“And the real name of our connection to this everywhere different and differently named earth is “work.” We are connected by work even to the places where we don’t work, for all places are connected…” – Wendell Berry
If you happen to have read two or three of my blog posts and newsletters, you may have picked up on my frequent Wendell Berry name-drops. Basically, I think he’s the bee’s knees. [While writing this post, I discovered that he and I share a birthday…all the more reason to like the man.]
An outspoken poet, author, and activist, Berry inspires and challenges humanity’s response to environmental and social justice issues. He is most infamous for his stances on environmental degradation and the importance of community.
In the polluted, expansive, and bustling city that is Nairobi, it is more often than not that I feel disconnected from nature and the land. Yet, removed from side-walks, exhaust fumes, and sky-scrapers, it is obvious that every surrounding detail is intertwined: Cows graze on freshly sprouted grass from recent rains; people collect water from deep wells and water-pans filled by these same rains, using it to hydrate themselves and boil their tea; trees are cut down in copious quantities and made into balls of charcoal, later used to boil the collected water for that same tea.
Navigating my way through Nairobi, I often wonder, “There must be a balance, some way for us to feel connected to the earth, no matter our surroundings.”
If, as stated by Berry, “all places are connected,” shouldn’t humanity be compelled to be good stewards of every inhabited place?
The following photo essay tells the story of land – it’s integral role and unmistakable connection to the people and places in which World Concern works.
The pictures and quotes serve as reminders that stewardship and care of land is not optional, for in giving to the land we humble ourselves to the one who created it all.
“Good work is always modestly scaled, for it cannot ignore either the nature of individual places or the differences between places, and it always involves a sort of religious humility, for not everything is known.” “…the care of the earth is our most ancient and most worthy and, after all, our most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it, and to foster its renewal, is our only legitimate hope.” “Good work can be defined only in particularity, for it must be defined a little differently for every one of the places and every one of the workers on the earth.”
“…it is clear by now that we cannot exempt one place from our ruin of another. The name of our proper connection to the earth is “good work,” for good work involves much giving of honor. It honors the source of its materials; it honors the place where it is done; it honors the art by which it is done; it honors the thing that it makes and the user of the made thing.”