Tag Archives: Tree

Kipoo… in the Garden

Kipoo was dosing off to sleep.  He felt he deserves the rest. It had been a long and tiring season last year with all the visitors trudging all over him to take one last look at his receding hairline.  Yes, his receding hairline.  He never thought it would ever come to this. He was always so proud of his wonderful snow white crown.  But now it was slowly fading away… along with all the glory of his yesterdays.  No more would he be able to stand proudly among the rest of his peers as the tallest, most handsome one, with that awe inspiring crown of white on his head.

He has been privy to conversations about his receding hairline.  Apparently the only solution is some growth activator called tree.  It is said that this growth activator was what had kept that crown on his head for so long.  Kipoo just could not understand it all.  How come that growth activator was not there anymore? He is sure he did nothing to remove it.  What had his people been doing with it?

Then he thought…. it must be Mawenzi’s fault.  Mawenzi must have become jealous of him after that incident so many years ago.  Yes, maybe Mawenzi was at fault.  After all, that incident was related to fire, and fire requires wood, … and does wood not come from tree?

As Kipoo lay on his bed, he began to recall the events that culminated in that incident, way back when… he was not so young, but certainly younger than he is now… and boy was he handsome then.

It was a time when the people in his territory were so much fewer.  As the chief, he knew his people, and he had been able ensure they took care of their environment.  Things have changed a lot since then.

Anyway, at that time he had a friend called Mawenzi.  Mawenzi was just as handsome, and just as tall.  Mawenzi was the chief of the territory next to Kipoo’s.  They were good friends, but Mawenzi had a little problem.  Kipoo could never understand why Mawenzi was always coming to him for embers of coal from his fire.  He thought it was strange, but then, this was his friend, so he let it be for some time.

Now, Kipoo has always been a patient one,  known for calmly and silently watching his surroundings and letting things be.  But after many years of this behavior, Kipoo just had to ask Mawenzi: “My friend, why is it that you always come to get embers from my fire to start your own fire?  Why is it that you cannot start your fire from your own embers?”

Mawenzi was startled, and looked down with embarrassment. He never thought Kipoo would ever ask him this question.  As Mawenzi looked down, Kipoo looked at him with concern.  “Mawenzi,”, he said, “what is it that you cannot tell me?  You make me worried when you look down like that.  What is the matter?”

Mawenzi sighed.  He took a deep breath, and sighed again.  He stood up and said, “My friend Kipoo, if you do not want to give me any more embers from your fire, just tell me.  All I want is just a little coal to take with me to my home so that I can cook for myself. Why is that becoming a problem for you today?”

Kipoo did not like this response.  He felt that Mawenzi was not being honest with him, and Kipoo was beginning to get angry.  A simple explanation would do, but instead Mawenzi was trying to make him feel guilty about not giving him something that did not belong to him.  He pushed Mawenzi harder for an answer but Mawenzi would not tell him.

Kipoo sat still and thought, “If I do not give in to him, we will lose our friendship.”  So, he decided to give Mawenzi the embers of coal, and then find out the truth another way.

When Mawenzi had gone, Kipoo followed him quietly to see what he would do with the embers and what it was that Mawenzi was hiding from him.  When Mawenzi got home, Kipoo hid, and watched Mawenzi start his fire and cook his meal. As Mawenzi cooked, Kipo became hungry.  He should also have been cooking his own meal, but was now here watching Mawenzi cook.  The food Mawenzi was cooking was smelling really good, and Kipo almost came out of his hiding place to invite himself to Mawenzi’s meal. Surely Mawenzi would be happy to see him?

But he stopped himself. He still had not accomplished his mission, and today he had decided he was going to get to the bottom of the embers story. As Mawenzi ate his food, Kipoo licked his lips… hungry.  Boy was Mawenzi enjoying that meal!

When Mawenzi finished his meal, Kipoo got up to return home.  Kipo felt that this mission had proved to be a waste of time. But… suddenly, Mawenzi stood up and facing the fire, urinated all over it! He was putting out the fire completely!

Kipoo was livid!  “What?!”, he thought, “Is this what Mawenzi has been doing all these years?! Putting out his fire and then coming to beg me for embers from my fire?! Surely Mawenzi knew better than that!”

This upset Kipoo too much. A hungry man is an angry man they say, and without thinking, Kipoo got out of his hiding place and confronted Mawenzi.  Kipoo was angry, and Mawenzi was angrier still.  Mawenzi could not imagine that his long time friend had the audacity to sneak up on him and peep into his home like a thief.  There was an altercation, and then a fight.

Kipoo was too angry to remember that this was his friend, and eventually he picked up a big stick and smashed Mawenzi’s head with it.  Mawenzi’s head was shattered.  Gone was that wonderful crown of white on Mawenzi’s head.  Kipoo stepped back, waiting for Mawenzi to come back at him, but, wounded, Mawenzi could not fight any more.

Kipoo left Mawenzi’s home triumphant, he had won the fight, but he had also lost a friend.


Now, many years later, Kipoo’s hairline was receding, and soon he would end up almost as short and ragged as Mawenzi.  How would he, proud Kipoo, stand up among his peers again?

He turned on his side and thought: “If only, if only someone would bring back enough of that growth activator called tree… if only…”

As Kipoo fell asleep, he prayed that God would bring more growth activators so that the crown on his head would grow back again.  He would be ever so thankful. “Maybe God will guide those people who are visiting me to see my receding hairline to do something… “, he thought, “maybe they will bring more growth activators to him… maybe… just maybe…”

Come… Walk with me in the Garden.


Copyright © 2014, Ophelia Swai. All Rights Reserved.


Kipoo is the local pronunciation for Kibo Peak of Mt Kilimanjaro.  Mawenzi is the second tallest peak on Mt Kilimanjaro.  The incident between Kipoo and Mawenzi is an adaptation of a folk tale of the Chagga people who traditionally live on and around Mt Kilimanjaro.

Taking care of big shida the Garden

A beautiful sun even on a hot and dusty day... in the Garden

I am driving along the dirt road.  The dust cloud is rising behind me and I shudder to imagine the amount of dust that will rise and come in through my vehicle windows when I stop.  I have to calculate the stopping distance and start to put up the windows before I stop lest I choke and feel worse than I already feel in this hot dust bowl.

The rains are nowhere to be seen, and it is at least another month or 2 before we can expect another spot of rain… if it comes as it should.  I comment to my colleague that now would be a really good time for that unexpected shower that comes in the evening and settles the dust down a little bit.  But by evening, there is nothing.

As I turn round a bend in the road, I see a giraffe… tall… standing regally by the side of the road… I slow down to wave a greeting… and inadvertently save the giraffe from too much dust from my wheels… thankfully.  I move on, thinking how lovely it was to still meet with the rest of God’s creation, even as we all move around with a fine layer of reddish-brown dust from head to toe, and choke from the dust I still managed to raise right around me when I slowed down the vehicle.  How wonderful, because their presence is a sign of life, breathing, eating, drinking, and hopefully soon, showering in God’s mighty big shower in the garden.

Yes, sometimes life can be tough in the garden, and no… shida is no animal… or bird… or plane… it is a problem.  It is a big problem when there is no rain in the Garden, for with it comes life, but without it, only pain.  It is at times like this that we should ask… what can I do about it? Plant more grass?  Plant more trees?  Give Mother Nature back? Take care of his creation in the wild? It is at times like these, that we should stop and do something to help make our garden a better place, by tending and watering our garden right where God wants us to be… and make this garden a better place for everybody eventually… sometimes it is the plants that need our care, as much as the people and animals around us, so that the people and animals can live with less pain.

Will you join me?

Come … walk with me in the Garden

Copyright © 2011, Ophelia Swai. All Rights Reserved.

Let’s take a moment today, to pray for those millions truly without rain, and experiencing the deep pain of hunger, loss and distress, seemingly without an end … in God’s great and beautiful Garden.

Let us pray... in the Garden

Let us pray... in the Garden

Sharing in the Garden

 Shish… shuish…scratch… shuish…. Something was walking outside my window and I was not sure what it was.  There was always something that came this way every morning, but I only ever hear the shuffling of leaves on the grass, and so far I had managed to put my curiosity aside.

Scratch… shush…scritch… scratch… I had to finish my plan for the day, but my curiosity was getting the better of me.  I could not ignore it another day.  6:15am each morning, they came from the side of the driveway and walked past my side window to the back, without a sound to back their march. At least if they made a sound I would be able to tell what it is.


6:15am in the Garden

6:15am in the Garden

 I put my laptop aside. The day’s plan would have to take a short break.  I opened the curtain gently and ever so slowly, trying to make sure whatever it was does not get scared and run away.  The sun was slowly rising in the east and I knew it was going to be another hot day.  These days it just is.


The sun slowly rising in the Garden

The sun slowly rising in the Garden

 Scritch, shish, tap, tap, scratch… shuish.

I eventually saw them, right by the window… taking short steps and then pecking at the ground, clearly looking for their staple diet.  It now became clear why I no longer saw the dikdik at this place.  The guinea fowl had taken over the Marula tree and would come to claim their territory every morning at 6:15am.  I wondered where they slept.


Spreading light through the Garden

Spreading light through the Garden

 I went back to my day planning all the while thinking…

Last year at the same time of year, the Zebra were all over the place, eating every last blade of grass.  Shortly after them the elephants came through and manicured the garden trees, by pruning the branches off the trees and eating most of the lower leaves.  The giraffe then came by and ate as many of the leaves in the tallest branches as they could reach.  The dikdik couple came next and was busy munching under the Marula tree.  The birds built their nests in the trees and are there to this day.  Now the guinea fowl had taken the place of the dikdik.  This was the same place, but each animal found its own space within the space, and its own time to come to this place.  It seems peace is maintained because each is taking only what they need and leaving the rest.  Simple, yet very effective. 

So I asked myself, “Is our state of constant war as humans in the garden because we have less of what we need, or is it because we have greed?”  I know this may sound simplistic, but I truly like to hear your views on it:  “If we put down everything this planet has on a silver plate, and we all put aside our greed (humor me and assume it is possible), would we not have enough to go round each and every day for every human being?”

Hmmm… yes we also have to work for what we receive, unlike the other species, so perhaps if we also take laziness out of the equation (humor me again and assume it is possible), we might succeed?

Think about it.  I would love to hear what you have to say. 

My views?  I am still learning.  As I continue to watch and learn from our dear friends in my little corner of the garden… I am learning that perhaps there is truly enough for every human being, if we just love as God has commanded us and give to one another in any way we can each and every day.

Wanna join me try this?

Come… Walk with me in the Garden

Copyright (c) 2010. Ophelia Swai. All Rights Reserved

Surprise! … In the Garden

I wake up every morning, 6 days a week, rushing through my paces.  I have many things to do before it is time for me to leave the house and get to my office.  It is always such a battle, because, I usually have found it hard to wake up on time in the first place.

But this morning I had woken up on time.  It was a morning for my 15 minute workout and I had made it on time… that is, until I happened to look at the window and see a deep red seeping through the curtain. I knew this meant a beautiful sunrise.  I was smiling already.  The workout could wait a few minutes.  I would just take a few clips and then proceed.

Sunrise through the trees in the Garden

Sunrise through the trees in the Garden

I was right.  The sunrise was beautiful and reminded me of the days I when I woke up every morning in time, just to take one clip.  I had not done it for almost a year, so now I was excited. Click, click, click.  Every take seemed to impel me to take another one.  Maybe from another window… I wonder how it will look… click.
A colorful sky in the Garden

A colorful sky in the Garden

Rays of sunlight sweeping through the Garden

Rays of sunlight sweeping through the Garden

I eventually got to my workout, but was 10 minutes late.  Something was going to be skipped this morning… or I would have to take the fastest shower on earth. 

I got back to my room to get ready for work. The curtains were drawn again… the sun was already up and the sky no longer had quite so many fancy shades any more.

Suddenly there was a very large shadow at my window.  I was startled.  I stopped what I was doing and gasped!  I had felt the loss of the rays of the sun through the curtain before I looked up and saw the shape of the shadow. It was moving rapidly. It had moved past the window before my mind began to comprehend what the shape of the shadow could be…. A giraffe.. up close and candid… no more than 3 meters away, and moving around the corner of the house to the other window of the room.

My initial shock was now gone, and I had my camera close to me. This morning I was going to be late for sure… click, click, clicking away, I took photos of this friendly giraffe as he chewed on the tree outside. 

He moved further along, to where his female partner had been all the time, and I watched in awe as I took photos of them eating so close to me, I was sure I could touch them if I reached out.  The best part was that they just couldn’t be bothered about me clicking away on the other side of that window pane. 

Sharing Breakfast in the Garden

Sharing Breakfast in the Garden

Up close... in the Garden

Up close... in the Garden

Boy! What  a wonderful morning!  Just in case I had forgotten where I am living, just in case I had begun to get lost in the intricacies of a 364/24/7 communications up-time schedule, nature had come to remind me, with a whisper of light from the gentle rays of the rising sun, and a shadow of giraffe majesty crossing past my window, that God’s creation still exists and will be forever more beautiful than anything I could ever have conceived.

Yeah, I was going to be a tad late to work this morning. This was just too good to miss.  So once again I invite you…

Come… Walk with me in the Garden

Copyright (c) 2010. Ophelia Swai. All Rights Reserved

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