It’s exactly one month since I last wrote an article and my readers have been asking me:
“Ulienda wapi?” Which loosely translates to, “where did you go to?” In Swahili.
I always laugh at this question because it’s not only hilarious but also senseless! I have been reading, seriously reading! I have also spent that same number of days knowing college and understanding this coveted ‘campus life’ which many people who have gone before me, arguably praise and exalt. I am a late bloomer.
College is incredibly great, but what I like most about the campus I’m in, is not the food, not the buildings, not even the good people we have around, but the beautiful trees that stand both within and without the school. I just love them irrevocably. Everyday when I draw my curtains in the morning, I look at how gracefully they stand out in the chilly mornings of Lower Kabete and they remind me of the late Professor Wangari Maathai. The most loving mother of the environment we ever had. God rest her soul in peace!
In my bus rides to college and back, I always find a spot near the window, ensure I have the bus fare in coins, lest the taut breaches the contract we had earlier on made when boarding the bus, and once everything is safe,(here I’m talking about my phone and backpack) I’m carried away by the trees besides the road. Besides the beautiful jacaranda trees that stain the road with their purple flowers, the palm trees that are evergreen and the other species of trees that I never learnt about in school, your sight won’t miss the countless works of architecture brought to life by the most skilled masons, architects and doubtlessly highprofile engineers.
These mansions and villas spell on thing; wealth. They belong to stinking rich people. They belong to those people who flourish in secured homes. They belong to those people who everyday take the back left seat of their cars and get driven by meticulous chauffeurs to work. They belong to people who probably spend their weekends in some golf course, a certain high end hotel that serves food made using foreign recipes and when they are running late after work and their chauffeurs claim that they went to pick their kids from that International school you are probably thinking of, they are quick to call a cab. Not just a cab, mind you, Uber works well for them. They can even pay double the amount so long as their safety is guaranteed.
Albeit I admire these people’s way of life, my heart has a soft spot for trees. I always think of all those buildings and others that are in their early stages of construction and I think of Prof. Wangari Maathai; Kenya’s Internationally recognized change agent when matters environment are at hand. Did you really read that carefully? Internationally recognized!
When they wanted to do away with Uhuru Park and have constructions there, more specifically a massive statue of the then head of state; Retired President Daniel arap Moi, she condemned them and they did throw all sorts of nasty names at her but she gannered support from other few people and had a freedom corner there, where they planted trees. She was selfless, a character that is really lacking in us in recent times. She spoke the language of nature. Maathai punctuated all her sentences with the word ‘environment’, she seldom spoke without mentioning how sustaining the environment would do us more good than we could imagine.
Everytime I use Professor Wangari Maathai Road, I wonder whether I’ll keep her spirit alive in myself. I usually wonder whether I’ll ever drive sense into people’s brains and make them understand that our environment will sustain us if we sustain it.
I read this quote from the internet recently and it moved me. It read:
“Learn character from trees, values from roots and change from leaves”~ Tasneem Hameed
This is a powerful quote that not only uses the example of a tree figuratively but also speaks about our lives.
Planting trees is a culture we should cultivate. You get the pun? You do not need to be a professor for you to plant trees. Wangari Maathai said:
Education, if it means anything, should not take people away from land, but instill in them even more respect for it, because educated people are in a position to understand what is being lost. The future of the planet concerns all of us, and we should do what we can to protect it. As I told the foresters, and the women, you don’t need a diploma to plant a tree.
Now that January is over and it has been ushered in by rains, don’t wait for another time, plant trees. Let her spirit live in us. Let us appreciate her efforts and our country, won’t be how it threatens to be. Our children, the ones we nurture in our rising continent will also appreciate our efforts but would be reminded that they have another great granny who used to love trees and that she advocated for the conservation of the environment.
Now that we are in the month of love because of its fourteenth day, let us show love to trees and most importantly, our environment.
Enjoy your February and know that, ‘Nimerudi sasa!’ to mean, ‘I’m back!’