Nearly landlocked due to storms and road washouts…Stunning photos of our area…Happy Valentine’s Day!…

First, I’d like to thank Marlothian, Thea Sander, for sharing today’s photos with us, which she took yesterday after the constant rains resulted in washouts on several roads in our area. If it weren’t for one short stretch of another road, we’d be landlocked until everything dries out. Road maintenance in Marloth Park is minimal at best.

With the bit of car we rented a month ago, there is no way we’d attempt to get out right now. With rain forecast through Monday with a short reprieve midweek, it appears it will pick up again next Saturday. We may not be going anywhere for days. After raining for at least three of the past four weeks, the ground and the roads are soaked and may not become passable again for weeks to come.

In any case, it’s certainly better than sitting in a hotel room in Mumbai, India, for months. We can cook, do laundry, feed a few determined wildlife that comes to call when the rain stops in short bursts, and move about freely. This is quite an improvement. Hopefully, by following Monday, the 22nd, we’ll be able to drive to Komati for my next dentist appointment to see if the tooth abscess is gone. Hoping.

Marloth Park doesn’t have a stable infrastructure for utility services and road maintenance, although their emergency services, including fire, rescue, snake removal, rangers, security, and wildlife control, are exemplary. Cost is the determining factor as it is in most municipalities. The citizens and powers-that-be of Marloth Park chose correctly when they had to “pick and choose” their priorities.

Of course, the reliability of electrical services is predicated by the poorly managed national electric company, Eskom. This is the case throughout the entire country when load shedding is an ongoing fact of life in South Africa.  It’s impossible to determine when and if this will ever change. However, often their staff is quick to respond when there is damage to the lines, usually coming out in inclement weather and the middle of the night.

Many, if not most, African countries struggle with their infrastructure, resulting in many observers describing them as “third world countries.” In our travels, we often hear other travelers describe parts of the world as “third world.” But, this phrase has become derogatory and outdated in today’s modern world. We kindly offer a more appropriate phrase for such a country as a “developing nation.”  See more on this topic here at this link.

Without question, poverty, wars, unrest, and corruption are instrumental in a country’s slow progress in building a more robust infrastructure. But, as we scour the world, we see these factors play out and are prevalent in many countries, at times even in more modern countries like our own USA and many countries in Europe and other continents.

We live in difficult times, only made more so, due to the pandemic of the past year. Will we ever come out from the ravages and rubble that have ravaged the world during these challenging times? It’s hard to say. As much as we want to believe, we will, with this belief keeping us hopeful and sane as we struggle with “pandemic fatigue,” as described in part in this article.

“Humans have a remarkable capacity to conceive of a task they have never done before and plan and execute the actions needed to do it. For example, most of us probably didn’t have a routine of wearing a mask around other people before this year. But, once we understood that it stemmed from the spread of COVID-19, many of us started doing so. It didn’t take hundreds of trials of training to learn this behavior, or indeed, thousands of years of evolution. Rather, we incorporated mask-wearing into our daily lives almost immediately. Humans can link our abstract goals, ideas, rules, and knowledge to our behavior at speed and on a scale that no other species can match and no AI yet built can emulate. We can do this because of a class of function scientists term cognitive control, a function that is supported by several interacting systems and mechanisms that are uniquely elaborated in the human brain, including the prefrontal cortex.”

There’s no easy answer as to how we humans will get through this difficult time. Now, as I am situated in the bedroom since it’s raining too hard to be outdoors, we even question our ability to get through lesser times such as this on a much smaller scale.

But, as I learned decades ago in a Tony Robbins seminar, we must utilize our human ability to “reframe” a situation to enable ourselves to cope in the best possible manner with the best possible outcome. Here are a few of Tony’s quotes that have lingered in my mind over the years. See his link here.

The power of positive thinking is the ability to generate a feeling of certainty in yourself when nothing in the environment supports you.”

“Knowing you have failed to live up to your standards is the ultimate pain; knowing that you have fulfilled your highest vision is the ultimate pleasure.”

There is a powerful driving force inside every human being that, once unleashed, can make any vision, dream, or desire a reality.”

What we can or cannot do, what we consider possible or impossible, is rarely a function of our true capability. It is more likely a function of our beliefs about who we are.”

That’s it for today, folks. May your Valentine’s Day be filled with love and hope for the future…

Photo from one year ago today,  February 14, 2020:

A gaur is crossing the road. “The gaur (/ɡaʊər/, Bos gaurus), also called the Indian bison, is the largest extant bovine. It is native to South and Southeast Asia and has been listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List since 1986. The global population has been estimated at a maximum of 21,000 mature individuals by 2016. It declined by more than 70% during the last three generations and is extinct in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. In a well-protected area, it is stable and rebuilding.” For more, please click here.