Toxic Beautification

The black man’s arrow can easily be equated with the white man’s gun. Both have been designed for the purposes of eliminating an enemy or even for the purposes of hunting and defending oneself. While the white man’s gun is as a result of technological advancement, the black man’s arrow is as a result of his ingenuity through the use of locally available resources.

The principle behind the effectiveness of the black man’s arrow is a tree species by the name of Acokanthera Schimperi, otherwise known as the Poison Tree. This tree is a dense round evergreen shrub or spreading sparsely branched tree up to 7 m high.  It usually grows in bushland on rocky hillsides, especially on red or black rocky soils; common in dry highland forests and bushed grasslands. This is a poisonus tree species whose poison is extracted and applied on the tip of an arrow, making them deadly when used. The Kipsigis call it Kelyot, the Maasai call it ilmorijoi, while the Ameru call it mururu.

Interestingly, it is this same tree that has been utilized in Nairobi and its environs for the purposes of beautifying the city. However, this tree species has some of its known benefits such as its edible fruits. They are sweet with a slightly bitter taste, but should only be eaten when ripe. Otherwise the whole plant is poisonous. Birds have been known to drop dead on sucking nectar from the flowers.

In the occurrence of an accident, it is advised that you squeeze out and suck contaminated blood from the point of entry immediately. The person doing this should not have sores in his mouth.

It is therefore imperative that types of tree species and their appropriateness be taken into consideration when beautifying this city under the sun, and its infrastructure.


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