One of our inspirations is Wangari Maathai, the late Kenyan Founder of the Green Belt Movement and 2004 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. Wangari weaves a story of hope that is inspired by the tiny hummingbird who works tirelessly on behalf of all creatures:
One day, a massive fire broke out in the forest, and all the animals, finding the flames coming ever closer, decided to save themselves. They rushed to the edge of the forest and watched, overwhelmed and feeling helpless, as the fire engulfed their home. That is, all animals except one: a hummingbird, who said, “I’m going to do something about the fire!” So she flew to the nearest stream and scooped up a drop of water in her beak and deposited it on the conflagration. Back and forth she flew from stream to the inferno, tireless and focused, without losing patience or speed. Each time she carried a droplet and let it fall on the flames. In the meantime, as the fire raged, the other animals looked on in amazement and disbelief. They were overwhelmed and dismayed. “You are too small,” they said to the hummingbird. “You cannot hope to put out the fire. What do you think you’re doing?” As she prepared to dive again, the hummingbird turned to the animals and nodded her head. “I’m doing the best I can!” And this is what we are called to do, no matter who or where we are, or what our capabilities. We are called to do the best we can!
Wangari’s story embodies the spirit in which The Hummingbird Project was founded and serves as an earnest call to action.