It’s good to be green!
March 18, 2014
By Bekah Karimi (RR program instructor since 2010)
One of our game drives in Northern Torra this past week showed me the contrast between the wet and dry season. At one point in the drive, you travel up the track out of a valley of relatively abundant settlements. As we came to the optimal viewing position, bumping along in our truck, there was a beautiful Boscia albitrunca (Shepard’s Tree).
I thought about what it would be like to be that tree. For three years, the rains have not come to do their job here in the Kunene. This season, although we have only had about 4 days of overcast or rain has showed me the fortitude of the desert adapted plants. I am amazed that the grasses and vegetation can bounce back with only a week of showers. What is it like to be this tree? The wait for rain must seem endless here, as it is for the people as well. Of course, with the rain can also come problems, but the benefits definitely outweigh the costs. This tree has waited for three years to once again overlook one of my favorite parts of the Kunene region- and the color is green. It now overlooks a valley one would find hard to believe is classified as ‘arid’ anything.
Grasses blooming, flowers that I have never learned before make their appearance, fresh sprigs of grass in fields of former rocks. The transformation is amazing. I find myself pondering what it would be like if every spring program was like this year’s spring. The students have seen and heard birds that we have spent entire programs searching and yearning for. We have learned what the Commiphora species look like with leaves – formerly one of the largest challenges of teaching natural history. The wildlife is abundant and looking fit. It is so exciting to see life returning to a place where the rain was needed desperately. In November, the students from Fall 2013 formed a search party called the DZP (dead zebra patrol). We were keeping track of the dead animals that we found along our routes to pass on to the game guards. The rain was needed. This Boscia albitrunca can attest to that, and now gets to look over a valley of abundant food resources for the wildlife we have been waiting three years to count.
It’s good to be green in the Kunene region again, and well worth the wait.