“Thorns and Trails: A Woman’s Journey of Resilience and Revelation”
As a child, I was cradled in the emerald embrace of my aunt’s garden in Nairobi, Kenya. The ‘shamba’ was a playground of foliage, dazzling me with many plants in all sizes of recycled containers, pots, barrels, and cans. The air was a perfumed melody of floral scents, underscored by the sound of hidden insects and their rhythmic chirps, barking dogs, and a bleating goat. When I wasn’t racing through the gardens, playing with the dogs, or on games with my siblings, I stood still in front of giant, multicolored anthuriums, trying to understand what I was looking at, touching very gently what looked like weird crayons stuck in the plastic petal.
I poked my nose into a myriad of rose hybrids, inhaled the various perfumes, and counted petals on giant dahlias that looked like fireworks had just exploded. It’s like Mother Nature had a party and invited all the colors to join. It was there, in that wild setting, that my fascination with plants, (and animals) was sown.
The extent of the homestead was never quite known, I never found a fence, there just seemed to be an invisible boundary that kept me safe. Safe from the interference of outsiders, strangers, and the chaotic world beyond. It was a cocoon of innocence, where every day was an adventure, every corner held a new discovery. As the years passed and the world outside beckoned, that once invincible boundary began to feel fragile. The simple act of venturing beyond, into the unknown, became a journey fraught with caution and uncertainty. The lessons of the garden, of observing and cherishing every delicate detail, stayed with me, and so did the realization that not every space would be as welcoming, or as protective. The world was vast, just like that endless garden, but not all of it would cradle me in the same warm, emerald embrace. And while the colors of that garden remain etched in my memory, they also serve as a poignant reminder of a time when boundaries were comforting, not confining; when the…