In March 2017, a number of mature trees were felled on the edge of City Park to make way for a new advertising board. The tree felling was illegal, the advertising board did not have planning permission. Thankfully, the illegality of the activity was pointed out by the then Karura Member of the County Assembly, Kamau Thuo. There was wide & outraged press coverage and the advertising board removed by City Hall. However the mature trees were lost for good. FoCP volunteer Moses, troubled by this story, took to his pen to imagine what the felling of the trees looked like from the perspective of the monkeys that live in the park. The creative writing piece below is the result! It reflects the Unique biodiversity of City Park.
As the sun disappeared into the horizon, a visibly tired Gogo sat at the highest point of the Mukinduri tree (Croton megalocarpus), contemplating his next move. He had lead his ZEZE monkey clan of 60 members earlier in the day, into securing a section of the territorial land at the City Park Forest from the rival Bongwasi Clan. To him, securing the additional tree spaces for his clan meant an increase in food supply, and the availability of homes for the ever expanding clan. This was his goal from the word go, having been brought up on the same tree.
As he reflected, he couldn’t help but notice the hooting noise emanating from the fast moving glass proof- metal sheets moving in lines along a black corrugated substance which seemed to extend as far as the eye could see. He always wondered why humans did not just walk instead of using the fume-producing moving metals. The noise and pollution bothered Gogo a lot as he constantly received complaints from his clan too. However, given that there was a plentiful food supply at the human market on which his clan had come to depend, he concluded it was best not to complain too much about the noise.
In his mind, Gogo was still hopeful of securing additional land in the nearby Karura Forest after he sent two of his best clan members on a spy mission. However, that was three days ago and he hadn’t heard from them since. As suspicion of defection or death kept playing in his mind, Gogo’s youngest son, Gaki interrupted his thoughts with his playful antics. With a warm embrace, Gogo grabbed his son and descended the tree where he was met by eager clan members, who couldn’t have been happier at the success of securing the additional territory. All barked & whooped in a frenzy of wild jubilation at the success.
Members returned to their respective tree homes, while some to their new found homeland next to the market. As soon as the last member was above ground, Gogo retired to the Mukinduri tree. No sooner had the quietness of the night began, then it was interrupted by what an attentive Gogo concluded was a group of humans approaching their neck of the woods. Gogo alerted the troop about the night foe, who immediately began evacuation procedures including carrying the young ones. This commotion was quickly amplified by a barrage of ugly, screaming machinery sounds. Trees started to fall, an ensuing melee resulted in the clan retreating to the borderline with the rival clan near the market.
The situation went on for a couple of hours as a helpless ZEZE clan, led by a tearful Gogo, watched as their homes came down in the middle of the night. For sure, Gogo had never witnessed such an invasion by humans and wondered what wrong they had done to humans. However, it was not until it was all over the following morning, that ripples of the previous night’s operation began to be felt not only from the ZEZE clan but across the entire animal kingdom. From swallow tail bird mothers desperately searching for young ones by squeaking, to lizards running in an endless cycle of confusion. As the ZEZE clan and other animals returned for a salvage mission, it was evident that their homes had been destroyed and replaced by a tall metal structure.
The trauma inflicted on Gogo was too much to bear and the embattled leader was forced to retreat alone to the banks of River Kibagare. Gogo reminisced of yet another similar operation to install metal structures within City Park by humans that occurred when he was about four months old resulting in him loosing his parents and siblings. That incident resulted in the Clan initially loosing the Market territory to the Bongwasi Clan before retaking it just a day earlier.
He had already sworn that such an occurrence would never be witnessed by any member of the ZEZE Clan and yet it happened.
As he painfully remembered, only two questions seemed to be ringing in his mind:
What did we do to Humans? What did we do to Humans?
What do I Do as the ZEZE Clan Leader?
-by Moses Kamaliki