Confessions of a sometimes worn out interpreter (and how to keep that taboo feeling in check)

Let’s face it. Sometimes, we interpreters feel so physically and intellectually tired, that we wish to stay at home; quiet all day. Those days, you think there is no possible way to wake up, to yet another interpretive hike. Please, do not get me wrong; those days are when passion really kicks in.

In my five years as an environmental interpreter in a national park visited by urban schoolchildren, I always find a renewed strength, inspiration and passion when I see their smiling faces walking down the bus. Often, teachers explain to me how thrilled kids have been with the hike for weeks. I think about their excitement, how they joyfully greet me as “the Guide that will take us to the forest” and their natural sense of wonder.  And I think: Who am I to label my immediate needs more urgent than the great experience they are about to have? I realize happily, that I will not allow my visceral feelings get in the way of them having the greatest hike in the woods. Possibly, for many of these kids this will be the only contact with local nature that they will experience. In a world filled with busy agendas, a senseless fear of nature, and apathy to be physically active; I am convinced I have a responsibility larger than myself.

In an island in which Caribbean nature compete with rhinos, elephants and penguins for children’s attention, I interpret local nature so at the end of every hike they love the endemic birds that we heard, the small butterflies that fluttered around us and the tropical breeze we felt at the top of the forest. Before leaving, I always ask them: What was the best part of the hike? A girl would say, “listening at the different birds singing”, a boy says “hiking through the big hill” another would add “seeing the forest from the observation tower”. If you ask me, I would say: sharing this beautiful peace of nature with the best audience: children…this thought always wipes out my worries, my sweat, and my tiredness.

Deyamaris Candelario

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One thought on “Confessions of a sometimes worn out interpreter (and how to keep that taboo feeling in check)

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