Unbowed: A Memoir

Book by Wangari Maathai

Who was Wangari Maathai?

Good question and you better remember the answer for the rest of your life…

Maathai was the first woman in central or eastern Africa to hold a Ph.D., first woman head of a university department in Kenya, first African woman to win the Nobel Prize in Peace.

Also… Wangari Maathai founded the Green Belt movement in Kenya in 1977, through which she has basically planted more than 10 million trees to prevent soil erosion and provide firewood for cooking fires.

Having started with her admirable achievements, it`s hard to mention all the other little things about her. For me, though, those are the most important and that`s why I absolutely loved reading her memoir. It takes you through her experiences since she was born and you can just see how strong and ambitious she was even so young. It is true, there was a bit of luck involved too. She seemed to be in the right place at the right time and more importantly, she was always up for the challenge!

You absolutely have to read this book to get the feel!

I will leave you with some of my favourites quotes from her book:

“As I swept the last bit of dust, I made a covenant with myself: I will accept. Whatever will be, will be. I have a life to lead. I recalled words a friend had told me, the philosophy of her faith. “Life is a journey and a struggle,” she had said. “We cannot control it, but we can make the best of any situation.” I was indeed in quite a situation. It was up to me to make the best of it.”

“Finally I was able to see that if I had a contribution I wanted to make, I must do it, despite what others said. That I was OK the way I was. That it was all right to be strong.”

“Throughout my life, I have never stopped to strategize about my next steps. I often just keep walking along, through whichever door opens. I have been on a journey and this journey has never stopped. When the journey is acknowledged and sustained by those I work with, they are a source of inspiration, energy and encouragement. They are the reasons I kept walking, and will keep walking, as long as my knees hold out.”

“The generation that destroys the environment is not the generation that pays the price. That is the problem.”

“You cannot protect the environment unless you empower people, you inform them, and you help them understand that these resources are their own, that they must protect them.”

“The generation that destroys the environment is not the generation that pays the price. That is the problem.”