What would you pay for a poop? Valuing Nature

Mara River as in enters Lake Victoria in Musoma Tanzania

I recently visited Musoma in Tanzania. The road trip there was great and I kept marveling at the people, nature, mara river – Oh my! and Lake Victoria. Being only the fifth time to Tanzania, I was feeling much more confident of handling the new grounds with regards to border politics as well as any other issues that may arise from this trip.

Despite all this preparation, there’s one thing I must confess I still haven’t got a grasp of. The money!! Once I changed dollars into Tanzanian Shillings, I really had to develop a syntax of reversing the money back to Kenya Shillings and then comparing the value of that to what I know in Kenya. If you know a thing about our world system, you will know that this really doesn’t work. VALUE in essence is the physical, spiritual or otherwise, importance, one attaches to something.

Now, follow with me, at one point, I needed to use the bathroom for a “short-call” and there I was dashing toward the sign that showed male-female. Well, as I approached the throne, I heard a “bird call” and turned around to meet eye to eye with the custodian of the male-female throne-room. “It will be two thousand shillings”, he said. And for a moment, I stopped to apply the automated syntax in my head, not withstanding the constant distraction from my bladder, owing to its desire to be free. Amidst the distraction, I managed to make the math and God, wasn’t that an expensive leak! The next fraction of seconds was to decide whether I pay for the privacy or face the bush next to the toilet, in which case I would achieve the same result, at least from my point of view. My willingness-to-pay was obviously overtaken by the consequences that would possibly result from my misdemeanor.

A simple sense of life is that we all place a value on our surrounding whether it is the street folk, the food we eat, the housemaid, electricity, work, our family, you name it! However, value and knowledge work hand in hand. The more you know about something, the more you want to know it and the more you know it, the more you value it.

Our world, the earth is moving into an unprecedented era of destruction, pain, distress and dilapidation. The cause? You and Me. Like many of our earthling friends, we are still unable to make choices that show we value nature. We still love ourselves too much, think about others less often, place little value on the grass that prevent the soil from fragmenting and being washed off our backyards, trees that keep our compound and workplaces “cucumber cool”(or not), birds that provide a fête for our beings and that secretly ensure the maize and fruits ripen in the farms and bees that provide honey relentlessly over each year. We are unable to relate to life as we know it and we are rather stuck up at the malls, surrounded by the safety of the walls, experiencing “paid-up-for” pleasures, totally ignorant of the systems our very life depends on, save for the economic system that has so entrapped us. Don’t get me wrong “sio hatia (it is not a crime) to spend your money” in Yemi Alade’s words, but even in so doing, you should make the choices that will continually reflect your love for your neighbor (first) and then yourself.

You Can Only Value What you Know, And you Can Only Know What you Value!

Enough said!


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