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Enchanting Gardens

Memories

In this the 25th year of my father’s passing away, I remember the amazing garden he nurtured in Athi River, Kenya, now a million years ago, it seems.  As kids we enjoyed walking through his veggie patch, showing it off to our visitors and seeing the marvel of growing beans, cucumbers, spinach and so much more.  The indelible picture of Papaji tending to the patch of land around our bungalow with gusto, is etched in my memory.

‘Personal’ gardens often come to the fore in our minds, enchanting our present with the love we’ve experienced in the past. 

My Aunt’s garden in Nairobi South, Kenya is another unforgettable childhood memory.  The most beautiful, big, red roses greeted us at the front entrance of Mamiji’s home, whilst a vigorous passion-fruit vine adorned the car port which led to a yard lined with paw paw trees around the back fence.  A garden in which we played ‘house games’ for hours on end whilst our Aunt looked after Mum at the birth of our youngest sibling.

Gardens made so much more enchanting because of the love that flowed out to us from the gardener.  

‘Dadirri’ for Australia Day

Miriam-Rose’s story for ‘Celebrate Australia Day’   reflects on the vast open garden of her hometown in the Daly River region in Northern Territory, Australia and points out the importance of ‘inner deep listening and quiet still awareness’ also known as ‘Dadirri’.

‘When I experience dadirri, I am made whole again. I can sit on the riverbank or walk through the trees; even if someone close to me has passed away, I can find my peace in this silent awareness. There is no need of words. A big part of dadirri is listening.’

I am strong ….

Enchanting, ‘personal’ gardens! – our life-line in the most difficult and isolating times.  

Walking into 2021, a year that spells yet another phase of the pandemic challenge of vaccines, quarantines and lockdowns, may we be filled with the fruits of our chosen ‘enchanted gardens’ – fruits of love, joy and peace.

…. I am strong, when I am on your shoulders
You raise me up to more than I can be

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains

You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas….

lyrics by Josh Groban

To heal, we must remember

President Joe Biden January 2021

70 years on ….

A Fateful Day

6th February 1952. This fateful day, out in Kenya, and in a now famous ‘Treetops hotel’, ushered in a remarkable era. And a remarkable life for me too, born a few weeks later, in the neighbouring country of Tanzania.

From that fateful day on, the Elizabethan era encompassed the lives of people in Britain and the Commonwealth of countries – 56 in all and home to 2.5 billion people.

Historical Markers

Historical dates have marked many a life both on the global and personal front ever since the beginning of time. We can all remember just where we were at and how life was affecting us at any given historical event.

On the global front, February 1952 marked a revolutionary shift of duties and responsibilities, power and wealth for the famous Queen. Personally, my family’s life was marked by drastic events leading to years of hardship for my parents. The loss of first my grandma and soon after my grandpa, brought much grief to the whole family, added to which an unwise business decision was made which changed my father’s destiny forever.

Ever since then, life for our family has been overshadowed by both these remarkable global and personal events.

Destiny

Destiny provides our markers through many such circumstances and builds the framework upon which our lives are tethered, buffered up with choices and challenges as well as a great deal of blessings and joy.

Though the majority of us fall in the far-off shadows of remarkable global figures such as the Queen of England, we are bound by the same principles of destiny, historical markers, tradition and belief systems – and the One who holds all things together in His hands.

Every Knee Shall Bow

Before Him every knee shall bow – as did the Queen of England’s when she ultimately had to relinquish her sceptre, crown and orb and bow down before Him for eternity, on the 8th September 2022.

I wonder what objects of ‘power, earthly acclaim and status’ you and I will need to relinquish when we, too, finally bow our knees ….

Those gazillion life dramas, in between, would seem like but a mist in the sands of time when we finally come to this momentous peak of our existence on earth.

Destiny, – oh how commanding you are; how steady, steadfast and unrelentingly sure.

70 years on …. a toast in honour of those remarkable years, – and for some principles that never change.

‘Movers and Shakers’

Back in History

Movement to another country often nurtures marked achievements for some people, possibly sharpened by the upheaval and resettlement challenges encountered.

Achievements such as those attained by famous people like Einstein who, in December 1930, left Germany to escape the Nazi aggression and settled in New Jersey. By the 1950’s he had shaken the world with his many theories that led to vital new discoveries.

Another famous ‘achiever’ from his move to South Africa, was Gandhi who came face to face with the bitter and ugly face of racism from the same group of people who were lording it over Gandhi’s home country of India. The experience drove him back to India to shake the world with his ‘freedom from the oppressive British rule’ movement, using his philosophy of non-violent protest as his main weapon.

Juma, the ‘Displaced’

That is on the historical level. Yet, there are many such achievers amongst people at the grassroots level – even amongst those that have been ‘displaced’ from their own countries. And for whom ’marked’ achievements may come through, a few generations later. As it was for Juma.

Juma, had to flee from the infamous Congo crisis of the 1960’s and take refuge in Tanzania. A politician’s aide in Congo, Juma unfortunately had to start from scratch in his new abode and cut many losses – including that of ever becoming a fully fledged politician. Nevertheless, he ended up shaking his adopted community as a very respected and wise Community Councillor. He died in 2005.

Chantal and her Grandfather

Today, Chantal talks about ‘Juma, my grandfather’ fondly and attributes her ambition of becoming a lawyer, back to that of her grandfather’s drive. Herself a migrant to Australia now, Chantal faces her fare share of hurdles, including the challenges of language, culture and colour, with an ever ready smile.

Working part-time in an Aged Care Centre, Chantal started her degree course in Government and International Relations in 2018 and then added Law to this. In the following years, she was offered a government funded Colombo Plan internship overseas but then COVID became a global pandemic curtailing Chantal’s opportunities of an overseas internship. Nevertheless, she moves on ahead with a burning ambition to eventually also become a ‘shaker’ in the world around her. Watch this space!!