The tree that saw it all is gone…..

The earth is resounding with a heavy thud that is literally and figuratively felt in PCC. 

 

Those who have been to PCC know the giant tree that sits in the middle of the Community and which provides a lot of shade for the children at the dining tables. During the one season the weaverbirds will build their beautiful nests in this tree and during the next (around Christmas time) heavy red flowers will fall with a dull thump from the tree onto the roof of the big summer hut.

 

It is a characteristic tree with majestic side branches, branches as big as trees, however, its wood isn’t hard wood. My father would have called it “fanning tree wood” which is Dutch for saying that its wood is of very inferior quality.

 

The tree was already there (but much smaller of course) when PCC was founded 25 years ago. It has seen all: everything that has been built and has happened here since 1992. Beneath its branches there has been dancing and playing, crying and laughing, walking and meeting and a lot of sitting and eating.

This tree belongs to PCC like a reindeer to Santa Claus.

 

But then…..

On Friday the 28th of July about noon a caregiver suddenly hears a loud crack of wood. He looks up and sees what looks like a huge branch slowly breaking off the tree.

Everybody is warned and I have to rapidly leave my office too because there is fear that this particular branch will crush our house and my office.

When everybody has been sent away, we cannot but watch what will happen next. After a few minutes the cracking becomes louder and louder and finally this majestic branch falls with a thundering noise on the Kofi Asare toilet, partly on the big summer hut and luckily only lightly on the roof of the adjacent houses.

 

A great shock, literally and figuratively speaking, ánd it proves to be only the first of many more to come. Various experts come to us to offer a helping hand and they all say the same thing: this is probably going to happen to all other big branches, that is the way it is with this kind of tree.

One doesn’t want to think of what will happen when one of these other giant branches falls on top of some of the children; this would surely be a complete and unforgivable disaster.

 

After many deliberations the conclusion is inevitable. With pain in our hearts we decide that all branches will have to come off one after another in a controlled way. The tree that saw it all will soon stop seeing whatever will happen in PCC in the future.

 

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The next day a special very powerful tractor is entering the compound to do the job, which is: pulling down the branches into a certain direction like it is also done with huge trees in the woods.

 

The first branches of the day are coming down with difficulty. Fortunately, the Arc of Noah and other buildings and the swimming pool are safe from damage.

However ….. these were the “easy” ones (all as big as individual trees), the most difficult branches, high up in the sky and partly swaying over our house and the summer hut, are still tightly sitting on the heavily maimed tree.

 

A few days later:

Our brave Obeng is climbing high up into the tree to secure the iron pulling chain firmly to the highest branch in order to minimize the risk of damage when the branches are falling down, which appears to be working miraculously for 2 of the giant branches!

But there still is one branch that is hovering over our house and the summer hut. This branch is kept in place while the trunk is being felled.

The enormous stem is swaying to all sides and everybody is holding their breath, but finally also the tree itself falls in the right direction.

The whole of PCC is trembling on its foundations; the tree that saw it all has been felled.

 

Unfortunately, the large summer hut is ruined after all when the last branch is torn off the main stem.

When you look into the direction of the centre of the Community you will see a pile of wreckage and a scene of utter desolation. It really hurts.

The tree that saw it all is gone.

 

PCC has to go on without this mighty and shady tree but ….. it is not the tree of life which has been felled. Life goes on, PCC is bravely moving forwards. We are going to work on a new and comfortable summer hut and a neat toilet building.

 

We are convinced that the tree thought it was time that PCC would go without its protection after 25 years. Since 1992 this tree has witnessed PCC maturing and developing into a strong and resilient Community. The way in which the rack and ruin is tidied up – fast and energetically – is exemplary for it!

 

The shock wave sent through the Community was great but it didn’t break its vitality.

Amen.