Monday, February 12, 2007

Tree hugger Part 2

Well the event happened. A bunch of well meaning artsy types got together on Saturday afternoon to protest the cutting of the trees, and my curiosity found me there are well.

An Australian lady living in Ghana and married to an ambassador, headed up the event, organizing everyone and funding the materials for the art that decorated the venue, as well as paying some local musicians and buying some boxes of bottled water. She is always involved in these meaningful artistic slanted events, and is the head of the local arts association as well. If I didn't have to work or choose to work for a living, I hope I'd be as righteous in my endeavors!

They had a pretty good turn out, and it was announced that all government bodies in Ghana had been contacted to explain the tree fellings, and each one denied knowledge or responsibility. Then some people wrote poems and read them aloud, others sang and played the trumpet and made noble speeches. However, the most poignant speech was by a tiny quite man who's command of English was minimal and stage presence almost non-existent. He is the little man who sells little tin airplanes at the traffic circle.
He's been there, under a tree, using it's branches to hang his little figurines forever it seems. At least for as long as I've been here, and that's past a decade now! Anyway, I had only wanted to hear the opinion on all this destruction, from a Ghanaian. He is the most affected Ghanaian. He whispered the story of how all the trees at the circle had been just as big when he was a little boy, meaning that they were quite old. He talked of each type of bird that had made these trees their home over the years, including those that stopped here on their migration path for years and years. He commented that those birds would not be back now that the trees were gone. He also pointed to the roads leading all four directions from the circle. "There used to be many trees on this road and that one too. But now the developers, they want the people to have city view. So the trees have been removed. Next the tree that provides me shelter may go, and if that happens, I will have to go as well." Then he bowed his head and was finished. I think that got to all of us. I mean it's easy to come into a country and tell people their ideas are wrong or destructive or backward, but it is touching when we witness an environmentalist at heart. A man who is as close to nature as we are too our sofas and TV remotes... It's sad for this reason that the trees keep going down.
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