Today, March 8th, the world celebrates International Women’s Day. To all the courageous, powerful, smart, resilient, proud and compassionate women, you deserve the world and more.
Last year, International Women’s Day was celebrated at Virunga National Park. Among those present were the widows of Virunga’s fallen rangers and I will never forget these women’s vigour and enthusiasm. They all wore the same dresses, made especially for the occasion. This was their day and they came together to celebrate.
In eastern Congo, a place were rape is rampant and rebels continue to plunder, it is not easy being a woman. They often have children and family members to take care of, they walk long distances every day and work long hours in the field only to return to their homes and start all over again. In a life full of hardships, these women do not have much to celebrate and, yet, they always carry around a smile. I have never met women so strong and brave yet so kind and soft as I did in Congo. These women’s ability to be nurturing, warm, empathic and to comfort even in the most trying times, is very powerful. They are the hope of the country.