There is a lot of talk going on about the passing of Steve Jobs and he will be missed. But let us not forget that we lost another being that changed the world. On September 25 Wangari Maathai, 2004 Nobel Peace Prize Winner became an ancestor. I first heard about Wangari in 2002 when a colleague of mine asked me if I had heard of the Green Belt Movement. At the time I was working for an environmental organization and I was ecstatic to find out about an African woman that was doing environmental work.
She endured prison, beatings, and losing her children. But she still moved forward to change the lives of women and men in Kenya.
WE MUST NOT TIRE, WE MUST NOT GIVE UP, WE MUST PERSIST-
Her strategy was simple and yet it changed a country
Barack Obama said “The work of the Greenbelt Movement stands as a testament to the power of grassroots organizing, proof that one person’s simple idea—that a community should come together to plant trees—can make a difference, first in one village, then in one nation, and now across Africa.
And the Dalai Lama said” Her movement combined women’s rights, conservation and transparent government.
How did Wangari Maathai change things?
She taught women how to plant trees and trained them in grass roots organizing around an idea she called the Wrong Bus Syndrome
“What could possibly make anyone get on the wrong bus?
1. Ignorance — You do not know how to read the signs or you asked for directions but was misled by someone else who also does not know how to read the signs
2. Naivety — You think there is only one direction (whatever direction the bus is going)
3. Fear — You are too afraid to ask for directions because you do not want to disturb other people’s peace or hurt their feelings (by making them aware of the fact that they too are sitting in the wrong bus).
4. Pride — You are too proud to ask for directions. You find an inquisitive mind embarrassing and asking questions of strangers stupid
5. Pack mentality — Everyone else was getting in the bus and you too got in because you didn’t want to be the “odd one” looking in from the outside
6. Absent-mindedness — You are preoccupied with other thoughts, not mentally alert or focused
7. Indecisiveness — You got on the right bus but midway changed your mind about the direction you want to go. Got out and got into the wrong bus. Now you’re so confused and can’t figure out exactly which is the “right bus” and which one is the “wrong bus”
In honor to Wangari Maathai I am going to make a conscious effort to see the ways that I have gotten on the wrong bus and move to change these behaviors in myself.
My get off the wrong bus resolution
- Put my money in a credit union
- Grow my own food in a community garden next year
- Talk to a young person about their hopes and dreams
- Volunteer at an organization that feeds people
- Help clean the Anacostia River ( Maferefun Oshun)
- Create the Osoosi Peace Garden that I have been talking about for 8 years
Yes, It is time for me to get off the wrong bus and walk my path.
We love you Wangari Maathai and will miss you!