Tiva turns 21 today! Anyone whom has ever watched a child grow up understands the immense pride you can have for your child, even someone else’s child. Tiva and her sisters have brought me overwhelming pride and joy every moment of their existence.
This story is 100% true, nothing elaborated on and all because of Tiva’s eminent enlightenment at the age of two.
At the time we were living in Washington State as I had the children there and then would come back to Kenya later. I had just had Rian in January of ‘91 she was about 6 months old at the time of this story and Tiva was 2 years old. We lived on a small plot with a huge forest for our back yard which we did not own. Tiva loved the forest and often I would find her sitting by the fence looking at the trees and the small wildlife playing. She would play around the trees in our yard and hug them.
It was early morning and I had been up for a while cleaning and feeding Tiva and Rian. Tiva was watching her little sister in her bounce chair and talking to her as big sisters do. I had stepped in to another room to make a bed when I heard Tiva start Screaming “NO, BAD MAN, NO, GOD BE SO MAD AT YOU!” I came running in to the kitchen to see Tiva banging on the sliding glass door and overwhelmed with grief and anger. Tiva just kept saying the same words over and over. I ran over to her and picked her up and asked her “Tiva, what is wrong? What man honey?” She pointed with her little finger to the forest. That is when it struck me, she saw a tractor and heard the chainsaws. I too had heard them but, to be honest, I just said a prayer for the forest and left it at that.
Tiva had tears rolling down her Cherub face and just kept repeating “NO, BAD MAN, NO, GOD BE SO MAD AT YOU.” I sat her down on my lap and tried to explain that these men were just doing their jobs to feed their own families and that I was sure they didn’t understand they are hurting anyone who loves the trees. Tiva would not have any of it. I set Tiva back down on the floor and she ran back to the sliding glass door and started screaming at them again. The tractor was up and running and the chainsaw was in full force, you could now hear tree’s falling and Tiva was furious.
I called my Mom at this point in time as Tiva was inconsolable and explained what was going on. My Mom said, strangely, to videotape her so she could see it later and talk to her. I did this for a short while for my Mom and then turned it off and went back to Tiva. I picked her up and picked up Rian who was now crying in her little bounce carry thingy and walked to the sliding glass door and opened it. The noise of everything going on in the forest hit us all with a huge force of sound. I set Rian down where I could keep my eye on her and I looked at Tiva and I said, “Tiva, lets see if we can talk to the men in the forest, ok?” Tiva nodded and continued her chat, “Bad men, god be so mad at you.”
We got to the fence and I waved at the man closest to us and he walked over to us. I introduced him to Tiva and introduced myself. I proceeded to explain that Tiva was very upset about the forest being cut and I had hoped he would have a minute to talk to her to help her understand what his job was. He smiled and started to talk to Tiva with kindness and said, “Tiva, I cut the tree’s so good people like you have a house to live in and chairs to sit on,” and then he smiled. Tiva was having none of it, she put her little finger up and said “ You are a bad man, God be so mad at you, STOP.” I looked at Tiva and then the man and I asked, “Is there anything we can do?” He amazingly said, “Well, this is strange but it just so happens the man who owns this forest is here today and I can get him for you if you would like?” I said, “Yes, please.” Tiva and I waited as we watched the logger go get the Owner. When they were walking towards us I could see the owner was of Oriental decent and was listening to what the logger was telling him.
They approached the fence line where Tiva and I were, the Owner politely smiled and gave a small bow to Tiva and introduced himself. Tiva looked at him and said “Hi, YOU BAD MAN, AND GOD BE SO MAD AT YOU, TREES’ MY FRIENDS.” The owner was a bit taken aback, not by a two year old raising her voice at him, but at the conviction in her voice. I explained that Tiva would play in this forest and she loved it. I was polite and asked if there was anything he could do.
The owner stepped backed and started talking to his logger (site manager) and the logger started to get a bit worked up and then the owner turned and bowed to Tiva and said he was so sorry and hopes this is ok. I looked at him a bit perplexed? Is what ok? The logger turned at me and said, “Well you wont believe this, but he has ordered me not to cut any of the trees along the fence line and three inward. These are the biggest trees and he will lose a lot of money. I tried to change his mind, but he refused and said we must honour Tiva’s wishes.” The logger was dumfounded and I couldn’t believe it either, I was stunned, I had never heard of anyone stopping a clear cut and losing money, let alone doing it for a child.
I am sure there was a tremble in my voice as the tears welled up and I thanked them both immensely and did a small bow back to the owner. I turned and was walking away with Tiva, I was proud of Tiva for speaking up and speaking her truth, I was so proud of the Owner for listening and caring enough to do something.
As Tiva and I were walking away I explained to Tiva what she had just done, she had saved a huge part of a forest. She looked at me and said “Save all trees?” I said, “Not all of them, but a lot of them.” She looked at me and said “GOD BE SO MAD.” We sat down on the ground next to Rian and I held Tiva and I told her, “Tiva I am proud of you for what you did today. And I am sorry we didn’t save all the tree’s, but you saved some and that is HUGE.” She leaned over to Rian and put her head in Rian’s lap and hugged her, then kissed her forehead and then Tiva looked up at me and said, “Thank you mummy.” To which I replied “For what?” and her sweet response was, “ You listened.”
Well that did it. I was emotionally gone, tears were just pouring down my face and I grabbed her up and held her. Then I stood up, took Rian while holding Tiva’s hand and we walked inside together.
When people heard this story and saw the video they were so moved they too started listening to their children more, knowing their children too could make a difference. They even went as far as to start a foundation called “Kids 4 Earth”, which is now part of the United Nations global 500. http://www.kids4earth.org/index.html click on “Tiva’s Sacred Grove”
From the mouths of babes, God Bless them all.
From one proud Mummy.