What The Jungle Sees
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What The Jungle Sees

I don’t believe that what we saw was meant to be understood by outsiders or that it was meant to be viewed as wrong.

What The Jungle Sees
Tanisha Camille Knutzen

I find myself thinking and talking about experiences a lot. About how they shape us, teach us and show us things we’d never had the chance to see before and I knew that by moving to Africa I would see things that were so far from my ordinary life. I would become some type of storyteller through these moments and my mind would become so open to things that I never thought possible.

My biggest example and probably my most incredible experience so far was the day we decided to venture out into the jungle. Now, don’t get too excited because while we may have been in the jungles of Africa, we were also on a guided tour that didn’t give us too much space for wild adventures, but I’m almost OK with that because I’ve realized that I’m not exactly the bravest person when it comes to creepy crawlers or jungle dwellers. The tour took us through the trees and beyond the grasses. We saw ants that are said to have the ability to kill a human, trees that seemed to pass the clouds, and monkeys that swung wildly through them. We saw the jungle in its raw form and it was more than beautiful.

Among all this natural beauty, we were lucky enough to come upon an experience I don’t think I will ever, in my life, forget. A moment that I would have never had the opportunity to experience, if I wasn’t in Cote D’Ivoire because things like animal sacrifices don’t place right around the corner from me. It was a group of locals that had gathered around the small stream that flowed quietly below us. We watched with wonder and profound curiosity in our eyes as they prayed to the flowing waters to bring them power and health for them and their families.

We stood above their lowered ground, to watch from a distance, but when our guide ushered me to move to closer, because I was the one attached to a GoPro, I felt my heart pulse quicken to an abnormal rate. I was nervous to overstep my boundaries. To impose myself onto something I wasn’t meant to be apart of but as I inched myself closer, I couldn’t be more grateful to be close. Maybe some people would say that what took place that day was wrong. That helpless animals lost their lives for the selfish acts of people, which would normally infuriate and disgust me, but for some unknown reason, I felt like their reasons for doing so were completely justifiable. That what took place that afternoon was a moment of hoping for something that could bring them happiness and strength or the vitality to conquer any negativity coming their way.

I don’t believe that what we saw was meant to be understood by outsiders or that it was meant to be viewed as wrong. Now maybe this is just me being me and having a positive outlook on everything in life but I believe that what took place that day was a positive exchange in energies. That what they did was meant to have a beneficial reaction in theirs and their family's life. I say this because I also believe that it’s not my place to say what is wrong and what is right in the world. We’re all different. We all have different beliefs, cultural interactions and ways of living and just because it may be different to us, it doesn’t make necessarily wrong.

That day in the jungle was something that brought me so many emotions. I was overcome with feelings that I don’t even have the right words to explain but just know that it was a feeling I promise to never forget. And this is why I talk so highly about new experiences because with them, I’m becoming a person that still finds the world to be a peaceful place, even when it may not always be. I’m experiencing life and sending stories, about a world that is viewed so negatively, back home with hopes that people have even the slightest bit of love and understanding for things they don’t understand; for the things that are different.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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