‘RIGHT SEED WRONG ENVIRONMENT’ By Mwangi Ndegwa

Hassan had spent all his life in the Land of the Rolling Plains. The rolling plains are situated in Africa, centrally positioned but to the eastern part...


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Hassan had spent all his life in the Land of the Rolling Plains. The rolling plains are situated in Africa, centrally positioned but to the eastern part of the great continent. To the north is the Sahara desert, to the east, the great Indian ocean. The Rolling Plains are in a semi-arid  kind of climate and rainfall is a rare thing. The rainy season usually lasts for a week or at most, two weeks. This period is dreaded by the citizens of this region because despite the fact that it only lasts for a short period, the rains are so heavy and they usually leave behind a trail of destruction and death in this area. The weather conditions are always extreme either heavy rains or scorching sun. This makes it impossible  to do any form of farming unless you have money to drill a borehole.

The citizens here are predominantly pastoralists and they keep moving from place to place looking for pasture and water for their animals. This is the kind of life that Hassan was used to. But as is with all children, he grew up and went to school. School has its benefits and one of these benefits, were the school tours. He got the chance to travel to other areas and what he saw left him in awe.

As he was finishing his junior school, Hassan had the opportunity to travel to  Kericho a tea growing area situated in the mid-south area of Kenya. He was used to few green shrubs but all else was brown. When he got to Kericho, his jaw dropped. He had never seen so much greenery stretching as far as his eyes could see. Everything was green and even rivers flowing with sparkling clean water. He was used to foul dam or borehole water and yet here, water flowed everywhere and was available for all to use. He was also shocked to see cows and goats being locked up with udders almost bursting with milk. The goats were also well fed and the fact that a goat could produce four litres of milk was too hard to comprehend. He took in the scenery before him and to Hassan, this was the heaven he had always heard of, from preachers. If it were his choice, he could just have made this place his home. The cold weather served to sooth his sun burnt skin and it felt like somebody was massaging his weather beaten skin. When they were through with the tour, it was time to return home but as they were leaving, he requested some tea seedlings to plant back at home. But there is one fact he overlooked; tea grows in high areas where it is relatively cold and requires enough rainfall conditions which were not available back at home. He was so excited and could not wait to share with friends and family back at home, his discovery.

When he arrived home, he selected a suitable area near his father’s house and prepared a small portion of land, applied manure and planted his seedlings. He was so eager to see his handiwork come to fruition that he kept checking on them everyday. Disappointments started setting in when they started withering and within no time, all of them had dried up. He was extremely heartbroken for his dream of replicating what he saw in Kericho had all dried up with the death of his plants. Luckily enough for him, one of the teachers in his school came from a tea growing area and explained to him what had caused the death of his plants. That’s when he realised his mistake. He had taken the right seedlings but planted them in wrong climatic conditions.

This may appear like just another fairy story but truth be told, most of us are in a similar position. Many of us  are doing things which are totally outside our area of gifting. We have fish attempting to live on trees, birds trying to do life in the ocean. We are attempting to do things for which we are not talented or gifted in. Many of us are in it for the financial gain and not to deliver on the results. Others are there just to fulfil societal or family expectations. Some are doing it because everybody else is doing it or because our friends are doing it. Imagine a born soldier in hospital treating patients or teaching in a kindergarten? I know we have soldiers who make good doctors but we have to agree on one thing; they were born doctors but trained as soldiers. A person who is gifted in music will always give better results compared to one who trained in music. A person who trains in what they are gifted in, produces excellence but one who trains in something they are not gifted in produces results.

Most countries especially in Africa are grappling with poor service delivery because  of wrong positioning of employees. You can’t plant tea at the coast, neither can you expect coconut to grow in the highlands. Every one of us has our area of gifting and we perform best when we are in that positioning. A ship is at its best when its deep in the ocean, an eagle will be at its best when it is high up in the skies. A Ferrari is fast but only in the racing circuit. The question all of us should ask ourselves is; could we be good quality seeds but planted in the wrong environment?  To read more posts by Mwangi, click HERE

Photo credit: standardmedia.co.ke

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