HOW NOT TO GROW A TREE!


It’s a very satisfying thing to plant a little seed and then to watch it grow into a leafy tree, towering way above your head. It’s just as satisfying when school children or a local living near us catches our enthusiasm and starts to grow trees themselves … although this doesn’t always turn out as they intend it to …

I remember the time in 2010, when Mr. Alberto, the local Frelimo Party secretary, decided to start a little nursery of his own to supply us with seedlings.

He was very excited when he brought his first chanfuta seedling to us to admire and couldn’t understand why we all burst out laughing when we saw it.

It was Antonio, our gardener, who gave him the explanation and when Mr. Alberto heard it, he burst out laughing as well.

You see, there is a terrible plant here called Feijao Maluco (Mad Bean) or Buffalo Bean. Its brown seed pods are covered in very fine hairs and if you just brush against one of these hairy pods, you begin to itch like you have never itched in your entire life! In fact, you end up scratching like mad and covered in big red welts.

And this was the seed Mr. Alberto had planted and had tended so carefully … a Feijao Maluco plant!

So, it’s just as well to know your seeds before you plant them.

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