Saturday, November 19, 2011

A look at the bigger picture of what my wife Jess is doing in Africa.

This is really worth 20 minutes of your life.

I knew that Jess was an adventurer and that she follows her heart. Well her heart and courage landed her in what I consider to be an epic spot. The story told in this video I have a feeling will be made into a movie. The story of the man who is telling this story, Emmanuel De Merode is also amazing. I'm quite sure you will want to learn more about him too after you see this.

The point is that I knew Jess had an amazing opportunity to work with her biggest heroes on this planet, that she was extremely passionate about apes, (she reads those books like I read theology), and that she was going to get HER FILL of adventure in Africa. As much as she tried to explain it to me, what I didn't really get was this bigger picture. What she and all these people are doing over there is not nearly just about the gorillas. Its about the people, the land itself, the politics, war...... They cannot be separated and when you see this video you will understand just how interconnected they are.

Emmanuel is such a gentle human. But his bravery and the bravery of the African men who gave him the courage and inspiration to do what he did brought me to tears. These people are as heroic as they come. And so is my wife! One of the trackers in the Congo was worried that Jess (being a mzungu or 'white person') couldn't handle this particular route they had to take. They asked Urbain (the Congolese man Jess was traveling with) if she could take it. He told them, "“Ah oui, Elle est tres forte. Elle est une femme bush vraiment.” It means Yes, she's very strong. She is a true bush woman. It is a severe understatement to say that it made Jess' day when he said that.

If you watch this video two things are gonna happen. 1. Your day/life is gonna be changed for the better. And 2. You're gonna understand what an extremely high compliment was paid to my wife by some of the most courageous, tenacious, and transformational people on the planet.

As tempted as I am to divulge snippets of information that I know would suck you in, I will refrain because these things can't be comprehended in sound bytes. That was the scope of my understanding before I saw this so I don't want to rob you of the impact of the "whole movie" with exciting "trailers".

But boy could I.

This is my wife flying over the Congo with Emmanuel. She doesn't look happy and fulfilled at all does she? If only you knew what she knows.........

This is really worth 20 minutes of your life folks.

PS. Seconds before I was about to post this, Jess called from Rwanda and I told her I watched De Merode's TED talk... she said that Shamavu, the baby gorilla pictured at the end of his talk, is sitting right behind her in that plane!!!

You might wanna check out HER blog........


  1. Wow! This is amazing and your pretty little wife is quite the courageous one!
    Amir and I would love to see you guys and meet her! My little boy has grown into a fine young man. You'd be as proud and I am!
    Love you,

  2. " ...a true bush woman"...that is a tremendous compliment! the level of commitment and conviction it takes to earn such a compliment is truly amazing. That is very high praise. WAY TO GO JESS!!

    You deserve the same compliment Oteil. She couldn't do it without your colossal support. You are a great cheerleader for Jess. You two are a great draw strength and encouragement from one another.

    It's beautiful to watch you both in action.