Sunday 3rd, May 2020

Lisette Pons · Photography
5 min readMay 22, 2020


I was surprised by the explanation offered by our first grandson, Simon - only 6 years old at the time- , considering intelligence as the “means of excelling.” It gave me food for thought. (See the first blog post)

Surpass: “Being superior to someone else”.

This is the first definition of the word surpass in the Royal Academy Spanish Dictionary.

Chemical photography. B&W negative
Silver Halide on handmade cotton paper (acid free) 65 x 50 cm

I am very aware that whoever may read my questioning the intelligence of a human being and comparing it with that of an elephant will, at least, smile. Most surely the word intelligence was not well chosen. I believe I should replace the word “Intelligence” with “Wisdom”, which carries more nuance. Intelligence and Wisdom. Are they learned or are they innate qualities? I will continue pondering that question.

I got back to Simon and asked him what difference he believed there was between intelligence and wisdom. I transcribe his answer here, to the letter:

Hello Grandma, now I am going to get to your question that I haven’t answered for a long time. I think that intelligence is more when someone knows a lot about technology, and a little bit of the other, because I think it’s more like … if I put this here, this here and this here, that will end up with such and such of whatever. Wisdom is when someone knows more about the planet, and not so much about technology, but more about the planet, the trees, all of nature …that’s what I believe. A kiss to you. I hope you’re well. Lots of kisses….

There is no need for me to hunt around for the thousands of definitions that I could find on what we call intelligence.

My view is always subjective, and therefore, questionable and very far cry from aiming to be a referent point; it is simply my view, and only that.

I dedicated the book “The African Elephant” to Simon as well to another child … I don’t remember whether from Kenya or Tanzania.

From the prologue -The African Elephant- Lisette Pons.

-I dedicate my book to two children who will never meet. To my first grandson Simón. And to a child from Africa, whether from Kenya or Tanzania I don’t remember.

It was his joy upon seeing us that broke all my coherent western structures back then in 1992. I embarked on a slow path of reflection and change, destined to take me to the place where I am today. I felt the desire to live in these places where, in the enormous space of their extent, I found the sound of peace. It was the depth and sincerity of his smile that captivated me, and which I did not understand.

This smile is what made me come back time and again to this Africa, which I had come to know. I wanted to understand. […]

Chemical photography. B&W negative
Silver Halide on handmade cotton paper (acid free) 65 x 50 cm

We were looking for a photograph and a name for the Camp logo. We wanted the photo to reflect our Project, a project that would involve work, effort, patience, perseverance and continuity. As for the name, we searched for a Maasai word, and among several options we finally decided on“ENKOPIRO” which means, bird feather. Perhaps the realization of dreams has much to do with the flight of a bird.

The “Manyatta” is almost finished. It has been a long job, and it has been built by four Maasai women who live in their village, very nearby the Camp.

The first job a Maasai woman does when she gets married is to build her house. I told them it didn’t need interior walls, just a big empty space, four windows, and a door. I explained that it would be a small library for books. They didn’t really understand that. When it was almost finish, I asked them to make some shelves as well. Surprised, they told me that they believed it was meant to be my home.

The desire to have a “Manyatta” in the Camp serves as a testimony to, and appreciation of, the traditional techniques used by the Maasais. We want to turn it into a small and specialized library where one can find bibliographic references regarding their culture, about the history of British colonization and about lovers of these lands, as they also form part of the history of this spot. It is about researchers and protectionists, about behaviour and evolution, and with special mention made of the Elephants, an indisputable value that we want to highlight and talk about. We have also reserved a space to document the medicinal use of plants, still present today among the oldest of the Maasai culture.

The work continues. The entire drainage system has been designed and mapped out and is now ready for the installation.

The heavy rain of recent days has forced us to prioritize the construction of the carpentry workshop and materials warehouse.

We want Enkopiro Camp to be a special place, and here we are building furniture, imagining spaces, selecting materials and colours. We already have our first tent.

Two days ago the Elephants came to visit us in the evening, at 150m from the Camp.



Lisette Pons · Photography

FREELANCE PHOTOGRAPHER WITH 45 YEARS EXPERIENCE. Artist. Barcelona, 1955. Travelling, exploring and writting. Lives and works in Mallorca.