On a very short trip to Gombe, I caught up with an old friend. Though I never knew that I had a connection with her. As a kid, I always wondered why she had such a funny look. And those pods of fruit. Nothing would make me take that again…well, maybe not that extreme. But I did fall sick after trying out the seedlings inside the pod. They were small, white and had a velvety feel to them. It had a sour-sweet taste to it but melts in your mouth. It was nice but I don’t think I would be that adventurous anymore. Really because missing out in the fun in Yankari was not fun. But I digress.
I didn’t really understand that she fed and nourished me. She still does. Kukah soup made from the leaves has and will always be my best soup. it’s earthy taste and even the icky green look the soup has which sadly, turns a lot of people off it.
Anyway, the older I grew, the more she intrigued me. The way she looks, normally trees don’t look like that. I guess that is why she was christened the ‘Upside Down Tree’. Kinda fits because she does look like she was doing a hand-stand and totally forgot how to get back on her feet again.
Round and huge at the bottom that finally narrows up to scanty branches that I have always seen naked. I don’t think I have seen her in her glory, covered in leaves. I hear that she blossoms once in a really long time.
I got the chance to say hello. Majestic as ever, towering over other trees like an ancient elder of old. It was the reverence of meeting an old friend again but this time, with new found respect for this figure that has been in my life for so long. Many places call her the tree of life and I can see why. Every part of her provides shelter, nourishment, solace to all who seek her. From animals to humans, she is always there.
She knows I will go back one day to really give her the attention she wants from me. She is always waiting for me and I hope this time, she greets me with the biggest welcome of all…a long awaited blossom. She is after-all, my Baobab.