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Life Safari    by John P. Strelecky order for
Life Safari
by John P. Strelecky
Order:  USA  Can
Aspen Light, 2007 (2007)
* * *   Reviewed by Joan Burton

Jack is a young man searching for happiness. He feels a strong pull towards Africa and decides to save his money for a trip. After two years he is ready to embrace the adventure. Arriving at his hotel he enquires about a guide for a tour of the country. The hotel employee suggests that because Jack has unlimited time, he should experience Africa on foot. Later Jack is approached by a small, old, African woman offering to be his guide.

Jack is puzzled over how an old woman could be physically capable of walking the continent. But after talking to Ma Ma Goombe, he believes that she would be the perfect guide. He knows their paths were meant to cross. She is a very wise woman who is on a journey of her own.

Ma Ma Goombe explains to Jack about the African Big Five - the elephant, leopard, lion, buffalo, and rhinoceros. Everyone should experience this in their lifetime. The personal Big Five are things you want to see and do before you die. Ma Ma Goombe tells Jack she has only one Big Five for Life left. She has dreamed of going to 'the birthplace of all', where one can see the earth born, and then watch the world go to sleep.

As Jack and Ma Ma Goombe travel across Africa by foot, she shows Jack the beauty of the land and how to interact with all the animals. It is possible for man and beast to walk side by side and have respect for each other. He watches the elephants at Adoo, observes the leopards and rhinoceros at the cliff, the lion in the savannah, and many others. He is introduced to people of the villages along the way and observes their customs. During this time, he also hears Ma Ma Goombe's words of wisdom about life.

Now their journey is coming to an end. They have arrived at Ma Ma Goombe's special place. She has not only been his guide but has become a dear friend. She is at peace with her life journey and observes the spectacular view that awaits them. Ma Ma Goombe says goodbye to Jack that day and leaves him to make the journey home alone. When Jack leaves Africa, Ma Ma Goombe is still with him. Life Safari is a great read - a meeting of the heart and soul. Note that the book is available from

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