By Mike Chuktu, LUFASI’s Volunteer
To tell you the truth, I was so full of relief as I boarded a commercial bus from the popular CMS area in the heart of Lagos to LUFASI Nature Park. I was happy to get away from the strife, noise, hustle and bustle of the city. It began to fade away gradually as the rubber tyres hit the road along Epe- expressway, headed towards what for the rest of my life, I shall live to remember as “RIPPLES OF TERROR”.
I stuck my head out of the bus window to enjoy the cool air and to look out for the LUFASI sign. An acronym for
Lekki Urban Forest and Animal Sanctuary Initiative, which is the perfect place for a great escape for nature lovers. With everything in life being connected directly and indirectly; Man and his body – Man and his environment –Nature and nurture, my body was not disappointed one bit after alighting the bus. The serenity of the environment being a total contrast to the main city, having a pure sublime scenery with an impressive nostalgic aura of Utopia. I said to myself, “To keep one’s sanity, I will have to come here more often”. As I was relishing on my newfound peace, beneath the trees and in the midst of the Atlantic Ocean breeze, a young woman (which I later got to know as Seye), interrupted and said “Hello, the Chairman will see you now!”
Here I was face to face with a very affable man, the founder of LUFASI, Mr Desmond Majekodunmi, who I consider very altruistic for preserving this place and as I listened to how he passionately planted some of the trees himself 25 years ago, it dawned on me that here was a man who dedicated his life to an alien culture; Environmentalism in Nigeria. As we walked around the green tree canopy protecting us from the tropical sunrays, I was totally unaware of the impact of our conversation on me. By the time he was done talking, I was choked with emotions and had a cross expression between despair and hope written all over me. Most real combat stories are truly never told by the media or by the soldiers themselves, about the noise, the stench and the knee weakening terror, probably because of the hurt. I could tell he had the same state of mind because he spoke as someone who had a premonition of the consequences of our action towards the environment. Mr Desmond spoke from the heart with so much passion about how we are no different from terrorists “Man has being terrorizing the planet”! Various forms of pollution have devastating consequences that show little warnings to anticipate them in advance in order to tackle them. I then understood that we are up against a huge Goliath in the battlefield that we need to win.
It touched me on how he illustrated our callous nature towards the most important responsibility known to man; caring for our planet. There is rule that says “Every big problem was once small that could have been solved easily and inexpensively”. So, when he compared us humans to “terrorists” who gradually stripped away the gifts God provided us, I sensed that this meeting without mincing words, was an opportunity of a life time.
So, none of us asked to be born – we didn’t have a choice to being here. We pretty much take and do anything we want, but how about putting something back? Man’s greatest ignorance is of himself and from Mr Desmond Majekodunmi,s view, man’s actions do create ripples. Like rock pebbles thrown in water, forming turbulence in the midst of stillness, our negligent actions continue this intense turbulence, culminating to an act of terrorism.
In conclusion, I definitely didn’t bargain for this, I was just seeking peace and quiet and now my whole day ended on a thought provoking note. Although that day made me wishing I never came in the first place, I returned less guilt-stricken, feeling a surge in optimism about the future and as a LUFASI volunteer along with a great team here at LUFASI Nature Park.