Sometimes, when a crisis arises, all you can do is to wait it out. To go with the flow, to tell yourself that “this too shall pass.” That “things would change”, that next year this time “the problems of your here and now, would be a distant memory.” Or you could fight it, call it injustice, shout from the rooftops: “Unfair, absurd, preposterous…” You could also go sit in the corner, feeling sorry for yourself; your circumstances; your career; your life choices. Each of us reacts differently. This doesn’t make one’s reaction better, or worse, than the others. “Before you start to judge me, step into my shoes and walk the life I’m living and if you get as far as I am, just maybe you will see how strong I really am.” – Unknown –
It is officially the 26th of March 2021. Why is this date significant? It’s my eldest son’s birthday… He’s turning 13 today! Another reason for the March 26th significance? It signalled the first day of South Africa’s very first lockdown, due to Covid-19. March 26th 2020 was our D-day. Our President gave the nation a few days to prepare ourselves and by 00:00 on the 27th of March, you had to be at home, where you would have to stay for around three weeks in Level 5, full lockdown.
We rushed back from a visit to my parents in the Free State and arrived at Elephant Plains midday on the 26th of March. The members of staff that stayed on site held a birthday party for Etienne Jnr. and we were looking forward to a special three-week family holiday in the bush… This turned out to be extended more than once and we ended up spending a glorious 75 days in total at EP. A special time we would never regret having spent together.
Fast forward to a year later… Covid-19 is still with us and South Africa is starting to wonder when the third wave will hit. Looking at Europe and the trend overseas, we are always a few weeks behind and with a lot of countries now once again on different stages and levels of lockdown, many of us are already thinking about what our next lockdown would be like. Surely our economy would not be able to survive a total, hard lockdown once again? Surely people would have learnt valuable lessons during the past year? Stay at home, only go out if you really need to, practice social distancing, sanitize, wear your mask. Surely these measures would be able to keep us from another hard lockdown, this time around…?
Surely, maybe, but we just don’t know, now do we? And that is something that I’ve become quite accustomed to during the past year. Something that I’ve learnt to embrace. The certainty of uncertainty. The predictability of the unpredictable. The knowledge that no matter what who says, there is still a lot about this virus that we just don’t know, or fully understand.
The lodge is doing well under these trying circumstances. If I look at the number of establishments in our industry that were forced to close down, I feel grateful that we’ve survived thus far. It would take years to re-build to what we were before Covid-19, but at least we have that opportunity. I read a few wise words the other day: “Don’t be afraid to start over again. This time, you’re not starting from scratch, you’re starting from experience.” In our case, it is 23 years’ worth of experience. Add to that a wonderful team of friendly, positive and hard-working staff members, our surroundings – being situated in the pristine Sabi Sand Game Reserve – and the fact that we do not believe in ever giving up, but rather in adjusting and continuously striving to better our product… With all these things counting in our favour, I cannot help but feel positive about the future.
When will things go back to normal? Nobody knows. What would the new normal look like? Your guess is as good as mine. Has Covid-19 only brought along with it the bad, the negative, the ugly? I sincerely don’t believe that. In the bigger picture, there’s always a reason for things to happen. You might not immediately recognise why. You might never totally understand its purpose. But I truly believe that this virus has also brought some good. People are living more aware of their surroundings. A lot of relationships have become stronger. Old friends have decided to catch up again. Family feuds have been buried, as we all returned to ourselves, to the here and now and to the things that really matter. Priorities have changed for the better, I believe. This was (or still is) a reset button. I, for one, am continuously trying to adjust, to be more aware, to make the best. It would be pointless if inner transformation did not somehow take place to a certain extend.
Please do not get me wrong. Covid-19 also brought along so much devastation, loss of loved ones, jobs, security, surety.
So let’s not beat around the bush. Life is difficult. 2020 has been difficult and by the looks of it, there’s still a whole lot more difficulty up ahead, before things would really start getting better. Are we up to it? I suppose it depends on when you ask who. Do we have a choice? No. Are we tired of Covid-19? Hell, yes! Do we want things to return to a “better than before” normal? It’s a no-brainer. Are we grateful for what we still have left? Of course.
In the meantime, we have extended our special to the end of 2021. Please contact our reservations office at [email protected] for more details.If you haven’t done so already, do yourself a favour and google Kitty O’Meara’s poem: “And the people stayed home.“
My wish to all our readers is pretty much summed up in the last verse:
“And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.”
Look after yourselves and your loved ones. Till we meet again one day. Stay safe and God bless.
The Elephant Plains Family