April 16, 2010

Port-au-Prince, Haiti

For anyone who's wondering or cares to know... the "Wish You Were Here" thing started several years ago as a cheap, "in yo face" kind of post card.

Since then, it's grown into a making a mark wherever we go. Half-based in being stingy on postcards and stamps, half-based in Galapagos mantra ("Take only photos, leave only footprints..."), Wish You Were Here has now visited several countries in North/Central/South America and the Caribbean, and hopefully will head to Asia this summer! FYI... you can help make that happen by clicking the Google button over there --> and making a secure, online donation to help me raise funds for airfare to Cambodia :)

I didn't have the time (or desire!) to make a "Wish You Were Here" sign in Haiti, so I photoshopped one after the fact.

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Thanks to MC for taking the original photo, somewhere in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, February 2010.

April 1, 2010

making a difference

So I've been somewhat haunted lately about Haiti and the whole experience - the dangerous situation versus the good we were able to do. The logistics, the finances, the planning, and all the Animal Welfare drama that goes along with it.

But all in all, I keep coming back to the following thought - which also helped me through a difficult, life-changing experience in Ecuador last year. It just seems like there are too many animals and never enough time. But that's not the case, nor is it important.

Adapted from The Star Thrower
by Loren Eiseley (1907 - 1977)

Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work. One day he was walking along the shore. As he looked down the beach, he saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself to think of someone who would dance to the day. So he began to walk faster to catch up. As he got closer, he saw that it was a young man and the young man wasn't dancing, but instead he was reaching down to the shore, picking up something and very gently throwing it into the ocean.

As he got closer, he called out, "Good morning! What are you doing?"

The young man paused, looked up and replied "Throwing starfish into the ocean."

The man called back, "I guess I should have asked, Why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?"

To which the young man replied "The sun is up and the tide is going out. And if I don't throw them in they'll die."

"But young man, don't you realize that there are miles and miles of beach and starfish all along it. You can't possibly make a difference!"

The young man listened politely. Then bent down, picked up another starfish and threw it into the sea, past the breaking waves. "It made a difference for that one!"

This response surprised the man, he was upset, he didn't know how to reply, so instead he turned away and walked back to the cottage to begin his writings.

All day long as he wrote, the image of that young man haunted him; he tried to ignore it, but the vision persisted. Finally, late in the afternoon, he realized that he the scientist, he the poet, had missed the essential nature of the young man's actions. Because he realized that what the young man was doing was choosing not to be an observer in the universe and watch it pass by, but was choosing to be an actor in the universe and make a difference. He was embarrassed.

That night he went to bed, troubled. When morning came, he awoke knowing that he had to do something; so he got up, put on his clothes, went to the beach and found the young man; and with him spent the rest of the morning throwing star fish into the ocean.

You see, what the young man's actions represent is something that is special in each and every one of us. We have all been gifted with the ability to make a difference. And if we can, like the young man, become aware of that gift, we gain through the strength of our vision the power to shape the future.

Vision without action is merely a dream
Action without vision just passes time
Vision with action can change the world

reprinted from http://www.starthrower.com/star_thrower_story_script.htm