Thursday 16th April, 2020
The first time I showed my work focused on the African Savannah was in 1996, at the Zoological Museum in Barcelona, following my two trips to Africa: the first taking me to Kenya and Tanzania, and the second only to Tanzania. I was overwhelmed by the Beauty I witnessed. My exhibited work was surrounded by showcases with desiccated animals …I wanted to shout out: No! All of this exists, it is not dead!
At a Museum of Natural History, we do not know whether we are talking about Life or Death, but it is throught talking about death that we evoke life.
Together with the impact of those “Times Past,” I experienced the intensity of another human sort: the encounter with the Maasai tribe and the tribe of the Datoga tribe, and the Azdas, at Lake Eyasi, in Tanzania. Nomad tribes with no affiliation.
Impossible not to reflect on that.
These trips somehow marked my life. I have continued to travel and to live on. I’ve wanted to keep learning. Travelling has always opened up infinite horizons before me and there I ask myself: Who am I? Who are we?
Naively I believed that things would follow this order of ‘Beauty’ and that Evolution meant “Growth and Advancement”. Later i saw that wasn’t the case.
On April 12 we due to fly back home toMallorca, where we had moved in 2005. We are still here in Kenya. There is a virus travelling the world right now that demands that we stay put and move around as little as possible. A great challenge posed by a tiny being, a virus with great power.
Turning back to my book, -The African Elephant- which was a long and challenging task involving shaping and giving order to a multitude of emotions, feelings, reflections and experiences. In doing so, I was privileged to count on the help of Alicia, the elder of our three daughters, who , generously came to my aid offering her experience as a graphic designer. Aplplying her meticulous attention to detail, we were able to create a book that spoke not only from its content, but also from all of the messages the blank spaces, the textures, the fonts can provide to transmit an important piece of my life. A message coming both from my head and my heart.
Curiously, the phrase, which challenged us the most regarding our translation into English was this: -Is there no group consciousness in the human being? Is it being part of a group that allows us to learn who we are?
I believe that what I’ve done the most in my life has been thinking. Rita Levi Montalcini, Nobel Prize winner for medicine in 1986, said: “The day I can no longer think, help me die.” She was giving proof that an active brain never ages. She died at the age of 103 years, and in addition to her research achievements, was an exemplary woman. There are very “grand” people from whom we can learn a lot.
Right now I have the extreme privilege of being in the midst of a great natural surrounding that is African Savannah, protecting us from that virus that today rules the world. It has not spent billions on campaigns, but has simply evolved into being a powerful virus.
(…) A phrase I saw written in capital on a single panel at the Nobel Museum in Stockholm struck my eye: “KNOWLEDGE IS THE NUMBER ONE PRIORITY”. I ask myself, what is priority number two? Is it to ask what we will do with that knowledge? How and where we apply it? -The African Elephant- Lisette Pons. Pag 46
One of the first ideas that came to my mind when we decided to undertake this amazing adventure of building a Camp here in Kenya, was to make a small and carefully created library inside a “Manyatta” (as the Maasais call their houses). The Maasai culture has always been passed down orly, through the generations. Today, when many cultures are disappearing, it is worth remembering what we have done, how and why. With knowledge of the past, and full awareness of our present, perhaps we can decide what we want for our future. Evolution?
We continue with the jobs at hand: Marta, briefly summarizing, these include:
Cutting down the dead trees. Cutting back the acacias damaged by wind. Moving logs to the new bonfire site. Mowing the grassy area in front of the office and kitchen. Cows and lambs in the Camp eating the mown grass. We have started work on the shower columns. We must dig a ditch and channel the water in the platform area of tent number 5. Designing and taking measurements for the new mirror and frame. Designing and taking measurements for the towel racks. Prototype bathroom lamps. We already bought the lamp shades in Nairobi. We also bought a fabric with which to make cushion covers. Do you know someone who could sew those? I’ve looked at the colour samples of the leather hides. Kumar will continue trying to work on those. He knows what he is doing and is reliable. I have checked all the tones and made choices regarding the colours and combination of materials for the other tents. We will make the standing lamp. We have the shade for this, as well as for the desk lamp. Rug choices have been made for the third tent. We will confirm and pay for those when, depending on the timing, we want production of them to begin. The Elephants have been here…and have stripped the bark from the tree trunks.