Nothing can distract you in Santa Martha. When you enter the residence, where the Vatican accommodates some of its visitors, there is no Raphael fresco or Bernini sculptor to catch your eye. Just plain white walls and green plants on a tidily kept marble floor. The outside six-story facade and the inside lobby alike are as neutral and impartial as a clinic. Yet the one you may come across, in the elevator, is Pope Francis. He stays in Room 201 on the second floor. A young cardinal once found himself with the pope suddenly entering the lift. "Holy Father," he said most politely. Francis replied: "Holy Son!" The pope recently explained to journalists that he had insisted on taking the elevator alone, with no one on duty to accompany him: "My life is as normal as I can make it." And as normal as one of a priest, that he wants it to remain.
World Elephant Day is recognized on August 12, an appeal to all global citizens to help conserve and protect elephants from the numerous threats they face. A few days after learning of the death of Satao I met up with beloved scientist and conservationist Dr. Jane Goodall to discuss the elephant crisis.