Every once in a while something special comes along, usually out of the blue, that alters your perspective a little. It’s all too easy to get caught up within ourselves, which isn’t always necessarily a bad thing. But sometimes when you stretch your legs beyond your realm of influence, you come to realise that this world is far greater than you as one single person can truly comprehend, and within every second of every day, dotted along every inch of this earth, something living and breathing is happening.
It’s a somewhat surreal experience to step outside of your own life and enter into another’s. It’s a feeling I would say is the closest anyone can ever experience to visiting a different world; when the space you’re in, isn’t your own and lives surrounding you are not familiar to what you are used to. It might look like something you’re familiar with. But the physical experience allows you to be a part of it differently.
It’s strange how as technically savvy as we are in this day and age, how little we truly know of our world and the people we share it with. We see, read and hear the news of the world. Headlines bombard us all day every day. But how do we live our lives? Stepping away from my own for a few short days earlier this year made me realise just how much of a bubble existence I lead. Logically I know how other people live in various parts of the world. But do I really? With all that technology exposes us to, seeing pictures and video footage of a place compared to spending a day there is vastly different. During June this year I learned that seeing things from a distance or driving past a place giving no more than a passing glance versus spending a day being a part of another place can have a profound effect on perception. Being immersed in something touches you; connects with you. Looking at something from a distance merely adds to your library of memories.
Fragility of Being Human
In June this year I got to experience something that truly touched me. Perhaps this door within myself was already open as I approached an anniversary of a frightening experience that made me realise how quickly life can slip away from you and how valuable the simplest of things can truly be. All I know for sure is that ever since that chilly winter’s day when my head throbbed so much I could barely see, my chest burning and fighting with a tumultuous sea of nausea, my body breaking down and bleeding, and an intense fear that these may very well be my last few moments, I learned the value of a few precious seconds. I learned how insignificant our jobs, our bank accounts, our cars, our homes, our ability to spend money and our mechanisms for amusement truly are. Simple things really do hold the most weight when the fear of losing them becomes greater than you have in your own power to change. When you realise you’re just human. You are fragile.
This sense of humanity is a powerful thing and so easily forgotten. Being present in what it means to be alive is profound and when you step outside your own world, entering into another’s normal existence, you can discover a different side to humanity; the side that simply honest.
Leaving Footprints in Communities
This June, myself, a team of colleagues and newfound friends set off on a mission: encourage, motivate, play, and teach. We developed a project that aims to protect LIFE from destruction in all of its various forms. For nearly a year this project has muscled through a message that aims to help save our precious rhinos – the gentle giants of Africa’s Big Five. Our rhinos are dangerously under threat and being brutally massacred by the destructive side of human greed and selfishness. It’s animal versus human being out there. The destruction is horrific.
Surrounding our beautiful National Parks and Wildlife Reserves are pockets of communities living totally separate lives to those we in the cities are in full understanding of. Bordering the fence lines where these majestic animals quietly roam, handfuls within these communities are well within prime opportunities to get involved in such atrocious acts of harm.
Think about how you were raised and then you will know how you learned to live, how you learned to be… What you grow up exposed to, you either learn to be a part of or you learn how to survive doing the opposite of. You learn how to choose. You choose by how you are taught, by how you are influenced, and by how you instinctively feel.
We went there to raise awareness about the plight of the African rhino, to teach local communities about the heritage we share, and how together we all have the power to make a difference in saving them. We didn’t just simply talk to these men, women and children. We engaged with them, played soccer with them, talked and laughed together too.
Through the Eyes of Babes
Never travelling anywhere without a camera, I photographed everything. Perhaps it’s because today is World Rhino Day (22 September 2012) and South Africa’s Heritage Day (24 September) is on the horizon that the strongest of memories from this long weekend have arisen in me again. The faces of the children we met – as they played, absorbed, listened, and watched us, taking in our presence at every moment.
We were there to share the importance of our wildlife heritage with them. I took with me a number of things from this weekend, from the communities we visited, from my colleagues and friends as individuals too, but it was through engaging with the young children that a side to my own innocence was renewed, one lost as I grew up, one altered through my own set of experiences challenged by “the world of adults” and their own conflicts. The simplicity of the honest gazes, curiosity and smiles of these youngsters gave me a re-charged sense of hope. Our heritage lies within their hands. Their hands are ready and waiting…
ABOUT THE BLOGGER
Bronwen Watson is a Johannesburg based professional copywriter, with over 4 years copywriting experience including creating content for a diverse variety of fields in both long and short copy. From health and fitness to web design, online marketing and travel articles, as well as blogging, Bronwen has written several articles for the web and contributed to many marketing communications including brochure copy, email banners and screensavers.
Bronwen is an online copywriter for a company that specialises in luxury safari and touring adventures in both Africa and India, administrating and writing content for the web including blogs, micro-sites and social media management.