|Messages of encouragement to endure fill our childhoods: From the little train that could: “I think I can, I think I can.” to Dori in Nemo telling us: “Just keep swimming, keep swimming. Swimming and swimming and swimming.” Likely all cultures have symbols and stories about this essential survival skill. The symbol of perseverance that we chose here comes to us from the West African Adinkra people. It is inspired by the seeds of their Wawa tree – which are extremely hard. In Adinkra culture, it is a symbol of someone who is strong and tough. It inspires the individual to persevere through hardship and represents the ability to overcome difficulties by facing them head-on.
You will notice on the sculpted version of this symbol there is a trough in the center bar with circling level ground around it. This represents the recurring cycles of life. There will always be times when we slip over the edge into a ditch. But we can always find a way to lift ourselves back up – onto and into the level circle of life once more.