by Ann Christine Tabaka
Morning tea, brewed with memories of a place I have been.
I can taste the shade and mountain breeze. Delicate upon
the tongue, flavors of earth and sun combine. The bright
aroma of cool rain fills my cup, as I sip the rich amber liquid.
A splash of milk, as tradition proclaims. On the air, chanting
of a time, long past. Impressions of wildlife, and lazy afternoons
under an acacia tree flash through my mind. Friendly banter
with native people, the exchange of a gift of new words. A
land of beauty and mystery that lives forever in my morning
ritual, holding warmth within my hands.
Tea time in Kenya.
Previously published in Gideon Poetry Review, July 2019
PHOTO: A tea plantation near Kericho in the Kenyan highlands. Photo by Bjørn Christian Tørrissen, used by permission.
NOTE: Kericho is located in the highlands west of the Kenyan Rift Valley in the Republic of Kenya, Africa. Situated on the edge of the Mau Forest, Kericho has a warm and temperate climate, making it an ideal location for agriculture and, in particular, the large-scale cultivation of tea. The town is strategically located along Kenya’s western tourism circuit with access to Lake Victoria, the Maasai Mara National Reserve, and Ruma National Park. As of the 1999 census, the town has a population of 150,000. Kericho is the hometown of the Kipsigis, who are part of the Kalenjin people.
Kericho Gold is a premium tea brand in Kenya. Launched in 2002, it is a brand of Gold Crown Beverages (K) Ltd, a subsidiary of Global Tea & Commodities (K) Ltd, one of the largest exporters of Black Tea in Kenya. Blends range from Black Teas, Green Teas, Fruit and Herb Infusions.
NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: In 2018 my adult son and I embarked on a safari tour of Kenya. I do not usually travel much, and almost never fly, so it was the adventure of a lifetime. The local nature center sponsored the trip, so everything was arranged. It was a special time together with my son, but also an amazing experience. I ended up writing four poems about the county. This is one of them. The tea and coffee grown in Kenya is so delightful, that I brought some home with me, and still continue to order it today.
PHOTO: The author, second from right in van, with fellow travelers and guides during her 2018 tour of Kenya.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ann Christine Tabaka was nominated for the 2017 Pushcart Prize in Poetry. She is the winner of Spillwords Press 2020 Publication of the Year, and her bio is featured in the “Who’s Who of Emerging Writers 2020,” published by Sweetycat Press. Internationally published, she has won poetry awards from numerous publications. Her work has been translated into Sequoyah-Cherokee Syllabics and into Spanish. She is the author of 12 poetry books and has recently been published in several micro-fiction anthologies and short story publications. A resident of Delaware, where she lives with her husband and four cats, she loves gardening and cooking. Her most recent credits are The American Writers Review; The Phoenix; Burningword Literary Journal; Muddy River Poetry Review; The Write Connection; The Scribe, North of Oxford, Pomona Valley Review, Page & Spine, West Texas Literary Review, The Hungry Chimera, Sheila-Na-Gig, Foliate Oak Review, The Stray Branch, The McKinley Review, and Fourth & Sycamore. Visit her at annchristinetabaka.com and on her Amazon author’s page.