Adult and baby elephants walk in Amboseli National Park in southern Kenya. The highest mountain in Africa, Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro, is in the background. (AP/Ben Curtis)

Adult and baby elephants walk in Amboseli National Park in southern Kenya. The highest mountain in Africa, Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro, is in the background. (AP/Ben Curtis)

Maasai women gather to watch Maasai morans, or warriors, take part in a ceremony near Kajiado, Kenya. (AP)

Maasai women gather to watch Maasai morans, or warriors, take part in a ceremony near Kajiado, Kenya. (AP)

Maasai men and women wait in line to vote in Lele, Kenya. (AP/Jerome Delay)

Maasai men and women wait in line to vote in Lele, Kenya. (AP/Jerome Delay)

A tourist admires elephants as they drink from an open water point at a lodge inside the Taita Hills Game Sanctuary. Elephants normally drink water here during the dry season. (AP)

A tourist admires elephants as they drink from an open water point at a lodge inside the Taita Hills Game Sanctuary. Elephants normally drink water here during the dry season. (AP)

A lion walks away while tourists take pictures in the Maasai Mara National Park in Kenya. (AP/Riccardo Gangale)

A lion walks away while tourists take pictures in the Maasai Mara National Park in Kenya. (AP/Riccardo Gangale)

Old Friends . . . and Foes

Posted: May 1, 2021

A poor man takes a long journey and arrives at a mansion. He asks the rich man who lives there, “What is the secret to getting wealth?” The rich man gives the poor man ointment. “Rub this on your wife’s teeth,” he says. At home, the poor man does as the rich man advised. To his amazement, his wife grows ivory tusks! Her husband removes the tusks and sells them. But the next time his wife grows tusks because of the ointment, she won’t let him saw them off. Instead, she turns into an animal—the very first elephant.

That legend comes from a Kenyan tribe. Elephants have been part of African culture, landscape, and storytelling for thousands of years. The Maasai people of Kenya and northern Tanzania have shared land with the elephants for centuries. In that people’s tradition, elephants are even worshipped as gods because of their loud voices and huge size.

Elephants are not gods, of course. They also didn’t come from tooth ointment! But elephants do show the strength and wisdom of their Creator, the one true God. They have value just because He made them. Elephants also have worth in Kenyan heritage. Heritage is what one generation hands down to the next.

Look for Kenya on the map. God has placed this land in a warm region that can grow avocados in abundance. Kenyans have the chance to prosper from avocado farming right now. That’s a mercy from God.

Kenyan leaders face some difficult questions. How can they care for people best? How can they support elephants as well as avocados? People make money from elephants traveling on the corridor. Tourists come from all over the world to see them, and tourist money keeps Kenyan businesses going. But there’s no denying that people make money from avocados too.

Kenyans and elephants are old friends . . . and old foes. Can they live together in peace—even with avocados in the mix?