The tiny footprints of an infant on the wet floor of the dense jungle suddenly buoyed the dying hopes of the search crews on the rescue mission for nearly six weeks.

The family had tried to escape to safety from the threats of a cocaine cartel in Colombia. Fate, however, had different designs, and the plane fell like a rock in the dense Amazon jungles. The mother succumbed to injuries after day four but gathered her four children and urged them to live and find safety. Lesly, at 13, suddenly had to become the matriarch and provide for the food and safety of three younger siblings, Cristin being a mere 11 months. Lesly buried her grief; now was not the time. The kids took three pounds of yuca meal and started walking West, following Mom’s orders. Towering trees rising 130 feet from the mushy jungle floor made for dense shadows during the day and pitch dark at night. The thicks of the jungle harbored poisonous vipers, deadly insects, and hungry jaguars. The wind rustled all the time. Lesly was on a mission, and she won’t let her mother down.

On seeing the infant footprint, the machetes started clearing tree branches and bushes with renewed vigor. Lesly heard the approaching rescue as she was collecting fruits and nuts for the younger three and let out a scream of joy. Three exhausted siblings, Soleiny, 9, Tien 5, and Cristin barely 1, lay barely moving close by.
The Dad of the younger two kids put everything in perspective; “we are children of nature. Nature gives us Oxygen and nutrients, and in her safety, we can rest.”

In this land of plenty, as we fight obesity and each other on contrived grievances, existential adversity survived by an infant and little kids teaches us the real meaning of life.

Inspiration, thrive on it.

– Brij

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