Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Two Dollar Torch and Other Nonsense

The day before I left for Zimbabwe I remembered that, although the lodge where I stay has electricity, it is sketchy at best.

So I went to buy a flashlight.

The price range jumped from $2 to $20, and because I am cheap I paid the 2 bucks and didn't give it another thought.

The flashlight was satisfactory in my little room when the electricity went out. It gave me enough light to brush my teeth, read my Bible, write in my journal, and check my bed for centipedes. You know, all the important things.

I am happy to say that for the most part I had gone my entire trip anxiety free. If you remember, I asked for prayer about anxiety shortly before I left. It was a new world to me to feel gripping fear over little things, and I was unsure how to deal with it to say the least. But I am happy to say that God answered prayer, and that throughout my journey I was anxiety free....

for the most part.

That is other than day two... when I was walking home (back to the lodge) from Tecla's house. At night. No street lamps. By myself. With a $2 flashlight.

If I haven't mentioned, the area I stay in is part of the national reserve. Meaning there are lots of wild animals. Lions, baboons, elephants, lions, warthogs, hippos, lions, kudu, water buffalo, lions, and did I mention


Lets just say that the 10 minute walk seemed about 3 hours that night. And a $2 flashlight....not satisfactory for scanning the bushes for lions waiting to pounce in the Zimbabwe night.

When I reached the lodge the guard helped me push open the gate, looked behind me, looked at me like I was crazy, and said, "You are without escort?" I told him yes, and realized that although I had walked that same path at night and alone countless times in the past, that I was probably crazy for doing so.

The next thing he told me was that my torch was smart.

In translation, that means that he liked my flashlight.

(In Africa the word smart is equivalent to nice, clean, pretty, handsome, happy, and is a wonderful compliment. For example, if you like the way someone is dressed, you would tell them that they look very smart. This concludes your Africa 101 lesson.)

As my little $2 flashlight led me to my room, I passed another guest at the lodge, and he too told me my torch was smart. I had to chuckle, because all I could think about moments before was that I would soon be devoured by a lion soley because I had chosen that stupid $2 flashlight over the $20 one.

In reality, I know that no matter the strength of my flashlight, it would not have saved me from a lion. Everyone knows that lions attack from behind and go straight for the spinal cord. But needless to say, I realized that I am not quite as courageous as I was a few years backs (exhibit A), and I opted to head home from Tecla's house at sunset the remainder of my visit.

I left my smart two dollar torch as a gift to the night guard along with some extra batteries. I think he will appreciate it much more than I.

(I know I got you all worked up about my "big announcement"...well, its still coming, but there are some things I have to organize before I can reveal it. But, because many of you have emailed thinking I am adopting or moving, I will burst that bubble and say it's not that big. It has to do with a new project...and that's all I'll say...)

(Oh, and sorry this post went nowhere fast, I didn't make any of the points I was hoping to, but that is how my mind is working nowadays.)


Melissa Irwin said...

Oh my word.... when I go I stay in the city so only a few monkeys here and there. Just cannot imagine lions hiding in the brush. I stayed one night at a reserve and could hear the lions roaring at night...a chilling to the bone sound. Girl... my heart is rapidly beating right now. Whew.

Jess Elyse said...

haha no matter how much your "torch" would have cost, it was a "smart" investment. :-)

I think you should do a series of Africa 101 Lessons.

Rebecca said...

@Melissa- Yes, the Vic Falls area is def different than the big city! The first day arrived in 2006a man was killed by a water buffalo just down the road...and I thought to myself "Where in the world am I?!?" ALthough I have never just happened upon a lion like I have elephants and such, I have heard stories....

@Jess- hmmm...Africa 101 series, I'll have to do some brainstorming :)