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Tarzan ended up with the wrong Jane

She walks like an angel.  She is the kind of woman who walks in and quietly commands the room, not because she is famous but simply because she carries an otherworldly, ethereal quality, that I will not try to explain with words, as words will never be enough to describe her.

I will let Wikipedia do the introductions:

 Dr Jane Goodall is an English primatologist and anthropologist. Considered to be the world’s foremost expert on chimpanzees, Goodall is best known for her over 55-year study of social and family interactions of wild chimpanzees since she first went to Gombe Stream National ParkTanzania in 1960. She is the founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and the Roots & Shoots programme, and she has worked extensively on conservation and animal welfare issues. She has served on the board of the Nonhuman Rights Project since its founding in 1996. In April 2002, she was named a UN Messenger of Peace.

Thessaloniki, 9th of December 2018:

Dr Goodall payed us a visit. She travels 300 days a year to raise awareness and talk about her research and her programme Roots and Shoots giving new essence to the word commitment.

“I’m 84” she said. “Closer to the end of my life than ever before. This is not the time to slow down, this is the time to do as much as possible because we don’t have the luxury of time.”

She waited patiently for us (the press) to ask one question each. I had to choose wisely and I had been studying for this conference for weeks, jumping from biology to ethology and all the “–ologies” that found me sleepless on my desk at 5am on a weeknight.

I thought to myself: Let’s be rather selfish and forget that it’s a press conference.

What would I ask her if she was my friend or mentor?

“Dr Goodall” I said, “I believe you are a vegetarian. Which is fantastic, but as a vegan myself, I know first-hand that such a choice comes with a side of harsh criticism. People will always find that we are either not doing enough, doing too much, or somehow doing it wrong. What would you advise someone who struggles with that?” (me)

“Listen to criticism” she said, proving that she is probably the noblest person I have ever met.

“Listen to what they have to say. And then everything comes down to telling stories. Intensive animal farming, the impact on the environment, what it actually takes to convert vegetable protein to animal protein, the amount of resources we have to waste on that, what it takes to bring that product to our table and how all these affect the climate change. And if they do not care about any of these, there’s also the health issues. All the antibiotics that get in our food chain from the meat we eat, bacteria building up resistance… People are now getting the picture. More and more people are thinking about veganism, including myself, it’s the fastest growing movement today. And remember that becoming aggressive is not going to work. These people who are aggressively trying to enforce their beliefs are not going to do it. Just raise awareness”

She moved on to answer other people’s questions and unfortunately I had to share her with the rest. Someone asked a really interesting question. -If you are reading this please contact me so that you can get proper credit-.

She asked: “Do you still think that we can change the world?”

“I still believe that we have a window” Dr Goodall exclaimed.

“It’s getting smaller and smaller but we do still have the opportunity to make a difference. If we all come together and start taking responsibility there is hope. Buy ethically. Ethical choices every day. Where do our clothes come from, what do we eat. Everything matters.”

Christopher Makos of the Hilton Brothers was there and also asked a question. Last time I saw him he sang a song but this time he did not.

I wonder what kind of music Dr Goodall likes.

I know she said she genuinely missed good music when she was living in the forest but I don’t know what good music means to her.

Christopher asked if she noticed the chimps having a similar concept to having pets.

“There’s a lot of play” she replied. “They create special bonds with other animals and form relationships but not really as we perceive pets”

After a few more Q&A that I will save for future random posts, we reunited again at her speech at Olympion Theatre.

Devoted and untiring as always she greeted the enormous amount of people who came to see her. I preferred the conference room where we had her all to ourselves but I said nothing. She told the story of how she begun, a little girl, no money, high hopes, loads of love for the animals. A tale of a girl who spend a whole day in a coop trying to figure out how hens lay eggs to the point where her mother had to call the police as she could not find her daughter. A very supportive mother who instead of getting upset she sat and listened the whole magical story of how an egg is being laid and later on travelled to Africa to support that little girl who went on to become the woman who redefined hope.

Until the next one,


  • Wendy Lemeric
    Posted at 22:08h, 10 December Reply

    Oh man! she is old but still very enthusiastic about her goals. It’s so wonderful you got to interview and meet her. you are so lucky. This has been a very enjoyable read.

    • the_chelf@yahoo.gr
      Posted at 19:14h, 11 December Reply

      I’m very glad you enjoyed it Wendy!

  • Nicole GIlbert
    Posted at 00:36h, 11 December Reply

    How lucky are you that you were able to sit in on a symposium with her! I went through a phase when I was younger when I was obsessed with her! While my intrigue is tempered by other interests, I still hold her theories, research and ideas in high regard.

    • the_chelf@yahoo.gr
      Posted at 19:14h, 11 December Reply

      Same here. I understand the controversy and the debate but no wo-man ever got anywhere special by following the rules set by others!

  • Lois Alter Mark
    Posted at 00:52h, 11 December Reply

    Jane Goodall will forever be one of my heroes. What an exceptional human who has worked tirelessly for a species and earth that we so often forget to care for. I can only imagine what it was like to share that space with her. Amazing!

    • the_chelf@yahoo.gr
      Posted at 19:13h, 11 December Reply

      She is a hero indeed! She dedicated her whole life to research and raising awareness!

  • Nikki Hall
    Posted at 01:27h, 11 December Reply

    I have heard of her!!! She is one amazing woman and has done some really great things in her time.

    • the_chelf@yahoo.gr
      Posted at 19:11h, 11 December Reply

      Very true Nikki

      • the_chelf@yahoo.gr
        Posted at 19:12h, 11 December Reply

        and she still does. Now more that ever!

  • Neely Moldovan
    Posted at 01:51h, 11 December Reply

    What an amazing person! Its so interesting to read this because I did a huge project on her in college

    • the_chelf@yahoo.gr
      Posted at 19:11h, 11 December Reply

      Omg you guys! So many people commented to say they have done a project on her in school! I apparently went to the wrong school.

  • Angela Tolsma
    Posted at 01:56h, 11 December Reply

    WOW I had no idea Jane was a real woman and such an amazing one at that. So awesome that she travels 300 days in the year!

    • the_chelf@yahoo.gr
      Posted at 19:10h, 11 December Reply

      She is very very real 🙂

  • Stephanie
    Posted at 02:03h, 11 December Reply

    How amazing that you got to meet Jane Goodall! When I was in elementary school, we did a program called Night of the Notables. My best friend researched and dressed up as Jane Goodall. I learned so much from her at that time.

    • the_chelf@yahoo.gr
      Posted at 19:10h, 11 December Reply

      Oh wow, that sounds so exciting! And since you mentioned it, I have to say, her style is so elegant and simple, just look at her go, I mean, ok, I have no words!

  • Rachael
    Posted at 02:15h, 11 December Reply

    So wonderful that you were able to meet Jane Goodall! And what wisdom you were able to glean from her! Thank you for sharing it with all of us.

    • the_chelf@yahoo.gr
      Posted at 19:07h, 11 December Reply

      Thank you for stopping by Rachel, I’m so happy you found the post inspiring!

  • April Marquardt
    Posted at 02:54h, 11 December Reply

    My friend just did a report on her and she is so incredible. You are so lucky you got to meet her.

    • the_chelf@yahoo.gr
      Posted at 19:06h, 11 December Reply

      How exciting! She is so interesting, I read so much about her life and work, I gave up sleep and no regrets!

  • Flossie McCowald
    Posted at 04:13h, 11 December Reply

    *Wow*. What an amazing opportunity, not only to be up close and personal with such a living legend, but to get to interview her collectively with the others present!

    • the_chelf@yahoo.gr
      Posted at 19:05h, 11 December Reply

      wow is correct Flossie, dearest 🙂

  • Jennifer
    Posted at 05:42h, 11 December Reply

    Jane is such an inspirational woman! I love her advice “Listen to criticism” Really made me think. we so often brush it off and try to ignore but there is honestly so much growth that can come from that. So jealous you got to discuss all this with her!

    • the_chelf@yahoo.gr
      Posted at 19:05h, 11 December Reply

      Jennifer, she also made me think, that response was so unexpected and noble. She is a true queen.

  • Christa
    Posted at 15:52h, 11 December Reply

    What an incredible experience! I have long admired Dr. Goodall. I’ve seen her speak several times but have never had the opportunity to ask her questions. She is so thoughtful and kind and knowledgeable and inspiring.

    • the_chelf@yahoo.gr
      Posted at 19:03h, 11 December Reply

      Hey Christa! It was such an amazing experience, I was so nervous you could actually hear my heart beating..

  • Joshua
    Posted at 16:30h, 11 December Reply

    What a privilege to meet such an amazing hero. She has devoted so much of her life to awareness for causes that it is extremely admirable!

    • the_chelf@yahoo.gr
      Posted at 19:02h, 11 December Reply

      She is indeed truly committed to her work and that shows!

  • Susan Clark
    Posted at 22:00h, 11 December Reply

    It must have been so interesting to meet her. I just finished reading a book about Gerald Durrell, a British naturalist. I’ve known about Jane Goodall and her work for much longer. Yes, it would be a little interesting to know what she considers to be “good music,” and I imagine you would miss it in the situations where she was.

  • Jazz
    Posted at 14:08h, 13 December Reply

    What a wonderful opportunity! This was so interesting to read and to learn about Jane!

  • David Elliott
    Posted at 16:02h, 13 December Reply

    My daughter really loves Jane Goodall. I will have to show this to her. She would love the read.

    • chelf
      Posted at 08:26h, 17 December Reply

      That’s awesome David!

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