Day 20! The last day of the 450km walk for Fair Trade and Climate Justice. It had finally dawned on us. The climax of a journey that had resulted in so many inspirational meetings with people who have left me with not only memories, but a renewal of my own resolve in the cause.
As the clocks ticked on the decision day at COP21, Natesa Iyer and I looked out of our windows at the hills that led to our summit, Ooty. The previous night, it had drizzled, ever-increasingly, through to dawn, by which time, the hills themselves appeared drenched. There was a touch of fog in the air, and the wind was howling, but we were ready to face it.
With our heads held high, in a defiance to finish the final stretch, we gathered our mental momentum by recalling tales of our journey so far, and discussing with a range of people who had joined us in the morning, about fair trade and the need for a decision at COP21.
A quick bite to eat, and the walk commenced and finished as quickly as it started. A sense of relief was expected, but rather surprisingly, a sense of incompleteness was felt. It will continue to feel like that until our goal is complete, to educate everyone about the concept of fair trade and why the need for it, especially for this country is of paramount importance. We all, as consumers must make a conscientious decision and start actively thinking of issues that should not be ignored. Every mug of coffee you buy, every neat cotton print shirt you buy, every chocolate, every banana we eat and enjoy needs to be verified to be fair trade. The farmers and workers do not need to suffer because of our ignorance or laziness, when it comes to doing the right thing.
Thank you my dearest friends, for supporting our walk. Thank you to everyone who sent pictures and videos of support in, to those that donated their hard-earned money for a just and fair cause and most importantly, thank you to all the people who dealt with the logistics and organisation behind making this walk a reality.
If you would all join me, wherever you are today, in believing that we can all better ourselves, by doing something as simple as buying fair trade and reducing our carbon footprint. To paraphrase, Gandhi, the inspiration for my walk, the change starts with all of us my friends.
Join us for the remaining two days in Ooty where I will spend time at a fair trade tea estate, meet children of the estate school and meet my full support family, Anjali Schiavina, Devina Singh, Filio, Divji and Ramya Rajanna.
If you are reading this today (10th December), make the biggest noise as the conference closes in Paris COP21. News reports of an ambitious deal in the work is an encouraging first sign of progress, but the power for countries to uphold the deal is the real challenge.