Act like a bee, think like a human
People often tell me ‘You can’t save the world. Just save yourself’. I am fully aware that occasionally I may be a little bit of idealist or as they like to call me a “dreamer”. I also am aware that they mean for my own good, but seriously I have never been able to understand the logic behind this phrase. How can we save ourselves if we do not care about our world? Maybe it is my persistence, maybe my love for the planet and everything in it, or life itself makes my dyslexic brain refuse to understand and agree with them. If you wonder who I am, let me tell you my story from the beginning.
I am Hana Voca from Kosovo, as one of my friends once properly described my country, the unwanted child of the Balkans. It was a typical summer day, on the July 12th of ‘91, the day that for the first time I filled up my lungs with oxygen. You know, one of those blue skied summer days, when the sun gives you the impression that it follows you wherever you walk. Despite being such a day that dazzles one’s eyes from the bright light, early 90s were one of the darkest times for Albanians in Kosovo. Thus, my parents named me Hana, which in English means “moon”, hoping that this summer child will be the light in darkness. I do not want to take any credit, however for centuries Albanians in Kosovo were fighting for freedom, and within a decade after I was born, we became free. I can’t help but think what are the odds?
Jokes aside, I am the first generation of children in my family that are free to do whatever they want. Eventually, also for us the line ‘the only limit is your imagination’ is valid. With the hope in our hearts and the willing in our spirits we are working towards making life worth living. To me, choosing my profession was the way to celebrate the freedom. Since, I believed that the profession is part of identity; I wanted to choose something that I would love and enjoy doing, but also something that would help me become beneficial. In the end, I made the right decision.
All of my paths go to agriculture
If you ask me why I chose to be involved in agriculture, first, I will give you a glimpse of smile with a dimple in my left cheek and then I will answer that agriculture is my fate. Going back in time, I cannot recall what made me to be an agronomist. During my childhood, I neither dreamt of becoming an agronomist nor had I visited a farm before. I remember of having two days to submit my application for the university and in the last moment I decided that I wanted to become an agronomist. It was like someone hypnotised me, or I was imprinted to a profession that I did not have any idea of what it is about. I started my adventure in the department of horticulture, which was later followed with a master degree in organic agriculture. Currently, I am a PhD candidate in the agricultural chemistry department researching the pollution of agricultural lands. In 2014, I joined the Young Professionals for Agricultural Development (YPARD), where I took the responsibility to represent my country and to create a national network. Through which I had the chance to meet people from all continents (well, not from Antarctica but you get my point!). Every person that I meet helps me understand a different side of the world; they continue to give an eye to my blind sides. YPARD is the largest platform for young professionals in our sector helping interaction with each other, and has a large number of active members in social media.
Seeing through agriculture
I found agriculture the most profound thing that I have ever experienced; the deeper I go, the more I understand life, human, how we evolve throughout the time and how insignificant we are to natural cycles and the whole ecosystem. I also can see better how social-economic system works without a stint, although just because I understand the unjust system does not mean that I agree with it. We take agriculture for granted and really cannot see the full potential and the impact that agriculture has in our wellbeing, and on the current issues starting from food safety and security to the climate changes. We are misled to think that those problems are beyond us, we are not the ones who will make changes and there is nothing that we can do. We are living in the paradox where modern parents want more healthy food for their children but only few of them buy food of which they know how it is produced. We care about animal welfare and yet we eat cheap hamburgers from rich corporates. Young people want to be engaged with nature, in the same time, -in their minds- choosing a career on agriculture, forestry or related topics is old fashion.
Saving the world is not one person’s job, it is about the community. In every decision that we make, regardless how little important it is, we should consider that we are voting for better future. The bees are the greatest example on how big impact a teeny-tiny thing can have. In average, a worker bee produces only 1/12 tablespoon of honey on lifetime, and yet they are wonder women of nature.
In our beautiful planet, there are lots of good examples of human kind that works hard to make a sweeter and safer world. My biggest dream is to start vlogging about the inspiring people who put good deeds of 1/12 tablespoon to our planet by farming, eating, consuming and more important living a sustainable life. I want to shed a light on the good side of being human, so I will be true to my name.
- Name: Hana Voca
- Nationality: Kosovo
- Gender: Female
- Country in which I currently live: Italy
- University that I study at: Università degli Studi di Bari Aldo Moro
- Mother tongue: Albanian
- Other languages I am fluent in: English and Turkish