Finding harmony between humans and nature

July 21, 2014
by 
Christine Charette, Youth member of Development and Peace

The landscapes in Zambia are unbelievable! Today, we are on our way to Livingstone, known for the famous and powerful Victoria Falls. I’m so thankful to our Zambian friend, Andrew Simpasa, a Jesuit seminarian, for his kindness, his happiness and his time and energy to bring us to visit this amazing wonder of the world. I have never seen someone so proud of his country!

Even awake at 3:30 a.m., I am alert so that I can witness the truly beautiful views of the Zambian landscape. And the memorable sunrises! They only last a few minutes but their rich colours last much longer in your memory. It is impossible to wake up without a smile when you are witnessing the beauty of Mother Nature right before your eyes. It is interesting that many Zambians have told us that their country is perfect. It has everything it needs and in all the right places: water ways, forests, agricultural land… And yet, even with these, it suffers from such intense poverty and injustice. According to many people, this suffering and struggle is due to a lack of good management and fair policies to protect the poor, and is intensified by the near theft of natural resources and assets by foreign corporations.

I have always been an animal lover, and I find myself very excited to see the abundant wildlife that exists in this ‘perfect’ country. Throughout my childhood, I grew up on animated films, like the Lion King, and from these had developed an image of Africa as a place where lions, birds and zebras live in a circular interconnected community. A community where human reach does not taint or domesticate the wilderness. But as I learned, humans are part of that interconnectedness as well.

When the air is fresh and you feel the African sun on your skin, it gives you an energy I have never felt before. I know that may sound strange, but as Marie-Hélène, one of the Development and Peace Youth Animator’s accompanying us, told me: “There’s no better way to reconnect with yourself and the Earth than being in another country with people who live with simple pleasures and in harmony with their environment.”

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