One day a terrible fire broke out in a forest - a huge woodlands was suddenly engulfed by a raging wildfire.
Frightened, all the animals fled their homes and ran out of the forest. As they came to the
edge of a stream they stopped to watch the fire, and they were feeling very discouraged
and powerless. They were all bemoaning the destruction of their homes. Every one of them
thought there was nothing they could do about the fire, except for one little hummingbird.
This particular hummingbird decided it would do something. It swooped into the stream
and picked up a few drops of water and went into the forest and put them on fire.
Then it went back to stream and did it again, and it kept going back, again and again, and again.
All the other animals watched in disbelief; some tried to discourage the hummingbird with
comments like, "Don't bother, it is too much, you are too little, your wings will burn, your beak
is too tiny, it's only a drop, you can't put out this fire."
And as the animals stood around disparaging the little bird's efforts, the bird noticed how hopeless
and forlorn they looked. Then one of the animals shouted out and challenged the hummingbird in a mocking voice,
"What do you think you are doing?" And the hummingbird, without wasting time or losing a beat, looked back
and said, "I am doing what I can."
This inspirational story is an excerpt as told by Nobel Peace Laureate, Wangari Maathai, in an address to international educators in 2006.