After taking out Slice, the Zanzibar Leopard, it felt like the whole world was watching what I accomplished. That couldn’t be further from the truth. As I was perched up in the tree, I looked over at Slice, dead on the ground below. I thought to myself that someone would be running up to see what the commotion was about, and it was at that point, I realized there was no commotion. Nobody knew what had just happened, nobody knew the feat that I just overcame. But, the glory that I felt in myself was enough for me to be proud of protecting my people, and that was all I needed.
As I climbed down the tree, I didn’t even need to look at Slice to know what his fate was. I had no feelings about the situation, I just felt I was doing my duty, and I began walking back to my camp with a strong sense of pride, where I crawled into my sleeping bag in a tent, and drifted off to happy slumber.
The following morning, as we prepared for the leopard hunt that day, I walked alone into the forest to see what had become of Slice. To my surprise, I saw a path of blood that appeared to be from dragging the body away. My only suspicion was that another predator took Slice to his camp with him or her, and feast on him by themselves. It was at that moment, I knew, nobody would ever find out what had come of Slice. Nobody would know who the Slayer of Slice the Leopard was. And a sense of calmness overcame me. I decided in that moment, I wouldn’t ever tell a soul. (Hey, being on the internet, I’m practically anonymous now, don’t judge)
Over the next 6 months, our militia hunted down more and more leopards, but I never having to kill another, which gave me some peace of mind. Slice was enough, I knew he was a bad leopard that wasn’t doing good for anybody, but all these other leopards, who is to say that they were actually killing people. They could have been normal leopards that would only attack other animals of prey. But, it honestly made no difference to me, and I was glad once to have eventually left the militia without any post traumatic stress from my time fighting.
At the time of leaving the militia, I was 19 years old. I had felt I had lived a short life, and it dawned on me that my life was quite uneventful. Day in, and day out, I had done the same thing for much of my life, albeit spurts of different activities. I started to think about my place in the world, and how I was stuck on this tiny island in the Indian Ocean, and I became very anxious about my place in this world. My frustration overcame me, and one day, I decided I was going to make a break for it.
An uncle of mine had a boat. Uncle and I were very similar in our beliefs. I had always confided in him about my opinions and beliefs, and he shared with me things from his perspective that gave me a different perspective of life. I told him how I was very stressed living in this island, and I was looking for a way out. He told me my mother would be very sad if I left, but said that she could tell I was becoming antsy living here. She had never left the island, but after the conversation with my uncle, I told my mother that Uncle and I were leaving, and we would come back in a few years to take care of her.
The following day, Uncle and I hopped on his boat, and made our way to the mainland of Tanzania, where we departed. We did not have much money, but we gathered a passport, and just enough money for a plane ticket to the United States. We left the main Tanzania airport, and made a flight to California. The flight used up most of our money, but when Uncle and I landed in the San Francisco Bay area, and saw the business of the city, we knew we had just started a new life.
San Francisco was very unfamiliar to our type of people. There were many white people all around, and my skin color helped us somewhat fit in, and we didn’t receive too many people staring us down like I had even experienced in Zanzibar. Since we had hardly any money, Uncle and I thought it would be best if we spent what we had and buy a cheap bike, and attach a cart to tow behind it. We filled it with our belongings, and began biking East.