a dear love

25 01 2012

Cork wood.  Ricinodendron heudelotii.  African nut tree.

Various names for a lovely big tree.  The tree is not the most versatile in African forests:  It is not strong like the Mvule tree.  It can be used for Timber and posts as house support, or for charcoal.  It can be used medicinally to treat diarrhea and dysentery.  The tree gives rather good shade, and has beautifully shaped leaves.

These are more scientific descriptions taken from a book sitting open on my table.  But these words do not describe something peculiar about this tree.

Kampala 017

Soon after moving into our house I was woken a few times at night by something falling onto the tin roof of our garage/ servants rooms.  It would happen a few times a night.  It always takes me a while to settle and sleep well in a house where I have not slept before.  I had to find what was making this noise.

Mike and Titus, our garden helpers, gave me some help.  They showed me the rather large fruits of this tree – they are about 4-5 cm and have a hard shell, to cause a bit of noise falling on tin.

But as they told about the tree all thoughts of scientific data, usefulness as medicine or for its commercial value, and even its aesthetic value left.

See, the local name of this tree is ‘kabaka ajangala’.  The king loves me. 

I have not been able to track why the tree has this name.  But immediately when I heard the name the tree became special to me. 

Ugandan kings (kabaka) have not had the nicest reputations at times. Right now there is a scandal regarding the present kabaka as news has recently broken that he  he has an illegitimate child.King Mutesa, about a hundred years ago, killed hundred of people in savage ways just for coming into his presence.  African kings are not known for their sweet generosity to the masses.


But this tree spoke of a great honour. To have one planted in our garden, dropping reminders onto a tin roof at night, gave me a tangible reminder soon after moving into a strange house in a strange land. 

thursday 020

The King of all kings loves me.  When I am woken in the night, the noise reminds me of His wakefulness and guarding over me.  The tall stem, grey in the shade, cannot be shaken.  The King’s love cannot falter.  It is immovable, deeply rooted, powerful.

The leaves are in clusters of 5.  5 signifies God’s grace.  5 fresh green leaves of God’s unfailing grace.  The leaves turn a beautiful gold as they lie on the ground… gold, fit for a king, reminding of God’s royal love for me.

I love that the name is personal… and it is that way for each person. The King loves me.  How totally amazing.  He loves me.  (Can you hear the joyful echoes of the Beatles’ song in the background? Yeah, yeah, yeah…)

No matter what. In a world of hurt, fallen people, unkindness, nature turned wild, sickness: I hope that today you will hear the pod falling onto a tin roof in your soul.  That you would know.  Kabaka Ajangala. 






4 responses

25 01 2012
Gill Oosthuizen

Beautiful Karen, thank you!!



25 01 2012

This post is simply inspiring! Thank you for sharing.

29 01 2012

What a beautiful tree! I wonder if those nuts are edible?

30 01 2012

I just looked up in the book we have – the seeds are edible either boiled and added to meals or roasted and eaten like groundnuts. (But I don’t think it looks too appealing to eat… that may just be me!)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: