The Hummingbird...

If there’s one thing we Kenyan’s know how to do its come together in times of crisis or in this case to bid a respectful good bye to one of its fallen and much loved heroines.

After the initial shock, awe and sadness had worn off then came the tributes flowing fast like a river unabated and for a brief moment we were all banded together and our differences seemed to disappear if only just for the week.

We gathered together a band of brothers and sisters to pay our respects and sing our songs to one of the strongest most passionate fighters of the environment and women’s (and indeed human) rights the nation has had the pleasure of spawning. She was fierce in her beliefs and love for the country; she was truly amazing and will be missed by the world. Ovarian cancer ended her struggle to preserve not only our present but our future generations.

Everyone is planting trees from the young to the old, to the famous and the ordinary, everyone is getting their hands dirty for this good cause…
It strikes me as I sit here and write this tribute of sorts to the 71 year old Wangari Muta Maathai why we didn’t think of planting these trees when she was still alive… I guess death has a way of waking us all up to tribute, change and the brevity of life, stirring us into doing what we should have been doing all along.

What did not surprise me and many Kenyan’s was her last wish to be cremated instead of being buried, it put a smile on my sleepy face when I first heard of the decision on the radio. She was conscious - even when faced with the decision in death- of the environment she fought and bled to protect, choosing to preserve it… a move I think will be emulated in the future.

I awoke especially early on Saturday morning to watch her final bow as the hearse carried her to freedom corner where a 30 minute tribute and state funeral was carried out with speeches from the President, Prime Minister, Vice President and members of her Green Belt movement and where a special
Her casket (in accordance to her wishes)was a creation woven out water hyacinth was made by three Kisumu artisans George Otieno, Evans Obudo and Tom Okoth who are based at Kisumu Innovation Centre, Kenya (KICK), have been training community members on the economic viability of the hyacinth.

So as the country continues to plant trees, honour the 2004 Nobel Laureate and continue her lifelong legacy of protecting and loving our earth we know that the Humming bird that did all it could will never be forgotten but will instead continue to inspire those around the globe to do their bit to take care of the planet while we can and most of all to live life fully with the utmost passion and love and the heart of a lion, unafraid to stand up for whatever we may believe in.

May you rest in peace and may our efforts to change and conserve the environment you fought so hard for make you smile.


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