Wangare Mathaai’s Tree in Kibera

She was a true icon, a mother, a laureate price winner, a key player in a champion team, an impresario kind of a person who knew so well how to do the little things and do them so well until our biodiversity was guarded/protected. Who is she?

Following the announcement of the sudden death of Professor Wangare Maathai , all media stations went on air announcing this big loss so that the public can be aware, the social media was not left out thanks to my tweet feeds that broke my hell broke loose after I had learnt of this news. As people not to mention Politians were mourning, I was busy going through different documentaries that involved this fallen icon fighting to reclaim wet lands even as she put up spirited fights with the then government, was the mourning of those who opposed her moves for conservation activities genuine? It begs lots of answers. Why should authorities fight so hard to keep people with the interest of Kenya at heart at bay only to come and mourn/ give them state befitting send-off for their efforts while they still lived? Are we talking about irony or Dilemma?

Wangare Mathaai Video

When the date of her cremation was announced, the minds of many had an idea of planting trees all over Kenya as a way of paying her the last respect. For as in Kibera slums, it was not any different for we decided to merge the one tree planting activity with the launch of our project that seeks to give Kibera slums a green make over. Among the invited schools were; Raila Educational Center, St. Gabriel primary School, Old Kibera Primary, Mashimoni Primary and high School. While at the launch I recived a text from my old friend from high school whose contents were as follows “The floods in May 2010 did not sweep you, the Kampala bus blast…..ukatoboa kukimbia {you managed to run} the Uhuru park grenade blast….you were not there! Post-election violence…were you an IDP? No not you, Came Ocampo…witnesses at The Hague? We all waited for you but you were not among them. Mihadharati and corruption….you survived. Drought you are not a victim, the Sahcangwan fire tragedy…you were not there! Hahaaa but you were in Kibera, is it true? Chang’aa ya Yokozuna…it didn’t kill you… ………WHY CAN’T YOU PLANT A TREE IN HONOUR OF THE LATE PROF. WANGARE MAATHAI FOR YOU ARE THE LUCKY ONE?”

After the launch, we walked to Raila educational Center where we planted a tree that Prof. Wangare Maathai liked in showing that we care for the environment just as she did while still alive. With green candles lit, we gathered in a round circle at the point where we were to plant the tree as one of the students prepared the hole. It is during this time that we were also collecting signatures/messages of our condolence on a white cloth material to jus show how much we valued not just her work but the zeal/enthusiasm behind the little things she did for Kenya; it is indeed true that her efforts were recognised miles and miles away while Kenyans never saw much in her only until now that she has departed.

We will forever remember you for our tree that is almost near the gate of Raila school was called Wangare Maathai and we shall plant more trees here in the slum so that our forest cover increases to help curb/reduce the effects of climate change in  Kibera




About Sande Wycliffe

I am a motivated community leader living and working in the Kibera slum. The power of information exchange can change Kibera and bring about unity of purpose.
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