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Head in the sand

Wanda Smith's column from this week's issue of The Moose Jaw Express
On the Front Porch by Wanda Smith

As you may recall, my family went to South Africa as missionaries in the late 70s. Although pretty young, I do remember much of that experience. Today, it is almost surreal to think that I really did step foot on the African continent but it is true that I did. One of the memories I will hold dear is the tour we took of Kruger National Park.

Kruger National Park is in northeastern South Africa. One of Africa’s largest game reserves, it includes hundreds of animals, reptiles and birds. The “Big 5,” as they are referred to, all live within the boundaries of this park. Lions, leopards, rhinoceroses, elephants and water buffalos call this park home. The landscape is quite varied with mountains, tropical forests and bush plains.

To put the size of Kruger National Park into perspective, the park would be equal to the grand sum of the total land base of the Rocky Moutain Parks including Banff National Park, Jasper National Park, Kootenay National Park, Waterton Lakes National Park and Yoho National Park.

We saw geological wonders including “God’s Window”, a panoramic view of a ravine covered with lush forest. It is part of a 250 km long expanse of cliffs and extravagant beauty. Located on the Panorama Route, a popular tourist passage along the Blyde River Canyon, the third largest canyon in the world. On the northern edge of the Drakensberg Mountain Range, you’ll find “The Three Rondavels,” three mountain tops that look very similar to African huts. The view is utterly breathtaking.

Not only was the landscape spectacular, the living creatures were equally as amazing. There is no guarantee, when one is on a self-guided tour, that you would be able to see the Big 5 or any other of the wildlife within the park. However, we saw many of the African wildlife one usually only reads about. Up front and personal, we saw monkeys, giraffes, elephants, water buffalo, hippos, zebra, flamingos and so many others. It was a life-impacting field trip to say the least!

One of the bird species we saw besides flamingos was the ostrich! They are definitely an interesting creature. Did you know ostriches are farmed for their meat, eggs and feathers? They are also very dangerous. Their legs are very strong and their stride can span 10 to 16 feet, running up to 45 miles per hour, and are very capable of killing humans and lions.  

Did you know the phrase, “bury your head in the sand,” is a myth? The fact is that ostriches do not bury their head in the sand when a predator is near. There is no concrete evidence suggesting why this phrase came to be. Although ostriches do not bury their heads in the sand, the proverb boasts truth and is certainly a phrase to live by.

To bury one’s head in the sand is “ refuse to think about unpleasant facts, although they will have an influence on your situation.” It is a wise person who faces situations head on instead of burying their head in the sand. Daniel 11:32 says “...the people who know their God will be strong and take action.”  

Today, we are faced with negative narratives that are counterproductive. Are we being swept swiftly into the virus of fear that has captured the hearts of most people, globally? Dear readers, it is time to get our heads out of the sand and start asking the important questions. Let’s face the unpleasant facts and begin to take a stand for what is right and true.   

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the position of this publication.  

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