By Anita Tripathi
The most intriguing part about being a citizen of the world is that we get to learn how fervently we can enjoy life when we see others relishing theirs, vividly, even with lesser resources than us. And, my trip to Serengeti National Park in Tanzania was a revealing experience that highlighted this basic truth.
Back in the scorching grasslands of Serengeti, an Indian family along with some natives, provided lodging and accommodation for tourists, who wished to get a feel of a ‘night stay’ in one of the world’s most favourite national parks. Since we were one of them, we planned a night’s stay in the lodge.
Being absolutely tired from the day’s exertion, we paid little attention to the details in the lodge. None of us took a moment out, to contemplate on the remarkable manner in which the lodge was managed. Perhaps, the fact that we felt no difference between the lodge and any other hotel we’ve stayed in was the greatest testimony to their management skills. By dinner time, we were all in a lighter frame of mind. There were around 10 people around the dining table and we chatted and made light conversation. But, the most remarkable part was the campfire, which was lit in the open. The lodge owner and his wife conversed with us on the difficulties they faced in order to run the place. They told us about life in that secluded place and, how they had grown used to enjoy it now. And, a peek into the life they lead left me wonderstruck.
Starting from management of food and water supply to health-related issues, from updating themselves on current affairs in the country to coping up with the unfavourable weather conditions of that place, from contacting their relatives and friends to employing people to work for the lodge -everything had been a challenge in itself. After further conversation, I learnt that they were originally from Haryana and had settled down in Tanzania for nearly two decades. Moreover, they remembered their early experiences, when animals like leopards and ostriches would walk right into the lobby!
After a fulfilling conversation, we retired to our rooms and the night experience was both- enthralling as well as scary. We heard sounds of animals throughout the night, which triggered anxiety as well as curiosity. The sight of an elephant peeking through the window or of a leopard on a tree were equally thrilling. The dawn was resonant with the gleeful chirping of birds. And after nearly a week, we had a rich Indian breakfast prepared especially for us by the owners’ family. And after expressing our gratitude to them, we left for Arusha.
But, what remains so deeply engraved in my memory is their frugal management of resources and their remarkable contribution to the ecosystem of that place. I have come to learn that management and sustainability are merely not ideal concepts talked about in Universities, they are actually being practiced by people in remote places like these.
(Anita Tripathi is a researcher in the field of management and Science and hold degrees of MSc, MBA and MPhil. along with an experience of more than 5 years. She is an enthusiast, who likes to explore possibilities in her field, which can be a cornerstone for future social changes. Her experience spans teaching and research in higher education system in Environmental Science and Management, and she has been associated with a project in United Nations too. She is passionate about writing on social issues.)