Some might pass it by thinking it is another ordinary fig tree, even though it has a commanding presence overlooking the renowned Ngorongoro Crater of Tanzania fame. But for the Ilkisongo Clan of the Maasai, this special tree has historically held spiritual significance.
In reverence it is called "Oreteti."
Oreteti is considered akin to a god and through time has been a place where older women have gone to pray and to make a wish for healing, for ending a drought or other adversity. To cement their wish they would leave a metal or beaded bracelet among the branches. Over the years their bangles have slowly become part of the tree, almost as if Oreteti is absorbing the misfortune to take any pain away.
As tradition continues all those who pass,
take a small handful of grass and place it at the base
and sit quietly for a moment as a sign of respect.
We too will honor tradition on our return trip to Tanzania. During our stay at Entamanu -- far away from the flurry of tourists -- we will have the opportunity amidst the stillness of Africa to walk to the shade of Oreteti.
For a moment in time perched high on the Ngorongoro Crater Rim
we will reflect on our good fortune of being where we are and make a wish...
* Thank you to Nomad Tanzania for providing the information for this story