African Safari Family Legacy
WHY WE SELECTED AURAM
Written By: Cliff McKenzie
Africa is about coming face-to-face with the ultimate legacy of all humanity--the roots of our existence.
For many of us six billion people who currently inhabit this earth, we are more concerned with our future and present than our past.
We are in a hurry to develop, modernize, convert, alter, improve, expand and streamline our lives toward a goal of peace and prosperity for all--especially us--and to distance ourselves from the pain and suffering of thousands of years of struggle to evolve into modern beings who jump on airplanes, plug in computers, and drive through fast-food eateries to fill our guts.
We don't want to go back to the days when our ancestors walked half-hunched with a club in his or her hand, knuckles dragging on the ground, looking for a creature to club to death and then drag back to the cave so the rest of the clan could shout and dance and ravish over fresh meat.
Today, we want freedom from the past. We don't want to revisit plagues and famine. Or, to go back to the days when a mere cut led to infection and death. We want to rush into the future where it is safe, and we live to be a hundred and fifty with new hearts, lungs and livers from transplants, and heaps of money in the bank to support our families so they will be free of poverty and suffering.
But in our headlong rush to become "more modern" we forget that we haven't advanced much at all in many areas. In some cases, we're still the knuckle dragging, club swinging, half-hunched creature that rose out of the Olduvai Gorge more than a million years ago and started the Legacy Of Humanity.
Despite all our evolution, all our wisdom and knowledge, we still wage brutal, horrible war on one another, resulting in the senseless deaths of countless tens of thousands, and often millions, because we either believe we're right and the other people are wrong, or, we think we're right and others are wrong, or, in some cases, because power ultimately goes to those with the biggest weapons.
HE WHO CARRIES THE BIGGEST CLUB WINS
Back in the cave days, the guy with the biggest club--the clan with the most vicious of all warriors--ruled.
Aside from the ugly brute violence that is inherent in humans, there is an equal or greater dose of great kindness and humanity.
Daily, these "gentle and compassionate" Hands of Humanity reach across continents and cradle the trembling hand of a person stricken with a strange disease or offer food to the starving and hope for the hopeless. Historically, human compassion ultimately trumps human brutality. But the battle seems eternal.
If there is a legacy for humans, it sometimes seems to be written in the blood of the innocent. But down deep in the core of all humans, there is a struggle to walk upright and noble and to pass that legacy of peace and prosperity for all on to the children's children's children.
By any measure, there is an overwhelming desire for all peoples of the world to advance forward toward some stable platform of uniform peace and prosperity where all peoples are free to live as they desire without fear of war, disease, poverty or tyranny. Some call this idealism. Others call it hope for humanity.
THE GREAT INTERSECTION OF HUMAN DEVELOPMENT
What is overlooked in the great measure of human evolution toward this "ultimate perfection" and "unity" of all, is that every human being came from one single source. There was one intersection from which humans scattered about the earth seeding various homelands in far-distant places. That intersection is the Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania where the bones of the first humans were discovered.
Setting aside for the moment religious or spiritual arguments regarding the Creation Of Humanity, and looking simply at the fact that no matter how you cut the cloth, there is one thread and one needle that originally wove the first being, the question is: where did that original stitching of the first human being occur? In other words: Where Is The Home Of All Humanity? Where are our greatest grandparents buried?
That has--at least for the present and within the scope of science--been decided to be the Olduvai Gorge, or, commonly known at the "Cradle of Man."
WE CANNOT SEPARATE OUR ONENESS
Here was found the skeletal remains of the first humans--those great ancestors who rose up to walk on two legs and whose thumb's great architecture allowed him and her to make tools and advance into cognitive, rational beings.
So, here we stand.
More than a million years ago we stood upright for the first time on an earth that is over five billion years old. We forget the dinosaurs went extinct some 160 million years ago, so our existence as walking beings is miniscule in the great scope of Time.
What is even more startling is that we as human beings didn't start speaking until around 30,000 years ago. Our legacy isn't old. Compared to the majority of creatures on earth, we are the babies, the infants of evolution.
So when one decides to make a trip to Africa to "see the animals" and "go on a safari" there is a huge undercurrent at play that most of us--in our madding rush to advance our life and experiences in the modern world--tend to forget.
We forget we are heading to our "homeland."
Some people may protest this idea because they are Irish or German or English or Asian or European or Middle Eastern or Chinese or Japanese, or Baptists or Catholics or Hindus or Moslems or any host of fractionalization of human modern development.
There are, after all, some 600 different spoken languages and a couple of hundred different countries, plus seven continents and nuclear missiles and people who land on the moon plus satellites that can spy on anyone anywhere at anytime. Why claim Africa as one's ultimate homestead?
THE HUMAN FAMILY STANDS STRONGER
Some of us might attempt to think we are better, more advanced, more cultured, more evolved, more technological, wealthier, healthier and happier than others. By cleaving our heritages from the trunk of the tree and sitting out as far as we can on the branches of the Tree Of Life, we find ourselves disenfranchised from many others because of race, color, creed, ethnicity, religion, economic status, cultural habits or, simply because we wish to be "unique" and disavow our relationship with the whole.
Some have attempted ethnic cleansing to "purify" their gene pool on the assumption that one breed of humanity is superior over another, only to have these attempts fail. The human "family" resists attempts to cleanse it. We treasure sovereignty, the right to have our own clan. But, when pressed to the wall, we realize we are all one, true parents of the current and future children of the world.
Human beings--despite all attempts to pasteurize their differences into a homogenous whole--are all the same!
Under the skin, beneath the bone structure, human emotions and desires are absolutely equal.
What mother doesn't want his or her child to become "rich" and "famous" in some form or another?
"What parent doesn't want "peace" and "prosperity" for his or her children and grandchildren?
When one attempts to divide the world into many different cultures and classes, the attempt is thwarted when a room full of babies from all the far corners of the earth is visited. Here, in the innocence of diversity is unanimity, oneness, solidarity of innocence.
Children are the innocent exclamation point of our single source of being, and, no matter how hard-hearted one attempts to be, denying the common innocence and equality of all children is the act of a criminal.
AFRICA--HOME TO THE CHILDREN OF HUMANITY
If one stretches the imagination, Africa is the home of the "Children Of Humanity!"
Olduvai Gorge, where the remains of the first humans to walk upright were located, is more appropriately the "Cradle of Our Children."
It is our legacy to visit this source, to touch the earth that sourced our greatest of greatest grandchildren.
They, as we, were adventurers.
They spread to the four corners of the earth.
Some became shorter than others, some evolved with squinty eyes, some with thick foreheads, some with yellow skin, some with white, some with brown, others with white.
The Legacy Of Humanity grew so diverse we built walls around our own "identity" and thought of Africa as the land of "mystery." Some say the continent is shaped like a question mark, inviting the mystery of its own presence to await an answer.
The answer is, when you look at the long length of human history, that Africa is not a question mark. It is an exclamation point!
Africa is the beginning, the source of Human Legacy!
OUR KNUCLE DRAGGING HISTORY
Whatever history we have accumulated over the past million years of knuckle dragging, it all began in Africa.
Our great great great great to the nth power grandma and grandpa rose up and walked, migrated, foraged and survived to create our differences, our separations from others in culture, language, religion, belief systems, ethnicity, economics and a host of other diverse elements that tend to block our unity with a single common source.
To import the Legacy of Humanity upon us takes a sledge hammer.
We have all been inoculated to our specific differences. I am, for example, a white American of Irish-Scotch descent, who is a Catholic, and a Republican, and, a New Yorker!
I certainly don't think of myself as an African.
I don't put down that my original ancestors came from the Olduvai Gorge in East Africa.
But, when it comes time for me to tell my grandchildren where my original roots are based, I don't have a clue. I have no idea where the Scotch really came from, or the Irish. They had to come from some place, from some place from some place. But where?
In the greatest example of truth about our existence on this earth, the key that unlocks the mystery of Where I Came From rests in the earth of Africa's Olduvai Gorge.
KNEELING ON THE CRADLE OF HUMANITY
There, I can kneel on the earth and touch the Birth Of Humanity.
By doing this, I show no disrespect to any religious belief that adheres to the ideal of a Creator or Higher Power.
If there is a benevolent Supreme Being, a God as you may elect to understand the mystery of existence, then the womb of human evolution is the Olduvai Gorge.
Here, more than a million years ago, the separation between the non-cognitive animal and cogent human being began--at least, from a scientific and biological viewpoint.
And, even if one is so inclined to believe in more spiritual beginnings that includes such things as a Garden of Eden, then one cannot ignore the possibility that Olduvai Gorge is, in some way, related to the Garden of Eden.
Up from the floor of the earth rose humans as we know them today. It took more than a million years for them to write the Bible and Koran and Tao and the Tora and a host of other documents citing the beginning of human laws of kindness and goodness we call organized religion, but they rose, nevertheless.
There is no place else on this earth we can identify as the Cradle of Humanity.
So when my wife and I were planning our safari to Africa, we began to think about making this journey more than an experience of gazing at lions or elephants, or the awe of seeing a cheetah chasing a gazelle for lunch.
As grandparents of four grandchildren, we wanted to bring something back from Africa that was greater than simple pictures and tales of our experience in the wild.
THE LEGACY OF HUMAN EXISTENCE
We decided we'd bring back a piece of earth from the Cradle of Humanity.
We would return to our grandchildren a great Legacy--a piece of where human history began.
Then we thought more about it.
What if we brought our grandchildren to Africa?
What if we started a savings plan for them to visit Africa and let them touch the earth themselves from whence sprang all humans as we know them today?
What if their parents went with them and the whole family visited Africa not just to enjoy its magic and bewitching glamour of timeless beauty, but to instill within their hearts and souls they visited the headwaters of all human existence and touched the soil that represented the Cradle of Humanity?
And, what if they set it up in their minds that their children and grandchildren would make that same journey to see that same sight and feel that same soil?
What greater Legacy to leave a child than to unite that child with its true and honest past, to embrace that child's ultimate grandparents whose age exceeded a million years?
The more we thought about this idea, the stronger and more valuable the trip to Africa became.
CANCER VICTIMS LOOK AT LEGACIES
Since my wife and I are both cancer victims, we've had a brush with death. We know our time is limited, and whatever gifts we give our children and grandchildren should be the most valuable possible, the richest, the most precious on earth.
What greater gift to give our grandchildren than a Legacy of Existence--their existence. Our existence. Everyone's existence.
Excluding religious or spiritual arguments, the pure biological and scientific facts are self proclaiming--we are all Africans by descent.
We've just grown out of our Original Legacy. We've cut it into tiny, invisible pieces of cultural, ethnic, economic, religious, political and geographical differences until we forgot to remember that we came from one singular source.
In all science and biology books that represent evolution, there is unquestionable commentary that our history as modern humans sources back to Olduvai Gorge--our Original Legacy.
A Family Legacy Safari cannot be complete without understanding--whether you accept the facts or not--that part of the journey to Africa must include a reverence not just for the "wild" or the "magic and mystery" of Africa, but to feel the heartbeat of all human existence thundering under our feet.
THE TRUTH OF EXISTENCE EXISTS
As parents and grandparents, the greatest gift we can present our children, is the truth of their existence.
What mesmerizes anyone about Africa is its "wildness," and the diversity of its creatures. Like Noah's Ark, the creatures of all kinds and shapes co-exist in one place.
This is the Ultimate Legacy we all seek for our children and all children throughout the world--to coexist in harmony.
If a child were to accompany a parent or grandparent to Africa, the lessons of human interaction as it should be, could be, would be self evident.
Take war, for example.
Those who might be inclined to chide Africa as a world of animal violence need to take a second look at "harmony" and "balance" as it is represented in Africa.
War is indiscriminate killing of others. Bullets do not discriminate between the innocent and the warrior. Neither does a land mine or a bomb. Wars destroy virtually everything in its path.
In Africa, as is the rule in all the animal kingdom, one creature only kills what it can eat. A full lion will walk past a fattened lamb.
Creatures only kill to fill empty stomachs, and only kill what they can eat.
If human beings followed this rule, wars would be over before they start because each warrior would have to stop and eat each person he or she killed before moving on to the next target.
Because of the law of "killing only what one can eat" Africa's wild is harmonious and balanced. The lions and zebras can co-exist so long as the lion isn't hungry. And even when the lion is hungry, it only kills what it can eat.
This is one of the greatest lessons a child can learn.
Here in Africa, life is not about the "survival of the strongest" but about the harmonious balance and prosperity of all the creatures.
The creatures of Africa serve as the guardians and sentinels of the Cradle of Humanity. They stroll about as punctuation that truth is timeless, and the great legacy of life is learning to live in harmony.
AURAM SAFARIS OFFERS THE LEGACY SAFARI VALUES
Part of enjoying the Legacy of Africa is to have a tour company that understands the ultimate importance of a safari.
It is a journey.
And not just a journey to see wild animals, but a journey into the soul of human existence as it was in the beginning and will be forever.
Auram Safaris was founded on the principle of uniting people with Africa in a marriage between the soul of the land the heart of the people who visit it.
Rich in personal attention and consideration for the goals of the traveler, the staff at Auram Safaris seeks to satisfy the thirst of the traveler to become part of Africa, to blend into its landscape as the child nestles into the crook of a parent's welcoming arm.
In our case, we contacted Zainab at Auram Safaris about our concept of creating a Family Legacy Safari.
We were met with great enthusiasm, kindness and support about our mission of making our safari a Legacy Adventure.
We shared our desire to embark on a Legacy Safari with Zainab. She was thrilled with the idea of the Legacy Safari. Over the course of a number of months, she carefully planned a perfect African Legacy Safari.
Even though we had contacted a number of safari companies in the beginning, we found the personal touch and warmth of Auram Safaris incomparable.
If an African safari can be more than a visit to a fascinating country, but also part of an individual's experience with the Ultimate Human Legacy, then it takes special people to insure the quality and depth of such an adventure is complete.
We urge those of you who are thinking of planning a safari to Africa to contact Auram Safaris and engage in a conversation with Zainab about how Auram Safaris can meet your personal needs.
You will find, as we did, no one in Africa can do it better.