Have you ever thought how the world might be if everything revolved around work? That we were not meant to think beyond working, such that your plan for life is to live a working life, and when you quit, you drop?
We might, therefore, be zombies who are only one-dimensional sort of creatures. But we could still be humans whose vision is to till and plough every little space that we find. Now the most sought out news could be how people in New Zealand managed to level Mt. Aoraki and plant sorghum, and how the Nepalese are halfway to complete planting of tobacco on top of the Himalayas. The world could be heading to Africa to learn from it on methods of felling all trees in the forests, and Europe could be feted for evaporating all the waters of the Pacific Ocean.
We were on board the Leopoldina Train, one of the oldest trains in Brazil with a team of conservationists going to assess the damage caused by human infiltration in the Amazon forest when this question popped up. A man seated next to Jon, and who seemed to be following our conversation, felt he could not hold it any longer. So when that question came up, all of us kept quiet for a while, not really thinking why the man had to ask such a primitive question or probably wondering who was to go first, or even whether to rubbish him off and pretend nothing had happened. But our silence was meant to take composure and avoid laughing uncontrollably which could have been intimidating to the man. Trying to throw my eyes outside the window and pretend to be busy appreciating the approaching settlement as the train hooted to announce its arrival to this small town, my eyes finally caught up with this gentleman’s eyes and I nodded as if to say ‘by the way’.
Our heated debate on the new conservation laws and treaties that should be passed to protect natural habitat had come to an end abruptly, I am sorry to say to this man, because we never got a chance to answer him, or know his name. Soon after, and before we could face our guilt of not responding to his question, the train came to a halt and he stepped off. We didn’t even try to figure out his question, but probably he had a point to make. Or perhaps he was pelting out his frustrations of having lived his whole life working, and had never got a chance to travel and appreciate the many spectacular landmarks, creatures and scenes that Brazil has.
We face such different questions and characters in our daily lives as we travel in the course of our conservation duties, and this generated a desire among us to make sure we highlighted what we saw and every place we stepped into.
We have now come to be known as the conservation tourists but ours is more about the love of championing the need to conserve our heritage and open more areas where families can go to make merry and learn from them.
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