I watch as her old arthritic fingers fight with the small silver needle and sun burnt thread on its epic journey of stitching up the elephant cushion. She takes a deep breath. My eyes never leave her face as her corn blue eyes, weathered with the passing of time twinkle and her cheeks glow like ripe strawberries as a huge satisifed sigh escapes her. ‘All done.’ She murmurs. It has taken a little time to do these two cushions as at 85, she always informs me that she can no longer run a marathon. My mum is a delightful and amazing old lady and I love and admire that she wants to help me raise funds for Chengeta Wildlife. I took photos of her beautiful cushions and put them on face book last night. What a fantastic response…and I now have to go and tell her that her work is not done. I have closed the cushion shop as she has orders for 10 more and I know what she will say.
‘I better do them as quick as I can because time is what I have…but how much time..I don’t know.’ And she will laugh at the horrified look on my face and we will work together to get these cushions done. So this coming week, I will snatch moments of time, oil the sewing machine and we will get busy on ‘elephant cushions.’ Stacked up next to me on the table, are beautiful calendars and numerous elephant key rings/chains for sale…all proceeds will go towards Chengeta Wildlife and the amazing work that Rory Young is doing in training rangers.
These are precious moments that are set in my memory like snap shots as I watch my family..the oldest being 85 down to the youngest who is comming up 4. My heart swells with pride when I hear them all talking about Chengeta Wildlife, Rangers and the poaching of elephants and rhinos and what we can do to help fight this scourge. We sit around the ancient dining room table making key chains, cushions or deciding what image would be best for the calendars.
I love the erth. It is the most specolest planet ever. Love Kayleigh. I liv in the UK. KBJ loves elees.
This money for the elees. To save the world.
(Took a few repeats from the author and rolling of eyes towards the ceiling when I took too long to decipher her note)
As a family, we work as a team. While I am now the matriarch of my family, I value what my mum has taught me. She plays a huge part in the family circle. Sadly her links with family members are stretched tight as they span over vast distances as we are now scattered all over the world. She shares her precious memories with her great grandchildren which offer breath taking glimpses into her past where the pulse of Africa throbbed beneath her feet and the cerulean sky drifted into infinity. She pines for her children, grand children and great grand children living in distant lands, and enjoys the ones who are close by. Elephants are no different from us.
Elephant families will also split but their reunions are incredible. Making contact through a swirl of dust, these mighty creatures embrace: ears flapping, tusks clicking, leaning into and rubbing each other: all the while urinating and defecating. Spinning in circles, they encompass the world with their joy and a cacophony of trumpeting screams and rumbles shred the air. Happy and joyful is their reunion.
While we are desperately trying to help Rory Young train rangers to fight the scourge of poaching, many thousands of miles away from where we sit around the dining room table, the sunset, in an explosion of gold is bidding the African day goodnight. While wisps of cloud flutter past the African half moon lying serenely on ber back, the magnificent martriarch wearing her robe of wrinkles and two well worn tusks trumpets in rage as bullets thump into the smallest member of her herd and she hears the bone crack. Trees explode as bullets ricochet and chaos reigns as this elephant herd is lost in a world of ugly greed, violence and blackness. With dawns slow promise of a golden day… a mighty stillness settles. Help us to help them.
These magnificent animals ask only for the space to roam free under the cerulean sky without fear, surrounded by their families and doing what elephants always do: living in the moment. As the superior beings, we do have one thing that no other living creature does: we have the ability to change the way things are. We hold the destiny of every living creature in our hands, and yet so few of us hear their silent cries of agony and their helpless pleas. The greed for ‘white gold’ has become the elephants downfall as the horn of the rhino has become their fate and their numbers are decreasing at an alarming rate. Elephants show all the best attributes of mankind with few of them displaying our darker sides.
Rory meeting with the chief and elders of Sidakoro, Parc National de Haut Niger
‘Meeting with the chief and elders of Sidakoro, Parc National de Haut Niger.
A critical part of the training and ops is how and why to approach community leaders and to sensitize and educate them, preferably developing in the process a positive flow of information from the community. With them on sides half the battle is won. Sometimes it is tedious work, lacking the excitement and adrenaline of pursuit and apprehension ops. That does not make it any less important.
In this case, far from complaining that the park and rangers are a nuisance the complaint from the elders and community is that poaching in protected areas has caused dramatic reduction in wildlife in traditional hunting areas. The majority of that poaching is by outside commercial poachers travelling to the park and then transporting the meat and other products to far away cities. In such situations the community can be and are a natural and important ally.’
While Rory Young gives of his time to train rangers throughout Africa, I am asking all of you…look at our chengetawildlife.org page. Help us to train and equip these men on the ground. Change will come….but we cannot afford to drift in the stream of the world….we need to act now. Africa’s wildlife needs us all to take an active role so that we can lead them out of the dark.
Consumers of ivory and rhino horn..hear their screams and let the heavy silence of loss flank you. Behind every piece of ivory and rhino horn is a story…a barbaric and bloody story. Your desire for ivory trinkets and rhino horn is decimating Africa’s elephants and rhinos. Those ivory bracelets, chopsticks and figurines are the cause of elephants being slaughtered. How can you desire something that is so significant of violence and death.