“Please get up, I want to be early at the Addo Elephant Park,” my wife says to me at 6 am in the morning on a beautiful Sunday in South Africa. So instead of getting up, I ended up checking my smartphone notifications and was distracted for 15-20 minutes. This is one of the bad habits I am trying to change. Not checking my phone in the morning, but each day I tell myself “tomorrow, I’ll do it.” Yes, we all have plans and dreams of things we would like to do. As we have, when we started our drive to the Addo Elephant Park. The park is approximately 60 minutes away and it was very quiet in the morning.
The road was bumpy and we drove next to some townships, more about the townships in another story. The streets in SA are very farsighted. So we saw far away two cars standing on our line and as we got closer we recognized that one car, which was standing slightly off the street, was a police car and one was standing in the middle of our road. I don’t remember if it also was a police car or not, for some reason I didn’t pay much attention. The policeman was standing next to the car he signaled to us with his hands that we should overtake and keep driving.
As we did so, we saw the reason.
In the middle of our road, there was a man, laying on the street. His arms and legs are outstretched and with a blanket over his upper body.
He was dead.
And given the situation, it was a fatal traffic accident. We both saw him in slow motion and we didn’t talk for the next 6-8 minutes. Here we are, driving to our day trip, having plans, and forgetting the privilege to do so. And there he was, the man whose name I do not know, also having plans, maybe going home to his family, or visiting his parents, which he won’t be able to do anymore. Yes, they all had plans as we do. Your time here is limited, use it wisely.
*Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un (2:156)
Port Elizabeth, South Africa