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Written by Karel Nunnink   

Jungle tales.


I often reflect back to my childhood, growing up in Sumatra, never realizing how fortunate I was playing in an environment where danger was constant but always obvious and visible.
From waking up every morning and making sure no scorpions or poisonous centipedes had crawled into my shoes by shaking them vigorously upside down,to visiting my Uncle Does and his collection of tiger rugs.
His job was to eliminate man eaters, tigers that were wounded maimed or just to old to kill their regular prey and therefore prayed on the villagers of local townships.
On one occasion I witnessed just such a hunt, where the beaters had driven the tiger  beating pots and pans and loud shouts, into a field of tall grass at the edge of the rain forest.
Dusk was now upon us as the glowing huge orange ball of the sun slowly sank behind the sweltering canopy of rainforest, a different sort of stillness prevailed as bursts of insect buzzing intersected with profound quiet.
A slight breeze would gently sway the tops of the tall elephant grass as the darkness descended on us.
My uncle and my father and several villagers were parked in a jeep on a trail at the edge of the grass, completely dark now we maneuvered the jeep so the headlights were now facing directly into the tall grass.
Knowing the man eater was hiding nearby my uncle now asked  his trusted assistant to start slowly walking in to the grass following the headlights, as my uncle positioned himself on the roll bar with his scope and high powered rifle.
The assistant having gone through this before was still shaking, and small beads of sweat formed on his forehead as he swiped them of with his bandana. He then set off in slowly measured steps, the lights shone brightly behind him as he walked further into the grass his shadow dancing in several directions on the slowly swaying stems.
Further he went, my uncle now breathing rhythmically totally focused finger starting to gently squeeze the trigger, at one with his weapon, the suspense so thick you could cut it with a knife.
Then at the far edge of the beams a short violent swirl in the grass, and another closer now, at that instant a dark and striped blur vaulted up, and time slowed as the explosion of gunfire melted with the  scream of the assistant in the grass frozen with freight.
The sudden silence that followed seemed eerie with the still ringing echo from the gunshot, my uncle now jumped from the jeep as we scrambled to follow him, rifle ready and aimed into the bush.
What followed seemed like a dream as we passed the assistant gesturing excitedly to a huge furry dark mass lying but a few feet away.
So ended the hunt, just one danger faced and put behind us.
Today however we face many more insidious predators stalking us and slowly robbing us of our power to reason and live a vibrant life.
These dangers are not so visible and are enticed and packaged promoted and marketed to create the illusion of
Instant gratification, often with irreparable damage over time.
Look under the layers of deceit to find the truth, awaken the power in all of us to shake off this blanket of poison and greed, take back control in your life, fight against the very powers that seek to suppress us all.
And thank you for helping me reach out to others.
Live long and strong.
Karel. 

 

 

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