Well, Mother Nature surely played a gigantic April Fool’s joke on us today. After 14 inches of wet heavy snow (poor person’s fertilizer) and 5 hours without power I am back online and ready to post Birthday wishes to one of my heroines. Wangari Maathai, 2004 Nobel Peace Prize winner for her work with the Greenbelt movement in Africa.
When I started researching this post I knew that Ms. Maathai was a political and ecological activist in Kenya. She is one of the founders of the Green Party there and just generally an extremely admirable woman. She started projects for poor rural women in her country to earn money by planting tree nurseries (something close to my heart as I have a very small nursery of my own) and using those trees to reforest the lands that had been denuded of trees and undergone desertification.
I had no idea of the struggles and obstacles she had over come to achieve these goals. Imprisonment, death threats, exile. What kind of world do we live in where a person who just wants to plant trees is worthy of death threats.? Oh and of being accused of being an “uppity woman”. I think that may be one of the most endearing aspects of her whole story. Her husband divorced her because she was too strong-willed and he could not “control” her. You go girl!!!
So pop over and read Wikipedia about her.
I’ll close with a quote from the Nobel Prize Committee:
“Maathai stood up courageously against the former oppressive regime in Kenya. Her unique forms of action have contributed to drawing attention to political oppression—nationally and internationally. She has served as inspiration for many in the fight for democratic rights and has especially encouraged women to better their situation.”
—The Norwegian Nobel Committee, in a statement announcing her as the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize winner.