The setting – high-end, posh award ceremony, Belvedere restaurant in Warsaw, gentlemen in black and white, ladies elegant. Cameras, flashes, full media service. Towering cake on the table, surrounded by caviar and champagne.
I walked onto stage in my safari shirt and wearing trekking shoes, as I would in African bush. It was my pleasure to receive Essence of Nature Award, given to people caring for well-being of our planet and doing something about it. I said:
‘Good evening. I just came back from Zimbabwe, grom Imire conservancy which I keep supporting for last seven years. It will take me a while to come back to our European ways. Maybe it’s for the better, because travels like mine make you really see the great divide across the world, between our, Western world and other worlds on this planet.
The suit I was to wear tonight – and it was not a particularly expensive suit – would cost a years’ salary in Zimbabwe. This marvelous gala, which we’re fortunate to be at tonight, I can only, guess, would put probably 10 thousand kids through their whole education.
Unfortunately our world is constructed in this nasty ways, that resources seem un-transferable. We could have stayed at home tonight, but it doesn’t mean any of the Zimbabwean kids will get their school fees paid. It just doesn’t work this way.
I’m such grateful for this award. It shows that even such little projects as mine have a meaning. Because, let’s be frank here’ what I do is just a drop in the ocean. But it sill means something.
Let me give you an example. The most recent problem in Imire is lack of gumboots. The rains will start soon and for next four months scouts will patrol the conservancy protecting animals against poachers, carrying FN rifles, maybe getting shot at by enemies wearing AK47s, and they will keep putting their lives on the line to preserve this last stretch of wildlife – all this wearing soaked-through shoes, because they cannot afford proper gumboots. All the gumboots they need would cost merely 400 dollars.
Usually we just don’t realize, how smallest things in our rich, Western world translate to significant, important changes somewhere far-away. I strongly believe that if we were to do nothing, it’s better to do anything, whatever. Especially that doing so doesn’t mean it has to be sad and serious. It can be fun and adventure in the middle of African bush, to which I invite you all. Let’s do something, anything at all, but lets! Thank you.
An hour later we had funds to buy all the gumboots Imire needs and way more.