In 2008, some folks in Estonia got together and decided to clean up the country. They named their NGO "Teeme Ära," or "Let's Do It."
The cleanup was a huge success, and they have done it again each year since. This year, "Let's Do It" campaigns are happening in 80 countries around the world.
For the last few years, the Embassy has participated in these cleanups. At least temporarily, Estonia is our home too, and so it is only right that we help keep it beautiful.
Yesterday's event was a lot of fun. About twenty of us from the embassy, including the Ambassador, joined with folks from Coca-Cola and Tallinna Vesi (Tallinn Water) to clean up a little area of beach in northern Tallinn. By then end of it, we are all pretty grubby but had filled a giant garbage container with trash. You start out picking up small glass sherds, papers and cigarette butts, but by the end, you are hauling massive rubber tubing, tires and assorted gigantic unidentifiables! One of the things I found was a mass of leather netting that I suspect had been used to cover an old Soviet vehicle to keep it from being identified from the air. This beach, like most beaches in Estonia, was off limits to average Estonians and was only for use by the Soviet military.
I personally think I get extra points for going out. I am still nursing a raging cold that has been kicking me in the teeth for two weeks now (and that I may have shared with BETTY member Elizabeth...sorry about that...though I am still maintaining plausible deniability...I think you brought your cold with you!). And speaking of BETTY, while I was out in the woods cleaning, one of the folks came up to me and asked if I wasn't the one who brought BETTY to town. She said she had really enjoyed the concert and wanted to thank me. She said she felt like the Embassy doing things like that really helped the LGBT community here and gave them extra confidence.
Now that definitely makes cleaning with a cold worth while!