The first African woman to receive the Nobel peace prize, Nobel laureate Wangari Maathai, is an international leader who draws her strength from the grass root level. I have previously posted an article encouraging women to read her autobiography, but when I recently saw watched a documentary on her life as a laureate, I felt I should again tell my new found community about her.

“I travel around the world, I sit in meetings with great men, but I have to go back to the grassroots because that is where the work is done. That is where change is being implemented one day at a time.” This is what she said in the documentary.

Environment is a matter of life and death and Wangari Maathai has been able to empower the woman at the grass root level, the rural woman, to protect the environment one tree at a time. She has taught the rural woman about the importance of protecting the environment, making it inhabitable for the next and the next generation by simply planting trees. She has not stopped there; she has also been able to provide a source of income for these women. It was remarkable to see her mingling with the women, and you could feel the joy and enthusiasm of the rural women who were part of the documentary.

Hers is a grand mission implemented in the simplest way and receiving remarkable results. The rural women are a group in the African society that is in most cases ignored, their role in development has always been ignored: she is always assumed to be too domestic. But what they are doing by simply planting the trees has an impact that affects even the future.

This reminded me of the importance of simplicity. There has been the tendency of sophisticating issues in order to emphasize its importance, yet simplicity makes sure that a wider audience receives the message.

I thought Wangari Maathai style of handling the issue of environment could be a lesson, to the world at large. Those perceived to be elite, or rich, form a small part of the worldwide community. The masses are those who walk on the land and work for the land, and that is where the action is.

Comment on this Post



Yes it should be your next book, i can assure you, you will not regret it. I could not put it down when I started it, it is a page turner. I have written a summary of the book in my journals, the entry is called UNBOWED, you can check it out in the books group as well, maybe that will get you charged up. I just love that book.

Warm Regards,

I read Unbowed well over a year ago, and was very inspired by Ms Maathai's courage from so deep within, to see that her commitment to the causes that she addressed were so deep that even when she faced so much adversity, there was no question in whether or not she would continue. I was so touched by the strength of her as a woman, a mother, a leader and role model in just as you said, simplicity. What are some of your other favourite books- I love to read, especially books such as this, any suggestions as welcome!! Darcey

"A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality." — John Lennon

Hi Darcey,

I guess we do have something in common, I love books as well. Have you read Benazir Bhuttos autobiography, Daughter of the east? It is also a splendid book, it had me crying in some pages. The same with with that of Winnie Mandela. Though there are various books on the two written by different people, their story is worth reading. They are among my favorite.

What about you, what are your favorite? what are your suggestions.?

Warm Regards.

thank you so much for the recommendations! I have just ordered Bitter Roots, Tender Shoots by Sally Armstrong; Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and An imperfect Offering by James Orbinski from the library. I will be sure to check out your ideas right after.

Saying a favourite book for me is so hard. I have no idea. Autobiographies usually are way up there, and any books that are non-fiction and I can enjoy while I am able to learn a lot more about issues I am very interested in. Some I have enjoyed, besides Unbowed, which I loved, are:

The race against time by Stephen Lewis 28 stories of AIDS in Africa by Stephanie Nolen Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi A Long way Gone by Ishmael Beah- which I found really hard to get through at times.... Womankind the title is escaping me but Zainab Salbi, founder of Women for Women wrote her story.....

I just finished reading Miriam's Song by Mark Methabune ?spelling? about his sister Miriam's life during apartheid in Alexandra township just outside of Johannesburg. unbelievable. As a Canadian woman, we have nothing to complain about, besides the injustices done to others in the world. every day life during that time, I just can't even imagine. I am also reading Free the Children by Craig Kielburger, a Canadian man in his 20's that started the organization by the same name when he was 12 with some of his friends. It is amazing what dedicated, informed and passionate children can accomplish for others.

I could go on....thanks for sharing your love of books, any other recommendations are always welcome!!!!


"A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality." — John Lennon

Darcey, what wonderful recommendations. You both might be interested in joining our book groups. "Books" is for anyone with a book to recommend and can be found at:

"Books, Music and Film" offers a broader set of recommendations and can be found at:

Both would welcome your list of selections above. Enjoy.... Janice PulseWire Community Director

Thanks Janice for the recommendation, I will check out the groups for sure. Looking forward to more good finds ;)

"A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality." — John Lennon