I had to hop through a few places first, from the airstrip at my little corner of the garden to the Geneva of Africa and on towards the rest of my destinations. An officer from the control room called to let me know that the pilot of the plane was going to land at the airstrip in 30 minutes. I shut down my computer, having handed over everything I needed to and quickly drove to the house to collect my luggage, almost breaking out into song from excitement.
It was not until I was turning into my driveway, that I saw them…there was an elephant right next to the house… I slowed down, and when I looked around I found that there were quite a number of them especially close to where I normally parked the car. There were also some now behind me across the road that I had come along… how could I have missed them?
It was just a few days before that I had had that mock charge experience on my way up the hill, but I was feeling a little brave this time. The elephant in the driveway had moved off a little, and I was able to drive in. I stopped the vehicle, pondered a little about my next step. The elephant was now maybe about 5-6m away from the hood of the vehicle and did not seem at all bothered about me. I decided to make a dash for it.
I told my colleague who was going to keep the vehicle when I left, to stay put. I got out of the vehicle, moved quickly round the house to the verandah, got up the stairs and luckily found there were no elephants on this side of the house. I got into the house and began to put out my luggage. I was lucky. With the help of my colleague, we got the luggage safely into the vehicle and by the time we were through, the elephants had moved away from the vicinity of the house… or so we thought.
It was not until I got to the end of my driveway that I realized that the elephants had not moved very far away at all… in fact, they were now squarely in the middle of the road that I needed to use to get to the airstrip… and there was no other way round. I had been effectively stopped! They could stay there for hours and I would miss my plane and all other flights from here on.
Communication on the walkie talkie radio was indicating that by now the pilot had landed and would be leaving soon. Yet, here I was still 15 minutes away from the airstrip! We communicated the problem, then began to seek help. I had been brave enough to get out of the vehicle, but trying to force my way through the elephants was beyond me. My colleague from the wildlife department finally came driving through and gently but firmly pushed forward while the elephants stepped back reluctantly… towards me! As I pondered on whether to reverse or not (still remembering the dangers of reversing before an elephant) they eventually stepped off the road across the road from me and I breathed a sigh of relief. He drove on through to where I was and began to turn around, preparing to drive ahead of me.
Horror of horrors! The largest of the elephants having realized that he had been pushed off the road, got quickly back into the middle of the road, and turned to face us squarely! It was as if he knew we were going to want to pass there again and he was getting ready for a fight! And to make matters worse, others followed him back onto the road. I held my breathe… for the second time that week. The pilot and control room were still on the radio asking about our status and whether I was going to make it… the pilot was on a schedule and could not wait too much longer…
I closed my eyes and prayed to God again for safety. The vehicle in front had began to push ahead, gently once again, but firmly, inch, by inch…and I followed, not sure how far away I should keep, but instinctively making sure there was not enough space between us for an elephant to wedge in between us as we drove through. Fortunately they were in a good mood that day and they stepped back again, maybe realizing we were not being aggressive because our intent was good.
And so I made it to my long awaited holiday, thanking God once again, for making me realize, that He is the one that gives life, and everything in creation is within His power and authority.
What a way to begin a holiday!
Come… walk with me in the Garden
Copyright © 2010, Ophelia Swai. All Rights Reserved.