Thursday, August 30, 2012

My New Diet: Avocados

This week, I heard the buzz of a saw from inside my house and went outside to check. Sure enough, lumberers were cutting down the large avocado tree that grows in the field behind my house. Kids were gathering in anticipation of the frenzy that would ensue.

I get a little twinge of pain when I pass by the stumps of avocado trees that were recently cut for lumber. Usually I find myself in a familiar place wondering what seems strange, soon to realize that a tree has gone missing. However, big avocado trees like this are plentiful and to actually witness the tree crashing down was fun. Just the earthshaking impact of such a massive tree hitting the ground and the dust it sent flying everywhere was moving.

As soon as it was safe, children rushed at the tree from all directions. Since avocado trees tend to fruit more at the top, the avocados from this tree have been unreachable, yet clearly visible from the ground. Finally, the kids could get at all the food they've been looking up at since they were born.

Of course I managed to grab a small portion of the bounty of avocados, so I'll be doing my best to eat them all as fast as they ripen (read: I will eat mostly avocados this week).

I also took a video of the tree falling and the kids going to work to find all of the avocados.

Even if the cutting of an avocado tree destroys a more constant resource (windfall avocados), it also benefits a lot of people immediately. The lumberers cut up the trunk and sell the boards, which make good furniture. The lumberers estimated that this particular tree could make them twenty thousand Rwandan Francs. The children pick up whole bags of avocados that will help feed their families and be sold around town. A woman, who declined to be photographed out of modesty, was at the scene with a baby tied to her back, cutting the youngest branches for goat feed. The rest of the branches are gathered for kindling. As I am writing this, most of the tree is gone. A pile of leaves and sawdust remains.

Once all of the avocados were bagged up and carried off, the sideways tree turned into a jungle gym. The excitement had clearly not worn off. One child insisted that today was an igitangaza, which I understood later to mean miracle.

The camera I brought out was also part of the fun. Below are some pictures of these goofy kids.


  1. Another enjoyable read - thank you.


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