12 July 2010
March of the Ants
In Nicaragua, we visited the island where we have started a sponsorship program for children of pastors. While waiting for the ferry, one member of our group leaned over a brick wall at the water's edge and spotted a colony of ants on a mission trip. Soon, all four of us were bending over to watch the ants. There must have been hundreds of them rushing horizontally along the wall, each carrying a bright green piece of leaf. A roughly equal number moved quickly in the opposite direction, presumably on a search for a leaf load. They walked in an organized line at a steady pace for quite a distance along the wall before they disappeared from sight. The bright green pieces of leaf fluttered so slightly as they moved and-- well, the whole picture of their project was impressive. Since I have not studied ants very thoroughly, I am not sure whether they intended to eat the leaves or build a nest with it, but whatever their intention they were purposefully and passionately pursuing the goal and they were working together. I felt a strange desire to help them-- perhaps (for example) by moving the plant they wanted closer. I wonder how one goes about communicating and motivating hundreds of ants with this plan for the day? And how does one do the same thing with human beings?