Trying to figure out what to do in 44 days…Life up in the air…Vaccine hesitancy?…

We hadn’t seen Torn Ear for over a week and were worried about something happening to him. Last night, he appeared on the trail cam, much to our relief.

Who’s in the garden this morning?

  •  1 wildebeest
  • 15 warthogs
  • 12 bushbuck
  • 8 kudus
  • 12 impalas
  • 59 mongoose

With a third wave of Covid-19 being acknowledged in South Africa, it’s still up in the air as to what we’ll do in 44 days when our current visa extension expires on June 30th. Many other people in the world find themselves in the same situation. Our position is not unique.

We still have the booked flight to the US on June 30th, but if visas are extended again for foreign nationals for another 90 days, we’ll have no reason to leave South Africa on that date. We may or may not be able to move that flight one more time, when  twice, we’ve been notified of changes as to the departure times of the various flights in that itinerary on Lufthansa Airlines.

This young male bushbuck has to eat his pellets on the veranda when pigs wouldn’t let him partake.

There is no question that this is a dilemma we are grappling with every day. In addition, it looks like the launch of the vaccine for South Africans over the age of 60 could begin in this province over the next 30 days. If we can get the vaccine while we’re here a few weeks before we have to depart, it will give us peace of mind if we have to travel for 40 hours or more to return to the US, or visit another country, if visas aren’t extended.,

We’re doing just fine with the challenge. This uncertainty is “foreign” to us in our years of worldwide travel. However, the past 14 months have taught us a great deal. Never take our “freedom of movement” in our world travels for granted. Those 10 months in that hotel room in Mumbai, India, have certainly rearranged our thinking in that respect.

Kudus drinking in the birdbath and the pool. There’s some chlorine in the pool, diluted enough to be safe for them.

Like most of us throughout the world, uncertainty about any form of travel, including taking vacations/holidays or even short weekend getaways is not as easy as it was in the past. COVID-19 changed all of this. Travel has been only one of many areas of our lives, and yours, that has changed in the past 14 months.

Many have suffered life-changing financial loss, loss of jobs and the sense of self-worth and confidence that goes with being active in the workforce. Most of all, the most horrific loss of all, has been that of loved ones and friends who’ve lost their lives due to this dreadful virus.

Kudu mom suckling her young in the bush

Many, like my sister, Julie, are suffering “long-haul symptoms” and can’t seem to shake a variety of debilitating symptoms that impacts their everyday lives. Covid-19 rehab clinics for “long-haulers” have been opening all over the US in an attempt to rehabilitate those impacted by this lingering illness.

Do we have hesitancy about receiving the vaccine? I suppose, many of us do to some degree. It’s a big decision for those of us with commorbidities and allergies, wondering if we’ll be subject to a life-threatening reaction. Even those without any known medical conditions may be concerned about side effects.

Go Away bird back for another visit.

With our intent to continue to travel in the future, we have no choice but to be vaccinated. With four cruises booked in the future, some of which may be canceled, we know cruising won’t be possible without a vaccine in the next few years. When, and if, “herd immunity” is achieved, this may change in years to come. But, for now and at our ages, we feel we must get vaccinated or stop traveling entirely.

We anticipate that in time, proof of vaccination may be required to board an airplane, a train, a cruise ship or any other form of travel when crowds may be  a reality of a specific mode of transportation. Will proof of vaccination eventually be required for entrance into arenas for sports and concerts? That could happen.

Mongoose waiting at the door for food before we’d even gone outside in the morning.

At this point, we don’t know what the future holds. Then again, do we ever know? We look back at our lives over the past few years and clearly see how oblivious we may have been about potential changes in our lives, many of which can change everything, as we knew it.

All of us can decide on the risks we’re willing to take in getting the vaccine or not. It’s a personal decision that should be exempt from criticism or bullying. Trying to convince others that our decision is the right decision is pointless. We all have the privilege of doing our own research, checking with our healthcare professionals, and making an informed decision suitable for our health, well-being and lifestyle.

A Big Daddy was reaching for a bit of vegetation.

We pray for good health and well-being for all of our family/friends/readers, now and into the future.

Photo from one year ago today, May 18, 2020:

The rice paddies ready for planting. See this site for more details. “The Balinese system of irrigating their rice terraces is known as Subak. It is such an important part of Balinese culture that in June 2012 it was awarded UNESCO World Heritage Status. This method for irrigating the land was inspired by ancient Hindu philosophy, and it has been used since at least the 11th century. Using this method the rice fields were built around temples and the allocation of water is the responsibility of priests. In order for this management of irrigation to work successfully, it has required that members of each community cooperate with one another and work in partnership. Each member of the community takes responsibility for maintaining the system’s integrity, and this is why the terraces tend to look so well maintained. The rice farmers work as a unit to create appropriate canals and dams. Another important element of the Subak system is the religious festivals that mark the cycle of the year.” For more photos from the year-ago post, please click here.