The Ultimate Safari

by Nadine Gordimer

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Describe the refugees' condition upon arrival at the camp in The Ultimate Safari.

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As one can imagine, the refugees are in a terrible state when they arrive at the camp. They've been wandering through the Kruger National Park for what seems like an eternity; they are tired, hungry, and disheveled, like so many others fleeing the civil war in Mozambique. What was particularly hard for the little girl and her family was that while wandering through the national park, there was plenty of food and shelter available, but only for the privileged white South African tourists who go there on holiday.

Although the refugee camp has only basic facilities, at least it provides a haven from the horrors of war, though challenges remain, such as the little girl's grandmother moving bricks to make ends meet. It's a hard job, really not suitable for someone of her age, but at least it brings in some much-needed income. Nevertheless, the condition of the family upon arrival at the refugee camp hasn't really changed all that much. They're still poor, homeless, and without much hope for the future.

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The family is in a condition consistent with those who are searching for shelter while seeking escape from persecution.  Similar to those who escaped from concentration camps or who flee regimes of those who abuse power, the family is overjoyed to see the camp, but is in a fairly wretched state.  The experience of both leaving Mozambique's political instability and the difficulty of the journey result in their condition of being extremely worn down on both physical and emotional levels.  The loss of family members, like the grandfather, along the journey as well as the lack of food and shelter throughout the trek across Kruger Park has taken a toll on the girl and her family.  Being able to situate themselves in the refugee camp and start a new life carries with it both hope for the future, as well as an endless shadow of what was endured to get to this particular point in time.

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