I have been following Jane Goodall for years and had to be there when I learned that she was coming to Montreal for a lecture.
When I was young, I dreamt of Africa…
As a kid, I had the chance to have a mother who wanted to see the world and we move to Africa when I was only 6 years old and stayed there for a few years. this was before the wars and the political games and I still remember these moments like it was yesterday.
I came back from Africa with memories I will never forget. Then, my parents made me watch “Gorilla In the Mist” and I just felt in love with primates. To this day, this love has only been replaced by the love for my wife and my two little girls who I love dearly.
I was not prepared for what I was about to hear…
But I have to be honest, I was unprepared for it. When you first see that little women appear on stage, you see courage, determination and so much love. She loves her chimps, Jane Goodall loves humanity unconditionally. But she also talks about poachers, health issues, her journey and what chimps really are.
Can we find peace?
Then she speaks about their behaviour, and it hits you like a brick. They are territorial, they can be mean and go to war with other tribes where they can inflict terrible loss. You spend your whole life thinking they are caring and loving and have nothing in common with us and she tells you the complete opposite. I came out with more questions then answers. Are we like chimps. Are they still evolving and will they become something more. But the biggest one to this date is still can we change or is it in our DNA.
But then, you think about what she said and where she came from. Nobody asked her to build sanctuaries, to change the world and yet, she still does it. She talks about the fact that it is in all of us. That we can change the world and I believe her. Maybe it’s because of her warm voice, of her stature despite her small size. At the end of her lecture, you could see people shed a tear. Not because they feel ashamed, not because she tells you those stories, but because she brings you peace and hope.
What I believe…
I’ve been in the pet industry for many years now. I’ve seen good and bad. I’ve seen shelters packed with surrounded dogs and cats, I’ve seen tortured animals on Facebook like many of us. But I’ve seen such act of compassion, love and dedication from people all around the world that I now believe that change is coming and that it is in all of us. I called it evolution for many years and I now know that it’s not about evolution as she proved me wrong.
It’s about changing the way we act. It’s about caring about each other. Taking a few minutes to ask our neighbour if he needs help, lending a hand when someone is in need. It’s about being ourselves, what we really are, a loving species. Sure, news will tell you otherwise. they will tell you to defend yourselves, to be scared. But be more than that, be human.
The journey of a thousand miles begin with one step – Lao Tzu
I am a husband and a father. I am someone who would like the world to change but most of all, I think I can make a difference. When we started Aïkiou “IQ” almost ten years ago, we knew it would be hard. Today, at Aïkiou (IQ), we produce behavioural enrichment products for dog and cats. But I also now see them in Zoos, shelters and other places and I know I will make it a better place.