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#16 - Kenyan Proverb: However Much It Rains On You, No Wild Banana Tree Will Grow on Your Head.
Reflections on the need to move on after getting rained on.
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In my part of the world, we’ve had more rain in the last three weeks than we’ve had, probably, in the last three years. It’s been a time of cleansing and assurance. It’s ushered in an era of growth that blankets everywhere around us in a stunning shade of green that we don’t get often. Beauty is all around us. Hope is in the air. Everywhere is clean and clear and beautiful and smells so fresh. The rains have stopped after we got just enough to water our thirsty earth and cool us all off.
A few hours away in another region of the state, the same rains left behind devastation and ruin. Some people’s realities have been altered by the loss of lives and uninsured properties. While we celebrate the cleansing impact of rain, they mourn the destruction the rains enveloped them in. We all live in the same state, had rains about the same time, but are left with vastly different outcomes. As often happens in our lives.
We all get rained on—the rains of health, wealth, friendships, and all kinds of opportunities. Good things on their own, devastating when they fall at the wrong time or in the wrong amount. Interestingly, we can get each of those things by our own power and means. Hence, we install sprinklers to water our plants. Get a job or business to get us money to meet our obligations. We network to connect with the right people. As great and as freeing as those measures are, we exult when we have them providentially rain on us. Sometimes, three hours of rain may release the equivalent of three months’ supply of water from our sprinklers. A serendipitous meeting of a friend may result in greater gains to our lives than from one that we stalk for connection. Rain comes from above, largely without our aid, and often for our gain. It is good to have, in moderation, and at the right time.
For those who are getting too much of that wondrous provision called rain in their lives, a Kenyan proverb offers some hope that “However much it rains on you, no wild banana tree will grow on your head.”
Rain in The Tropics
In parts of the world where the large drops of water that rain down on the earth is warm, it is common to see kids playing outside in the rain. They frolic in pouring ponds and gleefully splash water up in one another’s faces with their feet. As sheets of water fall on and around them, they raise their hands up in the air, gliding in joyous contentment as they get soaked through their clothing. I write from personal experience when I share that the frequent frolic in the rain is cleansing, therapeutic, and provides a golden opportunity to merge with nature. I have been soaked to the bones under the rain before, but I was able to dry up afterward and warm up with hot drinks. The rainwater rolled off, the cold got warmed out, and no plant thereafter sprouted on my body thereafter.
Bananas are among the most common fruits around the world and make their home in the tropics. The suckers easily latch on to the soil and can spread to vast plantations from just one banana plant. Of the more than 2,000 species of bananas in the world, the wild variety thrives in the jungle. Wild bananas grow rapidly and randomly and are packed with nutrients. They are also quite tasty and grow on their own and don’t need babysitting to sprout, thrive, or reproduce. They just need a lot of water and sunlight. However, rain or shine, these plants grow fast and proliferate more rapidly in the rainy season. Left undisturbed, wild bananas will grow to maturity and establish their progeny in as much space as they are allowed.
Rain On You
Using the agricultural reality of wild banana plants as an analogy for the vicissitudes of life, the Kenyan proverb reminds of the reality of rain in every human life. At one point or the other, life will rain on you. People will rain on you. Circumstances will unleash fierce storms that will pour in torrents of rain on you physically, emotionally, and in any other way. Your head as an open receptacle of sunlight may have been rained on. But the Kenyan elders would like you to know that however much it rains on you, no wild banana tree will grow on your head.
Whatever the nature of rain that fell on you, and however much it rained on you, the most that can happen in the aftermath is that you will get wet and cold. The experience can be uncomfortable but if taken care of promptly and appropriately, you can move on from cold shivers to more pleasant times.
Got Rained On?
If you recently got rained on, the rain has, no doubt, left its residue—wetness and cold—on you. The proverb hints at the need for you to take urgent action to manage its aftermath, not get frightened by a fanciful possibility such as bananas growing on you. Wild bananas may be among the fastest and wildest-growing plants in the tropics, but not a single one can germinate on the human hair or head.
So, draw strength from the fact that the uncomfortable and threatening rainwater that fell on you will glide off. Take courage from the fact that you can dry off and warm up. But do not waste a single breath or concern on the fear that rain on you can cause a wild plant to grow on your head. Look around you. Whatever situation or fear is as common and pervasive around you as are wild banana trees growing in the tropical jungle, do not entertain the fear that it can sprout on your head. Conserve your energy. Dry off. Warm up. Look for the rainbow in the clouds. It will get better.
Have you been rained on? Are you cold and wet from the rain’s residue of tiredness, illness, financial shortages, or whatever other setbacks that’s left you wet and shivering? Drop a line in the comments section so the rest of us can see how we may be able to help dry you off or warm you up.
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