A tribute to all the wonderful people I’ve met over the last 10 years who are working on water to change the world.
they have changed us.
We’ve shared some triumphs.
Then again, a good amount of frustrations.
Heck, many have called us crazy!
Yet, we’ve made it here.
Together, and you know who you are,
we have come so far,
emerging from the shadows
exultant. Older now…
more mature, if just for the better part of a day;
perhaps more forgiving, in peace.
forged out of a shared dream,
have turned into a decade long
We’ve seen each other, time and again,
come and go,
onwards and upwards in our gipsy paths.
Goodbyes never become any easier;
helloes grow ever sweeter.
I’ve witnessed in awe as you’ve blossomed.
I miss those who’ve moved on to new adventures.
Year after year, we’ve laughed
at our white hair and wrinkles taking over;
and shared pictures of babies
who are now young ladies and gentlemen.
Since we’ve met,
some have brought new lives into this blue planet
we’ve fought so hard to protect.
Within or beyond our water world,
some have found true love,
or deep, uplifting kinship.
Others have found themselves caught up
in a dark web of surprises…
lives broken, cut short or forever changed
at too young an age.
I smile at the thought of seeing you again.
I feel the weight of knowing that,
in some cases, this may not happen…
But on this day, so many of us are here,
celebrating at last
hard-won milestones in our fluid journeys.
I’d like to think that the stir we’ve caused
the trouble we’ve made
all that clamor
have played, even if a mini part,
in boosting blue hope for better days to come.
South Korea, April 2015, receiving a WWF award with my fellow fighters
So I thank you,
with the light of one thousand stars,
for stepping into my life…
for carving, ever so subtly,
a VIP spot for you there;
for confiding in me stories and worries,
along with knowledge and wisdom
from your huge, enlightened brains;
such kind, heroic hearts.
Your presence here honors and delights me.
Please stay a tad while longer, at least for a ‘saídeira’*.
Then let’s go for a walk, let’s climb a mountain and
take a pick at what the next ten years
may have in store for us.
May the world’s freshwaters,
and the wealth of life they sustain,
show us the way,
as we go on building the world we want:
ever wet, whole, refreshing and free-flowing,
from the mountains to the sea.
*Brazilian expression for the last toast and drink of the evening, and with which my freshwater friends from all corners of the world are now familiar.