It’s the beginning of summer in Zimbabwe. The sound in the hot afternoon is crackling - pods exploding and scattering shiny brown seeds into the dust. It is dry now. It has been many months since the rains. We’ve come through the cold and the frosty nights and the trees are doing everything at once. They are dancing the change of season. They come alive in expectance of rain and growth and continuance. These trees are called Msasa and they cover the North East of Zimbabwe. They spread North through Zambia and into the DRC where they grow much taller closer to the Equator, and East almost to Mozambique where on the mountains they grow very small at the limits of their altitude and their livelihood.

They are exploding their seeds and they are getting dressed in new leaves. The leaves come in all colours – yellow, orange, red, crimson and after that first hot flush they turn green – long before there is even a smell of rain on the wind.

The leaves and the pods settle on the weathered grass of the thatched homes in our village. We look after trees in our village. They shelter our buildings and our gardens. There is a strong hunger for wood, and these msasa trees make a good fire. It’s the wood that has been used for centuries to warm our hearths but centuries ago the forests covered the country. Now there are many places where there is only grass, or not even grass any more - only dust. So we look after our trees, they give us shelter and shade. They make our village beautiful. They are our friends, and our mothers. When the rains come mushrooms sprout underneath them and they give us food.

Web 2 helps me share this and helps you to know the gentleness and the harshness of our land. How the trees are beautiful and strong like women. How they grow together in groups, spread their branches to touch each other and whisper together like women. How they give shelter and nourishment like women take care of their children and families. How they they keep homes warm and welcoming even through hard times of hunger and pain, frost and wounds. How they mirror the arch of the sky that holds us all.

Through Web 2 I can bring our village into your lives and your lives into our village. We can share our stories and witness each other in our power and our beauty and our diversity. I can sit in my office under the trees and through the satellite internet connection, powered by the sun I can connect with the world. And with the many women who have touched a tree and drawn strength and refreshment, and who have been conscious of the connection to the deep, cool, permanence of the earth. Hearth. Home.

478 words.

Take action! This post was submitted in response to Voices of Our Future Application: Empowerment and Web 2.0.

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Comments

You write wonderfully... I can feel the shade of the trees through your words. This is an interesting and personal and animated approach to the prompt. Keep writing, I want to know more!

Sara_Aissa

Dearest,

Your words have left me breathless, speechless, filled with awe, hope and wonder, and hungry for more! I love your writing and hope to learn more about you, about your work and how you arrived here on PulseWire. Thank you for writing this, and for painting such a beautiful portrait of the msasa and it's significance to your village.

In friendship, Jade

Thank you so much for sharing such a beautiful thought about the power of connectedness and community. Though we are many miles apart, I can feel the urgency, the love, the passion you hold in your heart for these trees and this season. I wish you and your community many blessings and I give thanks that I am in this forum at this moment in time.

Peace sister! ~ Angel

Angel V. Shannon, RN Public Health Nurse / Integrative Health Educator www.onedharmacenter.com

This is a beautiful piece, bringing African taste to my tongue.....and taking us closer home as if I really mean as if......I was under the Msasa trees

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale Founder/Project Coordinator Star of Hope Transformation Centre 512 Road F Close Festac Town Lagos-Nigeria https:

You brought a bit of your world alive and into my home here in Canada on the lands of the Coast Salish people :-)

Web 2.0 empowers us, indeed to connect as humans across distance. You have an absolutely unique voice. Keep writing!

I would love to see more tags on your post, so more people can come across your journal.

Thank you for your comments ShukThi. I have a friend called Sukhthi... the names are so close. Is this another name for the goddess of strength and vengeance? Thanks for your support and comments and a lot of what you say in your intro resonates with me. I too look forward to the day when we are not defined by race and nationality, religion and gender - and can just be human. Not sure how to put more tags on the post. Perhaps you can tell me? look forward to connecting more with you and your energy.

Yes, it might be another name. Sukh also means good, and there are lots of names that start with Sukh. Finally, meaning is personal, isn't it?

I like to the ability to critique, improve and resist without worrying about alienating systems and people that may have power over me. So I prefer using the pseudonym ShukThi to my real name.

Here's a post by by Jade Frank http://www.worldpulse.com/user/658 about tagging http://www.worldpulse.com/node/15418 . Hope you find it helpful.

This passage is one of the most beautiful things I have seen written in a long time...thanks for writing it

Web 2 helps me share this and helps you to know the gentleness and the harshness of our land. How the trees are beautiful and strong like women. How they grow together in groups, spread their branches to touch each other and whisper together like women. How they give shelter and nourishment like women take care of their children and families. How they they keep homes warm and welcoming even through hard times of hunger and pain, frost and wounds. How they mirror the arch of the sky that holds us all.

MLB