The Sunday Mail
WHEN faced with a life or death situation what do you do?
Finding yourself, as a woman, having to deal with things that are designed for men, what do you do?
Wanting to run, but with nowhere to run to, what do you do? — Extract from the book “Born to Fight”
. . . “Mum! I’m scared,” I whispered to my mother as I woke up in the middle of the night stretching out my hands to grab her. The sound of unpleasant footsteps had woken me up.
“Ssshhh, keep calm,” mum answered back as she hugged me in her arms.
I felt her heart thudding like never before, however, she tried hard to be strong. She grabbed a match from a matchbox quickly and put the lamp on. Immediately, she took her Bible and started declaring Psalm 23.
As soon as she had finished the psalm, she rose up slowly and peeped through the tiny window.
“Jesus Christ!” she screamed stepping backward in surprise. Without saying a word, I grabbed a stool that was nearby, climbed on top of it and peeped through the window also. The moon was shining brightly that night and hence I could clearly see a herd of elephants grazing outside our hut.
Some were even feeding on the roof of our little hut since it was thatched with grass. I jumped down the stool and grabbed mum’s Bible.
Holding the Bible in my hand I softly whispered, “God heard you mum, come back to sleep.”
She nodded her head in agreement and we both got back under our blankets. However, we did not fall asleep immediately. I can’t remember how I closed my eyes, but all I know is that I must have eventually fallen asleep, as I was then later woken up by a cry from my little brother. This was how we experienced our first night in Dande.
The ancient jungle
I grew up in a real jungle in Dande valley with all kinds of animals. In simple words we stayed together with wild animals. We had to be intentional and deliberate on how to live so that we do not fall prey to these wild animals.
We meant different things to these animals, to some we were just, but delicious food, to some we were simply good enemies and to others we were like good buddies.
This means we had to study these animals and what we meant to them so that we could come up with strategies of how to react around them, to avoid falling prey. One thing stood out for us though, an animal always has the capacity to hurt you regardless of its size and nature. As such we stayed alert even around those seemingly friendly animals. This went on for years and almost each day had its wild encounters.
It wasn’t fun, we wished ourselves out of the situation, but there were no shortcuts to getting out of the situation.
My mum played a vital role to making sure that we remained alert and ready to take the necessary action as and when required. Jungle life was hard and painful most of the time, but it wasn’t all bad, we enjoyed organic food like game meat and forest fruits most of the time.
Fast forwarding the story to present day. We are in a jungle. Today’s jungle is found in the daily life that we live, in our different environments. It is full of social animals, economic animals, technological animals, mental animals, health animals and environmental animals just to mention a few.
Many have fallen prey to these animals because they did not realise that they are surrounded by dangerous animals. Others became too friendly with the seemingly friendly animals and they got hurt. Others didn’t make it alive. These animals require us to study them in order to gain knowledge and understand how to conquer them.
These animals can kill; they are so strong. For instance, a significant number of children are doing drugs, exposed to pornography and end up involved in sexual activities and doing wrong things due to peer pressure. Young adults are getting involved in criminal activities, even mature people are found in wrong places at the wrong time etc. Mental challenges, sickness and unwanted babies are ever increasing. All these are the effects of the animals around us when we fail to handle them.
Now the question is, how do we handle these animals?
The most important thing is to realise and accept that you are in a jungle, you are surrounded by wild animals and you need to fight your way out. You then need to be intentional, to be alert, to focus and come up with winning strategies so that you don’t fall prey.
Lessons from the
natural jungle life
Mothers arise and shine, there is an inner strength and boldness inside of you.
My mum found the strength to pray, peep through the window and get back into the blankets while surrounded by elephants. How many elephants are surrounding us today? The knowledge that an elephant doesn’t immediately attack should give you good time to prepare accordingly and gain experience before you come across a buffalo that is always angry and ready to attack.
Before you panic and rush to act, shhhhh keep calm and think before you act. Strategise accordingly.
Catch them young — what my mother did was all in my eyes. I learnt boldness, I learnt the power of prayer and faith, I learnt that the first response in the middle of a crisis is sobriety — be clam and think before you act and I learnt to lead by example. Whatever you are doing, be careful your children are watching and they will follow after you.
Jungle life is a mixed bag with both goodies and bad . . . life can be sweet or bitter depending on which side you fall. While you find your way out of the jungle, enjoy the game meat and the forest fruits.
Today Dande valley is no longer as it was, many people have now filled up the place and it is a pleasant place to be now. However, looking back I can still say while I worked my way out of the jungle, I enjoyed the game meat and the forest fruits and I miss them.
Food for thought
What kind of animals are surrounding you? Are they social, economic, technological or it’s a combination? Pause . . . think . . . act . . . and win.
Victory does not discriminate, it belongs to everyone who fights for it. It is not just a matter of fighting anyhow, it is a matter of fighting with winning strategies.
So yes the struggle is real, but the victory is certain…. apply some winning strategies. All the best.
Rutendo Gwatidzo is an author, HR consultant, teambuilder, transformational speaker and entrepreneur. She helps individuals live a purpose driven life by changing perspectives. Her book “Born to Fight” teaches on how to embrace challenges for positive outcomes through implying winning strategies.