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mid-week Connect: 5/30/24 ~ Trees across cultures - Le Vieux

Greetings and Happy Midweek,

Today, I’d like to begin to explore the topic of trees across cultures. Since we could go in many directions with this, let’s focus this week on one tree in particular, with a vastly rich cultural heritage. We’ll start with an introduction to this tree, as part of the PROfile component of our Global SKILLs PROACTive Framework.

The tree is the baobab and it is my favorite tree in West Africa. They grow in odd looking “forests” scattered across the savannah. It is said they look like they were planted upside down, with their stocky trunk and branches resembling roots sticking into the air - especially during dry season when they drop all their leaves. Not infrequently one or two are also found in the center of a village, since the village grew up around the baobab. There are also not a few ancient ones still growing right in the middle of towns and cities - because those trees predate the city!  


Socially, baobabs are woven into the fabric of daily life. People gather to sit in the baobab’s shade - socializing, selling their wares, or just resting from the hot sun. Practically, they have multiple uses, from providing food to materials for shelter. Their products are available in markets across the continent, and are starting to be sold in the west as well. Baobab flour, for example, is valued because it is high in nutrition and has a unique taste.

Baobabs are also revered in many other ways across cultures, including being embraced as the Tree of Life and the Tree of Peace. Known also for their longevity, they are venerated as “Elders”.  I attended a funeral once of a dear friend in Dakar, and, after likening him to a baobab for all the ways he had served his fellow man during his long life, it was solemnly stated “Le Vieux est tombé.” / “The Elder has fallen”. 

Le Vieux” - I love that image. Having personally sat in their shade and admired them in all stages of their growth and partaken of their products - I do ‘feel’, along with all those who live where baobabs grow, affinity to this cultural Elder. When we connect at that level - it’s a very special thing.

How about you ~ what is your favorite tree and one cultural way you feel connected with it?

Share about that with a friend or note it here. 

And check out the Global SKILLs LINKs below for more on baobabs. 

Thanks for being part of this Connect community.

Until next week, Betsy


~ other Trees of Life around the world: 


Related Connects

(you can find these by using this link:

[*] Through my business Global SKILLs and several partner subsidiaries I offer unique cross-cultural consulting and training including:

3 Dimensional Dynamics Model: 

1st dimension = HOME ; 2nd dimension = HOST ; 3rd dimension = HARBOR 

PROACTive Framework:  ,                                                                                              

PRO = PROfile (which we explored this week), PROcess, PROgram

ACT = Applications, Collaborations and Transformations

2024 ~  Celebrating 40+ years of working in 

intercultural communications and global community building

“It takes a community to build a community”

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