Did you ever think about the fact that we here in Pennsylvania, do not have to worry about going for a walk in the woods and that something is going to EAT us? That we do not have to be afraid of our animals. That’s not the case everywhere on the planet. It is not the case for my friend, Bruce Nobela, a guide in South Africa (HIS WEBSITE), who has been visiting me for the last week. What a huge difference…on how we conduct our lives- outdoors at least. Bruce’s dad manages the huge Kruger National Park and he grew up there. When he was young, Bruce’s brother was tragically eaten by a leopard when his brother was 11 years old. He was riding his bike- in the middle of the day, with all kinds of people around- just going to the store. It has never happened before nor afterwards. (The leopard was wounded). This is the reference point that Bruce was coming from when he walked in the PA woods with me.
For those of you who haven’t followed my past blogs, Bruce was my guide while I was a guest of the South African Tourism back in Oct/Nov. I invited him to America and he took me up on it. He has been visiting here for over a week now and must hop onto a bus to go back to his country tomorrow morning. It has been a wonderful experience to share our lives and worlds and find so many similarities amongst human beings, not differences.
Besides networking at the Eastern Sportsman’s Show in Harrisburg this week, (Bruce is a cultural and a hunting guide) he’s had a lot of FIRSTS!
Bruce saw snow for the first time in his life and was so delighted to merely scrape it off the car windshield- the things we take for granted! His eyes widened as my little car fish tailed on the ice as we climbed up my snowy driveway, “What is happening?” he asked, excitedly. Just driving like a race car driver as we climb up a snowy north-facing hill.
He was turned onto our true Finnish sauna, showering outside and sweating by the heat of 500 lbs of lava rocks on our sauna wood stove,
He experienced his first massage by my girlfriend Elizabeth. WOW!,
He got to hike with our goat Leo, for a 3 mile walk and could not believe Leo is a Nigerian Dwarf goat from AFRICA!
He is enjoying eating so many kinds of new foods- including red lasagna for Valentine’s Day- (never had it before)
He was surprised to see homeless people huddled over steam vents in Philadelphia, and to ride the swaying subway and see his home boy descendants from Africa living in the hood.
And he loves our hip hop music and can certainly relate to the beat.
I had a mini press conference here yesterday morning as two outdoor writers came to interview him for newspaper and radio shows. The one writer, Doyle Dietz, took him on a private pheasant hunt today at a game preserve all day today, his last day. Doyle was just marveling what a fantastic opportunity it was to meet Bruce and chat about his country, hear about the African animals, hear what it was like to grow up in a national park ed .
And Bruce was very delighted to meet so many of my wonderful friends who have embraced him as if he were their own.
We ARE all one tribe. We all originally came from those plains on the savannah. As the Native Americans say, “All my Relatives.” Thanks Bruce for showing us that. I encourage all of you to extend yourselves when you travel- open up your home and life to those in those far stretched corners of the planet. It will make you believe, as our Native Americans said, that we are trulyall related