mindfulness solo retreat Tanzania

Where do you want to be this coming winter?

Spending the winter in Tanzania: something for you?

The amount of contaminations with Covid 10 has again increased this week in the Netherlands. Belgium has launched several measures for the same reason. In Barcelona, in overwinter-country Spain, the Dutch government has called out code orange (only necessary travel allowed) and vacationers have been advised to come back home. To be short, a second wave is probably already started.

I follow the developments around Covid 19 like a cat follows a mouse. Both the official vision as the counter stories and independent voices have my attention. But in every way of looking at Covid 19, the policy is clear with on the first place the measures of keeping distance and this is something you just have to deal with. Read more

grateful crocodile

Gratefulness of animals

The first time I became consciously aware of the gratefulness of an animal was when I was 18 years old. I had my first holiday in France with a girlfriend after our graduation. We were sweating in a pedal boat when I found an ordinary sparrow in the water. At first I thought it was dead from drowning but then I saw a little movement. We went ashore and I sat for hours in the shade of a tree with this wet bird in a towel on my lap. I remember my right foot got totally burned in the sun. After some time this bird slowly dried up, came alive and recovered. Then I brought it to the other side of the boulevard, where I spotted a public garden. There I let it go. The sparrow flew up straight forward, then turned around, plunged down and flew a few centimeters over my head away to freedom. And I knew it showed me its gratitude for rescuing it.

workshop Masaï handcraftThe second time happened in Tanzania. I was staying for ten days in the village Endonyowas in Ngorongoro five years ago. I was giving a workshop in modernising traditional Masaï jewelry with the womengroup. It was an inspiring, creative proces together and I was sleeping in a traditional Masaï house inside a boma. One day I was returning to my “cottage” when I saw the neighbours children beating a dog. The dog was sobbing and its tail was between the legs.
dog tanzaniaI got so angry that I shouted at them: “come here”! I called my interpreter, looked at the scared children and explained to them the nature of a dog. “A dog is your friend. He will give his life for you. When hyena, lion or leopard comes this dog,even when you have beaten him, will fight for your life. This dog is the best friend you will ever have”. So treat him with respect and kindness. He deserves that”. Meanwhile I was caressing the dog who was relaxing a little bit.
I clapped my hands and the children darted away, still scared because the white woman was cleary discontent about their behaviour.

Six days later, the evening before I was flying home and everybody in the village had come by to say goodbye, I was sitting in meditation outside to reflect the past days and my feelings about leaving this beautiful land and the villagers.
Then I heard something on my right side. When I opened my eyes I saw the dog standing there in the full moonlight. I felt he knew I was leaving and slowly and carefully he came closer to me. When he reached me I opened my hand to him and he shove his wet nose in my hand. Then he turned around and walked away leaving me touched and grateful for his way to thank me.

During my next visit the Masaï told me the whole village had stopped beating their dogs. I hope so but I am not sure it is true. But I have to say I never saw a beating again in the years that followed.

On the picture: Chito who rescued a heavily wounded crocodile, who refused to leave him ever since.


Queen of the Hunt

Film tip!
To be seen this fall world wide at National Geographic Wild

We are currently on safari but shortly before our departure this beautiful nature documentary by Jochem van Rijs was presented by VPRO. A good moment to give some special attention to the Cheetah!

Jochem van Rijs has been making nature movies for 20 years. Queen of the Hunt is his third Cheetah movie. He has been driving thousands of hours in an old converted Landrover 200 over the Serengeti in Tanzania, Read more

African sunsets

It is often said by many, many people that Africa has sunsets like nowhere else in the world.

We travelled many years through Tanzania and we have been silently sitting together in Usambara Mountains. On a rock scary high above the plains of Nothern Tanzania we saw the clouds break, to give father sun its rightful place to show its power and its glory. Then the dark mouth of Hyena opened up and swallowed it all, leaving us behind with a peaceful mind. Read more

kalahari desert South Africa by Morkel Erasmus

Silent watchers of the plains

There is something about cheetah. Something I do not see nor feel with leopard or lion. Meeting them brings immediate silence inside me. cheetah meditatie 2 I am fascinated by their observative appearance. They are like statues in the landscape, without movement for a long time, just watching, totally alert. Maybe it is my meditation mind, recognizing total presence in their bodies and their eyes. And I know what happens with a living creature, being present and with attention for many hours in the now. Something alive and sweet will enter, not hindered by distractions, anxiety, fear or boredom.

And yes there is a sweetness in this preditor, something vulnerable in their charisma. Also looking at their young brings a kind of tenderness in my heart. Vulnerable but totaly alive, funny and naughty will make you want to nurture them. Read more

Remember when you saw your first Lion?

This excitatory question I found on the website of the Lion Illumination Project active in Tanzania. My first Lion? In my mind the image of a Cross-Eyed Lion occurs. “That’s right, In my mind I am looking straight in the eyes of Clarence”. Suddenly I see the faces coming up of Dr. Tracy and his daughter Paula. And then the name of the series shoots in my brain: “Daktari”. Djee it must have been in 1966-1967. We just had our first black and white TV. On the sofa, in my pajamas, one glass coca cola beside me, we were watching Daktari and to me this cross-eyed Lion was the most interesting character they presented. Because of his handicap, he was unable to hunt and therefore they adopted him. We had a big sheepsdog with long curly hair but this Clarence was something totally different.
Later we went to the Zoo in Amsterdam and there was this small Lion house where Lions were sleeping all day, yawning and bored. Even as a young child I experienced the smell of dullness, caused by lack of freedom. Also I remember the instinctive fear running through my vains while watching them.
Lions! Since 4 years I meet them regularly in the wild nature of Tanzania. Lions can sleep 20 hours a day. twee mannetjes leeuwenSo many times we see them lying in the grass, lazy and relaxed, showing the opposite behaviour of cheetah who is very awake and sitting upright, peering the environment for danger.
But then the moment comes that a male Lion shows up beside your car and every muscle can be clearly seen. And he is looking at a group of Thomson Gazelles a few hundred meters far. Nothing distracts him, all his attention focussed, and demonstrating the power that embodies him. His head up, his manes majestic and suddenly you know; this truly is a magnificent being.  20-hildur-runs-to-simba-east-the short happy life of a serengeti lion

In Tanzania the tribes (like Masaï) are living in areas with wild animals. In general this is a peaceful and harmonious coexistence. But depending on circumstances cats can visit the villages to catch of livestock. But better not touch a cow or goat of Masaï. They are holy, they mean survival. So many cats are killed in this conflict. The Lion Illumination Project is dedicated to honor the warriors on both sides of the conflict by creating a peaceful solution. They install solar strobe lights in the bomas to keep the cats out. At our village Endonyowas Mindful Adventure saw many bright lights, the last time we were there. Walking in the dark after a simple but full meal, those lights were flashing like Gods watching over the village. It works. For lions it is like a disco and they hate discos. If you want to know more or support this project you can read more here

Iworry “One every 15 minutes”

Animals in danger

Every safari we encounter Elephants; small ones, huge ones; Elephants alone or in groups; peaceful or tense Elephants. Elephants meeting Lions and challenging them. Elephants playing and splashing in the river. Elephants getting extatic when they jump in the waves at Sea. Elephants silently passing a Campsite by night, majestic and peaceful. Elephants protecting Read more