Yesterday was an exciting morning for us: Dr.Jane Goodall came for a short visit to the Gallery at the Masai Cafe in Arusha to meet Seppo and get introduced to the work of the Rock Art project. It’s all connected through her Roots and Shoots organization with which the Rock Art Project collaborates in village schools in the Kondoa region.
She is a living legend and for many of us a hero: her name brings up images of a young woman connecting with chimpanzees out in the wild of the Tanzanian forest, and that of a powerful advocate for the protection of wildlife habitat.

Elke Cole meets Jane Goodall
What I heard strongly from her was a deep commitment to the fostering of education and personal action of the next generations.
In her speech at St.Constantine’s International School she spoke of hope: that through small individual daily action we can bring about change, to follow your dream and stick with it and to watch for opportunities to propel that dream forward.
It is often through fortunate encounters in combination with reaching for high goals that the next door will open.
My favourite tidbit was a memory she shared of being four years old and hiding under straw in a nesting box in order to watch a chicken lay an egg: finding the answer to her question “how does the egg come out of the chicken?” It illustrates even at that early age her determined character and a curiosity and love for animals.

She changed how people see animals, she inspires women to step out of typical roles, and she now has access to influential circles where she continues the work that began by taking a ship to Africa. Someone in the audience asked about her retirement and who might replace her, and she responded that there are many individual jobs that people are continuing in her place but that no-one would be the next “Jane Goodall” .
I am grateful to have met her and feel inspired to listen for my passion and keep on going with my work. Lets all do our daily piece and see where it will take us.

Jane Goodall is coming to Arusha.
That’s a good reason to make a trip from our village camp and get on the bus. For 12000 Tsh (approx. 6 Euros) we ride along with people from the villages and their things , namely large baskets containing chickens,  to Arusha. 6 hours of rough ride and we’re glad to walk the few blocks to the Masai cafe where we will stay.
Lots going on here: Gary Wornell from Finland is wrapping up a printmaking workshop in the gallery. Gary is a renowned photographer and printmaker with a stunning portfolio of images and ceramics (his first artistic focus). He is working with Seppo Hallavainio to develop printing techniques on handmade paper. The result are images from the RockArt sites transported onto beautifully textured paper. Examples are now hanging on the walls that I plastered with the clay from Kondoa before we moved to the village.

Yesterday I helped host a fun “Face to Face with Gary Wornell” event that drew in many people for a free portrait session. I was not just impressed by the quality of the images but also by the individual attention Gary paid to each person that he photographed. Even a short five minute session became a personal session where he had the ability to engage with the people and bring out relaxed and beautiful pictures. See Gary’s blog for some samples.
It is a true professional who can keep the attention and stay focused for hours. And after all the photos are shot there’s editing and choosing and printing.  Our small team was able to support the work but the product was all his and required his personal touch.
Now the focus is switching and preparations are underway for Jane Goodalls arrival in town. The local “Roots and shoots initiative” ‘s office is fully engaged in the scheduling and setting up for her brief visit. Thanks to the connection between the Rock Art Conservation Centre and the Roots and Shoots team we will meet “Dr. Jane” here at the exhibition space at the Masai Cafe. Truly a rare opportunity to meet someone with such experience.