In this video, Gavin Jack Thomas reflects on how the essence of life is having a sound and trusted relationship with others. He reminds us that the people in our lives matter most, rather than material things.

Learn more about Green Renaissance through our Grateful Changemaker feature.*

To support Michael and Justine in their film-making journey visit Green Renaissance.

Questions for Reflection

What moved you most about Gavin’s story?

What is something small you might do in the days ahead that could make a difference for others?

We invite you to share your reflections below the video transcript that follows.

*We are transitioning the format of our Grateful Changemakers series in an effort to deepen the ways in which we “celebrate programs and projects that serve as beacons of gratefulness.” Our film series partnership with Green Renaissance represents one such possibility. Stay tuned for more!

Video Transcript

My name is Gavin Thomas, I’m better known as Jack, call me whatever you like, I don’t mind, and I live on a beautiful little island in the middle of the South Atlantic ocean. This is the island of St. Helena. We fly the Union Jack, we’re proud to be British, but we are also in a way very multi-cultured. I think what makes a saint a saint is…the variation amongst our identity. And that is what makes us so very unique. I say I’m “other,” and I like “other” because that’s fascinating, isn’t it? I’d never change my identity. I am so proud to be a saint.

I love cooking all sorts. Baking and cooking… the love of my life. Love is a great concept, isn’t it. It’s a passion. It’s something you find rewarding. It’s something you find fulfilling. So, for me, love comes in all shapes and forms. And if I can find something in my life that I enjoy and can share with others, it has to be food. So here we are. But finding ingredients can be a challenge. And you can almost go into a sulk. And then you have to remind yourself that life wasn’t handed down to you on a spoon. So be thankful.

Now while that’s cooking, I’m going to make my cake.

There is an old saying on St. Helena, and rarity is an issue with produce. It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. And when it comes to eggs and vegetables and fruit, you must express love for those people. So down here, I hide my eggs. I’m not being selfish, but sometimes the less seen, the more I get. I’m going to make a very simple all-in-one almond and coconut cake. It’s my recipe.

They must cherished and respected. There we are, four eggs in the bowl. Self-satisfaction – that for me is to create a meal. Not prick something and put it into the microwave and thank you, Mr. Big Industry. That’s not me at all. In the oven it goes. Five, ten, fifteen, twenty…twenty-past-two, we should have a cake thereabouts.

I think the family value is still embedded in our culture. It’s that giving, that sharing, and that element of a little goes a long way.

Neil Phantom’s birthday? Today? Ooooh, ok. I’ll probably sing to him down the mic.

For me, the essence for getting on in life is to have a very sound and trusted relationship with others.

Good afternoon, everyone, and a very warm welcome to Saint FM with me, Gavin Jack, here in the studio.

The radio is a big thing for me because I’m not into social media, I gain more from radio. I love hearing about other peoples’ perspectives.

But let’s start the show off this afternoon with a track, and this goes out for your listening pleasure, and it says here for the Golden Girls out there at Longwood Supermarket on duty today. We’ve got lots to talk about. So grab yourselves a cuppa, stay in tune, and don’t go away.
Oh, I love this place. I love to play this, it’s called “As the Deer Pants.” “I want you more than gold or silver,” it says. It’s people rather than material things in life. It’s just gorgeous, the words. “You are my friend, you are my brother.” It’s just beautiful.

I’ve thought long and hard about this, and I believe that our life here on earth should be one of example. And should be one of enjoyment and engagement. And I just want to be remembered for someone who did something small that made a difference for others. Eat, pray, and be merry. And that would be me.

There we are, look. My coconut and almond cake is baked. Perfect. It’s too hot to cut, I’m afraid. I’ll ring you when it’s ready.


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Green Renaissance

Green Renaissance

About the author

Justine and Michael are a creative couple living in South Africa.  Their project, Green Renaissance, works to spread positive stories that reflect the wonder of the world. With the goal of sharing ideas and inspiring change, they produce gorgeous short films that are posted online and available for anyone, anywhere, to watch and share freely.

Through their films, they explore what it means to be human. They touch on topics that can often be difficult for people to discuss – from loss of a loved one to aging and retirement to friendship to love and courage – universal themes that we all deal with at some stage in our lives.

By sharing these stories, Justine and Michael hope to remind us of one simple truth – that we are all human – that inside our hearts and minds, we are all facing similar challenges.  We have so much to learn from each other, and our connections run so much deeper and stronger than we think.