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The Ultimate Safari

The Ultimate Safari

This is a very sad story of poor and helpless people leaving their country Mozambique, perhaps due to a Civil War. They trudge a refugee camp in South Africa, their neighbouring country. The characters of the story even don't have names. We only know their relations - father, mother, grandfather, grandmother, brother, sister and the baby.

It is the story of a family of five persons - parents, a son, a daughter and a little son. The grand-parents live separately. It is a very depressing story - the father has gone to fight and the family lives without him. The bandits - the people fighting the government forces - raid villages, loot whatever they can, kill people, burn houses and run away. The helpless and utterly poor people have nothing - no food, no money, no police or army to protect their lives and property. The mother went to buy some oil which was in short supply and never returned. Perhaps she was murdered or kidnapped. The utterly helpless and grief-stricken children are looked after by utterly poor and helpless grandparents. The grandfather is very weak and hard of hearing but the grandmother is big and strong, not yet old and leads the family.

The grandmother decided to leave their home in Mozambique which had no food, where they had lost their mother and where bandits could come and kill them - they lived in perpetual fear of the bandits.
Since they had no money, the grandmother exchanged her church clothes for some dried mealies (corn on cob); she boiled them and tied them in a rag for their long trudge through the Kruger Park - a huge life sanctuary for all kind of animals found in Africa. She sold her shoes to buy a big plastic container for water. They were joined by many families who were migrating to the refugee camp in South Africa.

The long and tiresome journey through the Kruger Park was fraught with dangers. There were lions, hyenas, crocodiles in the park. They could not lit fire for fear of being caught for trespassing. There was wire fencing with electrical current running in it. To add to these they had hardly anything to eat. The fatigue, the hunger and the dangers - all these made this long journey an absolute nightmare. They couldn't even have enough sleep at night and lay huddled for fear of lions.

The grandfather had to be lifted as he couldn't cross rivers. Even grandmother who was strong had her feet bleeding. They couldn't carry anything and had to leave them on the way. They ate some wild fruit and suffered stomach upset. The grandfather was lost as he couldn't catch up with them and couldn't be traced. Perhaps he died unable to trudge the long walk without food and sleep. They had to proceed with a very heavy heart.

They finally arrived at the refugee camp in South Africa after a lot of torture and suffering. It was a huge tent where about two hundred people lived. The little brother was ill. He couldn't even speak and lay down all the time. When they arrived, even the other children were like the little brother. But they have improved with medical help.

But the grandmother is courageous and still strong. She works, earns money and buys sugar, tea, milk and soap for the family. She buys shoes and polish for the children, helps them in their homework. She wants them to be educated, get good jobs and earn money. But she is rather pessimistic about the future - so far as going back to Mozambique is concerned. She wouldn't like to go back although the narrator, the teenaged girl, would like to go back after the war and hopes to meet her parents.

Objective: To understand, appreciate and enjoy the story, its characters and events. To understand human suffering and the plight of a war torn country devastated by famine.

Overview: This is a story of intense human suffering in a war torn country devastated by famine. The narrator is a girl in her teens. She uses very simple language to convey the intense human suffering of the people of Mozambique.

Questions :

Q.3: (a)

The narrator is a girl perhaps in her early teens. She is the second child of a couple. The father has gone to fight the war.


The mother was perhaps killed. She went to fetch oil. Perhaps she was killed in order to take the oil from her, which was scarce.


Bandits were the enemies who were robbing and killing the people.


When the mother disappeared the grandparents came to look after the grandchildren.


They were hungry and the narrator's mother hadn't come back perhaps she was dead. They thought that there would be no bandits in their new place. So they decided to go to the new place.



A. 4: (a)

Kruger Park was a sanctuary where wild animals - lions, elephants, hippopotamus, crocodiles, jackals and hyenas lived.


They couldn't burn a fire while walking through the Kruger Park. The smoke from fire would show that they were there. The police would send them back to where they had come from.

Q.5: (a)

Perhaps the grandfather was dead. He was eaten up by cultures, as they were seen by the narrators.


Grandmother could guess the truth and therefore decided to move on. They couldn't wait indefinitely.


The narrator was very sad to leave without her grandfather.



Q.6: (a)

A refuge camp


To get rid of any kind of infection in their stomach.


He was forced to be hungry because they didn't get anything to eat. This caused his illness/deformity.



Q.7: (a)

There are five characters in the story. The grandfather is too old and is handicapped due to old age. He was too involved in managing his own movement. He couldn't have seen the incidents.

The youngest child is too young. The grandmother is busy in managing the movement of the family. She had to plan and decide everything. She couldn't have been the narrator. The elder brother is perhaps trying to protect them from wild animals. So we are left with the narrator. She is perhaps in her early teens, is observant and sensitive to see and narrate the incidents of the story.



Sentences - ungrammatical matches with the age and education of the narrator.

Everyone is suffering intensely running away stealthily from the bandits without any strength to do so. They are starving nothing to eat and yet they have to walk for many days. Then the danger of wild animals and the police. It is inevitable that people would not talk under such intense suffering mental, physical and emotional.

Paragraph 25: This isn't really a dialogue. Firstly, there is an interpreter who translates the language of the person-asking question. Secondly, it is like answering some questions whose answer nobody knows or cannot decide.


The grandmother is preoccupied with tension and problems which have no solution. She is not in a frame of mind to narrate the story.


The grandmother is the heroine - the most important person of the story. She decides everything, she makes sacrifices, she is strong-works and earns money so that they can buy shoes for the school and books for the youngest child. After such intense and incredible suffering she is not optimistic. Naturally she does not wish to go back to Mozambique - the land where she spent all her life and lost everything including her husband, daughter-in-law and perhaps the son.



The little means the final result of a long and complicated sense of events. Here the events consist of a long journey through the Kruger Park where wild animals live. Therefore 'Ultimate Safari' is an apt title.



One afternoon grandfather arrives. He is very tired with a long heard. We are all very very happy. Grandmother has tears of joy in her eyes. She embraces him and gives him tea and biscuits. We all sit by him. He tell us that he had lost his way. He was helped by a very nice gentleman. He was offered water and food by the gentleman. Grandmother asks him to lie down and rest. He lies down and sleeps. We are all very happy at this family reunion.



We have lakhs of Tibetan refugees in India. Tibet was forcibly occupied by China. The Tibetans refused to accept Chinese rule and became refugees in India. India is the host country. We have provided every possible help to the Tibetans. They have their camps in Dharmshala, Mussoorie, Kalimpong and near Mysore. The Indian Government has opened a chain of schools - Indo Tibetan Central Schools for the education of their children.



The grandmother is old. She knows and believes in the truth. She does not want to go back. She has no false hopes of finding her dear ones alive. She wants to begin life a fresh. The grand-daughter is young and hopeful. She still believes that she will find her mother and father when she goes back.

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