Out in Kisumu, there was an avenue of flamboyant trees that lined the road that runs passes alongside the Hindu crematorium, the Muslim cemetery and a golf course on your way to the Kisumu airport. The mature umbrella shaped, bright flowering trees were a distinct feature of Kisumu as coconuts are to Mombasa. I learnt they have been there since the 50s. I could not find the actual record of when they were planted but anyone who has traveled on that road to Busia will remember them as a distinct feature of the landscape. Those trees held memories.
Now they are all gone, chopped down to make way for a sparkling brand new dual carriageway. Those trees have served with such distinction. At the very least, the road contractors should have invited us to a funeral and put out a notice in the obituary section reading, “We regret to inform all concerned Kenyans who may remember the flamboyants, that they had to go”.
It is the heavy price of development. We need bigger better roads to move a growing population and environment will be destroyed for a good cause. I mourn those trees but I mourn Wangari Maathai more. In her time, the trees would not have gone down without a fight. She wouldn’t have bought the development script that easily. As she once said “There’s a general culture in this country to cut all the trees. It makes me so angry because everyone is cutting and no one is planting”. It is obvious that more of our green friends are lined up for summary execution. The country is on the move and we can always plant ornamental trees back. It is all factored in the landscaping budget. As the rest of the world strives to green their urban spaces, Kenyans seem to have fallen in love with concrete and glass.
We need to promote development that does not destroy our environment –Wangari Maathai. Rest In Peace
Image source: planet25.com