Lessons I Learned From My Moringa Tree
In our Nubian village where we live, we have discovered a number of beliefs that the local people hold in regard to medical treatments and overall health. For instance, if you are overheated, you should drink steaming hot tea to cool down.
If you drink ice cold water, you will get a cold.
Babies shouldn’t bathe before the age of one.
And any other malady, internal or external, that you may have can be cured through the use of honey.
Some of the remedies they use have proven helpful to me. When I had a deep cough, our friend brought us guava leaves and told me to steep them as a tea. I did and it worked as a great cough suppressant.
At another time, a big bag of freshly picked oranges arrived at our doorstep because they had heard one of us had a cold. Vitamin C. Cool.
Last winter, a German botanist came through the city offering a workshop on medicinal plants. He came to our village and held a talk in the nearby mosque. John and I attended to support our friend and also make new friends in the community.
The botanist told about different plants and purposes they served when crushed, heated, dried, etc. for curing ailments that are typical to the area.
The first night about 20 people came. The next night attendance doubled. You see, there’s not a lot of money for extras here and medicine is an “extra” unless it’s an emergency. So they are always looking for something that they can find and implement themselves.
The botanist told about a tree called the “Moringa” or “Miracle Tree.” This tree has been categorized as miraculous because every part of us it is useful for a variety of medicinal purposes.
Now I am no botanist, doctor or even a person with much of a green thumb, but it is pretty amazing what this tree is said to do. This particular botanist has the goal of placing at least one maringa tree in the home of every family in Africa. (To learn more, go to http://www.treesforlife.org/our-work/our-initiatives/moringa)
After the workshop, we were each given a Moringa tree of our own. I was very excited about this. We live in a desert environment and to be told that something that’s green could actually grow here is great news.
I promptly went and bought a pretty pot to put it in. Then being the good gardener that I am I told John that I needed dirt and a tree planted. He laughed and said, “I love how you garden.” I smiled and watched him as he took the sad little sapling and placed it in the dirt. He then gave it some water and we both stood back and waited.
The next day, I ran out to check it. Still alive? Check.
And the next day…and the next. However, one day I walked outside to greet my little plant and it was brown and stick-like. What happened?
It had simply given up. It had been extra hot…around 120º, but the man had promised it could survive.
John joined me and shook his head. Let’s keep watering it. So we did. Each day, it stayed the same…brown, lifeless.
I almost gave up until I saw a green shoot from the side emerge. “Joooooohn, it’s not dead!”
Somehow this little plant had endured the heat and poor soil to sprout.
After that, it took off. It went from a small 4″ brown stick to now a 4′ tall tree. It’s on my patio where I can see it when I go out to sit.
It doesn’t have a lot of leaves yet, but that will come. John said it needs a bigger pot now. “Nooooooo!” It will be too shocking. It is happy right now. He said it is okay now, but it won’t grow fully with a lot of leaves unless it has more room to grow.
So that’s my next project. Finding a bigger pot and making the transition…
I think there’s good medicine in the Moringa tree, but I also think there are some good lessons to be learned as well.
1. Life is still there even when it doesn’t look like it. Keep nurturing it and give it time.
2. Staying in the same pot will stunt its growth.
3. Moving to another pot is shocking, but necessary to reach its full potential.
4. You can thrive even in a harsh environment.
So me and my not so little tree are living together along the Nile learning about life in the desert. Growing not just for our own benefit, but for that those around us.
Here’s to you, Moringa!