We are constantly being bombarded by problems that we face and sometimes we can get completely overwhelmed.
The story of the hummingbird is about this huge forest being consumed by a fire. All the animals in the forest come out and they are transfixed as they watch the forest burning and they feel very overwhelmed, very powerless, except this little hummingbird. It says, ‘I’m going to do something about the fire!’
So it flies to the nearest stream and takes a drop of water. It puts it on the fire, and goes up and down, up and down, up and down, as fast as it can. In the meantime all the other animals, much bigger animals like the elephant with a big trunk that could bring much more water, they are standing there helpless.
And they are saying to the hummingbird, ‘What do you think you can do? You are too little. This fire is too big. Your wings are too little and your beak is so small that you can only bring a small drop of water at a time.’
But as they continue to discourage it, it turns to them without wasting any time and it tells them ‘I am doing the best I can.’
And that to me is what all of us should do. We should always be like a hummingbird. I may be insignificant, but I certainly don’t want to be like the animals watching the planet goes down the drain. I will be a hummingbird, I will do the best I can.
Wangari Maathai was a Kenyan environmentalist who started the Green Belt Movement. She “encouraged the women to work together to grow seedlings and plant trees to bind the soil, store rainwater, provide food and firewood, and receive a small monetary token for their work” (GBM).
She was a professor, assistant minister for the Environment and Natural Resources, and the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize. She has inspired many people here in Kenya, and she has empowered young women to take a stand on environmentalism and become active. One of those women is the current Miss Environment Kenya, Moraa Ondieki, who first told me the story of the hummingbird.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Moraa yesterday. Expect the interview to be published soon on Kenyadventure! Until then, enjoy this video of the wonderful Wangari Maathai, taken from the movie Dirt.