"Signs of an Igbo Compound: Embracing Nature in Igbo Culture | #NwokeukwuMascot
When you step into the compound of an Igbo man, the first thing you'll notice is the lush presence of trees. These trees, such as Ube(Dacryodes edulis), depicted in the accompanying image, are a defining feature of Igbo homes. In addition to Ube, you'll find Mango, Oranges, Avocado Pears, Palm Trees, and Coconut palms gracing the landscape.
If you approach Igboland from the West, these trees, particularly Mango and Ube, act as welcoming heralds that signify your arrival in the heart of Igbo culture. Even amidst the complexities of identity, the Ube tree remains a distinctive marker, separating the compound of an Ika man from that of an Edo, well before names are exchanged.
Ube, aside from being a delicious treat when paired with oka during the rainy season, also holds a unifying role within Igbo families, drawing everyone to the uko or kitchen. Its leaves and fruit offer medicinal properties for skin treatment and other uses.
The layout of Igbo villages is carefully designed to harness the benefits of nature. Trees are strategically planted in Igbo compounds for sustenance, wind protection, and shade from the sun. Many of these trees hold a revered status, not just within Igbo culture but worldwide.
However, a concerning trend has emerged among the younger generation of Igbo people. Fueled by ignorance and misconceptions, some are turning against these economically valuable trees. They uproot and destroy these trees, replacing them with ornamental flowers out of a misguided sense of inferiority, as these foreign flowers are commonly found in the US and Europe.
Ironically, these same people who remove the trees often find themselves buying the very products they discarded, only to lament the exorbitant prices and lackluster quality.
It's worth noting that the light skin common among Igbos partially results from the natural protection provided by the Igbo landscape and homes against harmful UV light rays.
Choosing to have Ube and other native trees in your home is a wise decision, in stark contrast to replacing them with diminutive foreign flowers.".