El Hadji Salifou Ouédraogo
2023, Senior, Poetry & Spoken Word
Climate Hero: El Hadji Salifou Ouédraogo
I wanted to write about El Hadji Salifou Ouédraogo because he’s got nothing special, resource or even particularly idea-wise, with his planting of the Baobabs. What’s special is his conviction, and his hilarious wit in the face of people warning him that he’ll be struck down for his work. In one documentary, Ouédraogo is even conversational with his Baobabs, asking one of them heartedly, “What misfortune struck you down?” as he pulled handfuls of rotting mulch from the trunk. He was just as unique as the Baobabs he plants, which struck me when I saw their branches floundering in the air, colossal, untouchable, yet also vulnerable. Ouédraogo is a reminder to me that it doesn’t take a whole lot to be great, to be an advocate, if only a barren patch of land, some seeds, and a watering can. He is also a reminder to find genuine joy in everything you do. Life is always fighting against everything thrown against it, so it can only take a few concentrated efforts from everyone to turn the tide.