"One does not meet oneself until one catches the reflection from an eye other than oneself."
Africa, the greatest show on earth beckoned like a great heartbeat over thirty years ago. There is an abiding fever in the light where life and death, terror and beauty merge as no other place on earth. Africa is where Rimbaud grew a new skin, became a human hyena scavenging experience as the Europeans plundered her soul for its riches.
On September 11th 2001, Marie and I witnessed an ecstatic Ngoma dance at the base of Mt Ngiro, where Ngai, the supreme deity resides. It is the Samburu who have as their supreme totem, the elephant, a being which some clans were said to be able to command at will. Today the elephant is threatened as never before. If the current killing of elephants continues for toothpicks, statuettes, hanko stamps and cigarette holders we will lose a great pillar of existence, one which will impact our future civilization. We may not be able to bear the loss of a being with whom we migrated out of Africa, tens of thousands of years ago.
If there are lessons to be learned from that inimitable continent, it is that Africa’s lessons are our own. Her first peoples are the oldest on earth, her nomads are some of the last to wander the vast sands of the absolute horizon, which stands as our earliest memory. Her first peoples, like the great storytellers, the Bushmen of the Kalahari, are among the ontological immune system of the human race. In her being resides a critical relationship to abiding on earth. Africa stands as the shadow of our beginnings, cradle to humanity and great mirror to what we are in the process of becoming, a thirsting purgatory caught between origin and our common fate. --Cyril Christo 2010
In 1900 there were perhaps 5 million elephants, in 1950 one million. After the slaughter of the 1980’s over 600,000 were destroyed. Today only about 400,000 remain. If the killing continues the world will lose the last herds by the middle of the 2020’s and the world will never be the same.
Pacquo, a Samburu elder we met in Amboseli, told us that if we lose the elephants only the crazy people will be left and we will lose our minds. There is a bond between us and the largest land mammal on earth that goes beyond biology. It is a karmic bond that ties us we sever at our own peril. All the elders we met agreed that the Creator, the forces that be, were punishing humanity because we had forgotten how to honor Creation, how to respect the elemental powers.