into that later. First, here is what our day looked like while exploring this beautiful country.
Our home away from home
We stayed in a small camp called Kicheche Mara Camp. “Kicheche Mara Camp is a classic tented camp hidden in a beautiful valley in a prime wildlife area of the Mara North Conservancy. The luxury tents are laid out alongside a seasonal stream from where you can observe the resident birdlife and plains game beyond” (https://kicheche.com/kicheche-mara/). Every morning we rose at 5:15 a.m. to attend our game drive (which is an excursion entailed to view wildlife on safari in our case from the comfort of a 4x4 open top vehicle) at 6:00 a.m. for breakfast on safari. We returned to our camp around 10:30 a.m. to have leisure time until lunch. We used this time to read, exercise, or have quality time with our families. At 1:00 p.m. lunch was served. I should mention the food at Kicheche is like nothing I have ever tasted; everything was fresh and bursting with flavor. After lunch we were encouraged to take a siesta and siesta we did! At 4:00 p.m. it was time for afternoon tea, then off to our evening game drive. Each day we enjoyed sundowner drinks and snacks as we took in the beautiful sunset. We spent most of our time with our guides, Peter and Gerald, who are both Kenyan natives from the Maasai people. They not only grew up on the land and had generational knowledge but were also KPSGA ( Kenya Professional Safari Guide Association) silver category guides.
Vehicle for game drives
Nursing Mother Elephant
Lion mating pair
Yawning Male Lion
Here are my thoughts.
First, as I observed the animals in their natural habit they were grounded and relaxed in their behavior. Our presence didn’t seem to affect their task at hand, whether that task was eating, lounging, mating, or playing. What we did had no influence on their purpose in that moment.
Second, the Mara and all the things that inhabited the Conservancy respected and relied on the other. It was obvious from the beginning that all things are connected. Yes the lion ate the buffalo, but the buffalo’s life provided nourishment for the jackal, hyenas, and the birds. Once deceased, their horns provide a nesting place for the moths, and the feces of their predators fertilize the earth which provides rich soil for plants and trees. The plants and trees are the primary nutrients for elephants, giraffes, and other herbivores, and yes, for the buffalo, too. Another example of this was a moment where at least 15 lion cubs (all under two years old) played together. Our guide explained that, like elephants, the lionesses all take care of the cubs. The cubs belong to the community. The wellness of the cubs were the prides priority and essential to their future.
Sundowner near pond
Here are my takeaways.
We are meant to live together and heal together. Our life affects those around us, and we are supposed to commune in ways that uplift and support each other. When we are confident in our place and value on this earth, we are less concerned with how others view us, for we already know our worth. Also, we won’t feel the need to take more than we should because we know that collectively we are all in this together. We can rely on each other. When I think of how practicing healing in the West it is so individualistic, I wonder how much of an impact we could make on our community if we all made the decision to collectively heal, to think about how our actions affect our community, to support our neighbors instead of watching them struggle. This confirmation was right on time as I continue my group work with Day Retreats, Destination Retreats, and Support Groups. Community Healing is essential!