Which tree? Could it be Mugumo from Central Kenya? Mangrove from Coast? Acacia from Northern Kenya? Mama Mutere from Western? Name them! I am here to mention the ordeal of either.
Decades ago, our grandfathers' fathers would not miss to say the sign of of the cross under this tree. They had to appreciate Nyasaye, Mulungu, Engoro, Ngai na Mungu. The melodious voices from the nesting birds could keep the background scene fully spiritual. Beautiful short shrubs and herbs could complete the natural picture of the rendezvous. The cool fresh breeze could perfectly replace today's machine driven fans in homes, offices, churches, learning institutions etc. The energy was purely natural!
Suffering from stomachache? Headache? Snake bite? Or any other ailment? The instant medicinal properties of this tree could assure you of a better day tomorrow. Your body homeostasis could could be very functional.
The picturesque created by two or more of these trees was just marvelous. I can compare the tree to a fully metamorphosized African woman who has won a beauty contest. Her fully decorated elegant head- green scarf with faded brown stripes loosely fixed 2 form a conical shape- could compare to the tree canopy! Just like the African woman guards and puts her family in tender care so does the tree canopy. Full of lifeforms- birds, insects in full range especially butterflies, those animals that signed an MoU to always sleep upside down- bats could not miss in the canopy demography. Snakes too represented. How can you forget the big cat, Mr Leopard? Always rests on the biggest branch after an engaging hunt down. All these in coexistence? Mother nature knows the answer better than I do!
This African woman's slender trunk completes the stem picture. I am meant to understand that slender means 'slim and thin'. How could a slim and thin stem support all that biodiversity above it? I have the answer. Very simple! The slender woman can carry her child on the back and walk for kilometers to fetch water, collect firewood and till the shamba. Don't forget that she has to carry the basket full of avocados and matoke to the market with the child on the back? Does she get tired? Does she give up? Does she let go off the child? NO! She is very strong. The same philosophy applies to the stem.
Imagine if that is only one tree, what about a whole forest ecosystem? I have no doubt in mind that it translates to an aura of biodiversity. Back then people respected mother nature. It was there everything- home, church, hospital with natural medicine, rendezvous, garden for picking of fruits and gathering roots.
Today seems to be very strange! I think I am in a foreign land. No singing birds, colorful butterflies, full range biodiversity. The green scenery. Oh! That tree, where did it go? It is no more. It is now a history. What happened?
My father needed more land to expand his agricultural projects, so he cut a couple of them. My uncle is a serious charcoal burner and falling trees is the only thing that can make him smile. Your father operates an enormous timber yard across the road, guess what he can do to the remaining few tree stands. The chimneys across industries are full of smoke, smoke from illegal logging. My mother and your mother are busy feeding us, off course we have to eat! Source of the cooking energy? That tree. What next?
You and I have been implored to come up with sustainable projects, put up tree nurseries, plant and grow trees. It is surprising that the message falls on deaf ears! We must wake up! We must take action! I must talk to dad! You must to your dad! I must talk to my uncle! We must talk to our moms. We must walk the talk! Lest the Mugumo, the Mangrove, the Acacia, Mama Mutere and many others could be histories read in books, newspapers, journals and maybe articles like this one.
CONSERVATION and NATURAL RESOURCE MANAGER student at the University Of Nairobi, Kenya.
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