This trip sure as hell changed my life forever. Before and throughout my first weeks in Madagascar I thought that making a difference is like pouring water on a world on fire with just your hands to cup it. I just kept on going because I felt obliged to at least try, out of that good old eternal inferiority complex of the privileged child.
Glad I have that, now. Glad to be a cliché, glad to have been guilted into coming to Madagascar by the sheer benevolence life has had towards me. Because I overcame my negativity and I’m profoundly hopeful now that things actually can change, and it’s not even that difficult. We say that you can only fall deep, if you went up high. Same goes for the opposite: if a doctor doesn’t have anything to work with, every dollar he gets might spare a life that otherwise might have been lost. If there’s only one tree left, every planted tree means a doubling of the forestation of the area. If there are only a few turtles left, every single one that doesn’t land in someone’s pot is a huge chance for the population to recover. And how much is a dollar to western society? And how much of an effort is it to plant a tree? And how hard is it to just leave that poor turtle alone? Compared to the effect of not doing the right thing? You get my point. The glass is half full, verdammt noch mal, if you’re determined to pour some more water in it and not just drink it.
So what would make the EXPLORE experience perfect for you?
If you want to meet people who are actually making the difference you’re hoping to make for a living, learn from their experience, travel safely, get a thorough picture of the realities of conservational work- apply! The WWF is a great organization and working for it is an honor and a pleasure. If conservation is what you’re aiming for professionally the EXPLORE program is an amazing opportunity to start your career. After accomplishing your journey, you will definitely have the experience and the overview in the field to figure out where exactly you want to go.
But if you just want to get involved, give something back, live what us Germans call “Gutmenschtum” (direct translation: being a good person): let the WWF train its future employees, save some money for equipment you’ll never use again and just buy a ticket to a developing nation and start working on whatever you find there. I assure you- there’s plenty to do.