Seeds of Hope
Ming Yu Liu, Division 3, College senior #ws17e-s3d3

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. If human being will return to the ground, it means we are also a part of the Nature. The Mother Nature nourishes us, offers us what we need. It, as a mother, never complains how much waste we have produced or blames why we cut down living trees. We as spoiled children never get satisfied and always ask for more resources. Human beings are greedy and own the Mother Nature gratitude.

I never appreciated the Mother Nature when I was little. My parents didn’t allow me to get closed to it. They told me how dangerous it is so I have no chance to see the beauty of the Nature. Whenever I want to touch plants, insects, or even sand, I would be rebuked and reminded they may contain substance to irritate my skin or even be poisonous. Not until I grow up, I know how stupid I was for not having interaction with the Mother Nature. Just because I never appreciate its preciousness, I have to seize every moment I can be with it. Its role to me is the platform to connect people, life, and world.

Base on my belief, I made a big decision in my life to plunge myself into the nature when I was twenty. I had a temporary suspension approval from the school. I started my natural journey from South Africa to East Africa for 9 months. I was alone and my only companion was my backpack. Nevertheless, my mind was filled with excitement and curiosity. Lonely won’t be the word on me. I have the sky, stars, and all spirits from the nature to be with me, and I might also meet people from different tribes. I told myself it’s a great opportunity to explore the essence of nature. All I have to do were letting go off my emotion, opening my mind, and deepening my appreciation capacity.

My experience with the nature is positive on this long journey. To name of few, I roamed on the rocky road, I ran along the coast, I walked through puddle, I had fun with flora and fauna, and I even went swimming in the wild Kenya. I was spoiled by the twinkling stars at night and was embraced by the passionate sunny brightness in daytime. I was in happiness because I lived under the Mother Nature’s love and it never refused my requirement of asking more care. The scenery, the people, and the smell still touch me after all these years.

The experience in Africa has changed my life. It lets me realize how valuable the nature is to human existence. In the most remote parts of the world in Africa, tribes still coexist with the ecosystem with nature. I went to a no-name tribe with no water, no electricity, no toilet, no noise, and no air pollution. Their house is built by mud and with straw on top. Village civilians drink and wash their clothes from creek water. They cut trees to fire and cook. I asked them whether they know about email or internet. The answer was negative. I further asked what their address is so I can write to them. They told me they don’t need it because they spend all their lives there. I finally asked them to show me where the toilet is. They took me to a big and deep hole and gave me a piece of paper. I thought the paper was to cover my nose from the stinky smell but they told me it was for cleaning.

Over there material life and money are not their concern. They might not have sufficient plastic tools or lack of substance, but their great happiness is built on simple life. It is so easy to reach nature by opening window. In my eyes, they are richer than any one from metropolitans. People from so-called modern cities are framed by doctrine, discipline, and other people’s criticism. We like to make simple thing complicated and forget we used to enjoy the simple life too.

Nature plays important role from past, now, and to the future. If someone asks what we can do for the next generation, that must be taking action to cherish the Mother Nature because we are all interconnected. Throughout history, we have seen examples of how an action changed the world. For instance, Mahatma Gandhi ended colonial rule in India, and the scientist, scholar and author Rachel Carson wrote the guidebook of Silent Spring and became the mother of the modern environmental movement. They all have vision to take actions to make the world better. Dr. Maathai from a rural area of Kenya helped women and children learn how to plant trees in order to stop the soil erosion that could take away their communities and livelihoods. The result was magnificent because more than 51 million trees were planted throughout Kenya and it was continued launching to a global movement of planting more than 12 billion trees. This success made her won a Nobel Peace Prize nearly 30 years later.

In most people’s mind, the image of Africa is poor, deserted, and dirty. I used to be one of them. Not until I crossed the border from Tanzania to Rwanda, looking out the window on the bus to see the capital, Kigali, I realized how I was tangled by wrong information. I couldn’t believe the view on my sight because there was no single rubbish or plastic bag floating in the air that I was accustomed to seeing in other African countries. The roads are clean and the air is fresh. Compared to the former no-named tribe, over 95% children in Rwanda can receive primary education and 3 quarters people have drinking water. It seems a big contrast in material prosperity between these two places. However, people in Rwanda use their power to make nature a part of their daily life and keep a good balance between enjoying modern convenience and saving nature resources. If the role of nature is as a mother to the no-name tribe, it is as a friend to Kigali.

To reflect myself, I feel so small and empty of my past life. This natural journey relieves me from material necessity and wanton ego. I consider the journey to desert routine and choose spiritual richness is the best decision I have ever made. I wish everyone can see the importance of nature as I do. How to interact, respect, and adapt to the nature becomes the mission I will follow. Ultimately, through actions I can create a better living environment and benefit to myself, to people and surroundings around me, and most important to the next generations.
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