To be asked to play a minuscule part in raising funds for The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust fills me with a great feeling of satisfaction. It does not matter how small my part was: I just need to do all I can to help raise awareness on the plight of the elephants. I will continue to do so until some sanity prevails.
I am so passionate about helping these animals that I accepted a request to read one of my poems at a ‘Charity concert’ held in Leatherhead, UK this last Friday night. I accepted the invitation with alacrity promising that Gary (my husband) and Mikaela (my daughter) would attend with me and that one of us would recite the poem, leaving myself some cowardly leeway. They both refused. I felt a stomach churning weightlessness at the thought of standing in front of an audience. No amount of begging and pleading could budge either of them, although on a couple of occasions, I could feel them caving in before hardening their resolve. After cursing them both in a petulant voice, I wrote and practiced my poem, learning it off by heart. I also put together an image to be displayed on the screen, by purchasing some images from Shutterstock and superimposing one photograph on top of the other.
As Friday drew closer, I knew that for me, the evening was going to be a little like ‘eating the frog’. The drive down to Leatherhead was done in relative quiet, as I went over and over and over my poem, pronouncing each word and trying to neutralize my Zimbabwean accent. When my turn came, my mouth felt so dry that the inner folds stuck to my teeth and the muscles in my butt were as twitchy as a sea anemone. Snapping up the paper with the poem as I had at the last minute decided to play it safe, I walked as slowly as I could to the front of the hall, trying to control my heaving heart and shaking hands.
My poem is called SURVIVORS and here is a video clip of me helping to raise some funds for this worthy cause. I could feel my cheeks glowing like the ripest of strawberries as I warbled my way to the end of my poem. I was so proud of myself as I had done it. Sliding back onto my chair, I felt a great sense of satisfaction as a young man tapped me on the shoulder, and on turning, I could see the tears in his eyes. ‘You made me cry’, he smiled.’ That was a beautiful tribute to the orphan elephants at The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust’.
I grinned back at him. ‘Thank you’, I said, ‘That is exactly what I wanted to achieve.’
I was then able to sit back and relax as talented people took to the stage with their different acts and all under the umbrella of raising funds for this awesome trust. My video clip has not been done professionally but it shows that every person can do their little bit to help these iconic animals.