Makema, the little girl, could not wait for her birthday. This year she was going to have a big party and invite all her friends from school. At school she told all her friends about her big party and that her mom was going to buy her a beautiful doll from town.

All her friends could not wait to see Makema’s beautiful doll and play with it. Each day that passed Makema made a cross on the calendar until she finally reached the red big circle on the calendar.

“Yay!” She screamed, “Today is my big day. I can’t wait to see my beautiful doll and play with my friends.”

Mom and dad were already outside decorating the garden with pink and white balloons, Makema’s favourite colours. The garden looked like a pink fairy-tale. In the kitchen Gogo was busy baking sweet treats for Makema and her friends. Gogo carefully removed the carrot cake and put it on a tray.

Makema beamed with excitement when she saw her birthday cake.

“Go on and get dressed, I sowed you a beautiful dress fit for an African princess, it is on the bed,” her Gogo said.

Makema ran and gave her Gogo a big, wet kiss and ran to her room to put on her beautiful dress.

All of Makema’s friends were in the garden and could not wait to see Makema’s beautiful doll. Her friends were so happy to see the birthday girl. They cheered on as she approached the table and sat down. Makema’s friends and family started singing ‘happy birthday Makema’. She blew all her nine candles and secretly wished her friends to always come play with her and her beautiful doll.

“Present time!” they all shouted.

Mom told Makema to close her eyes as she placed her gift in the little girl’s hands. It was rather small, Makema thought, as she opened her big brown eyes. It was a small bright green seed.

How can mom embarrass me like this, especially in front of all my friends? Her cheeks felt hot and turned orange like the charcoal burning in the fire as granddad barbecued the chicken. Mom could see the disappointment in little Makema’s face and pulled her aside.

“Makema, today is your big day. Why do you look sad?”

“Mom I told all my friends that you were going to buy me the beautiful doll from town,” the little girl burst out crying.

“Makema, I never promised to buy you the beautiful doll from town,” her mom said. “Makema, you know it’s wrong to tell a lie. My little girl trust me, you are going to love this gift, this is no ordinary seed, but a super seed. Trees play an important role in our lives. Trees provide us with fruits in the summer and shade on hot sunny days, fresh air to breathe and beautiful flowers during spring. Plant this seed and you will never regret it.”

Later that evening Makema was so upset that she did not join her family for dinner. Her mom came to check on the little girl but she pretended to be fast asleep. She must be tired from all the partying today, her mom thought as she kissed her goodnight and left the room.

Makema opened her eyes as soon as her mom left the room and threw the stupid seed out of the window.

“This is the worst day of my life, all thanks to my mom. Now all my friends will laugh at me and call me a big fat liar at school,” she said.

The next morning Makema opened her window and to her surprise she saw the biggest tree she had ever seen in her life, in their garden.

She ran downstairs and shouted, “Mom, there is a huge tree in our garden!”

Her mom told Makema to calm down and breathe. She told her that it was a baobab tree.

“Makema, I told you that the little super seed was no ordinary seed.”

“Wow mom it’s a beautiful tree, I love it and I am sorry for not being grateful for what you gave me. I am sorry I lied to all my friends,” she sighed.

“I forgave you a long time ago my baby girl, but you need to apologise to your friends too,” her mom said.

The baobab tree made Makema so popular that people came from afar just to see the tree. Makema’s dad carved a special entrance in the tree enough for 10 people to fit in.

One day Makema invited her friends and mother inside the tree.

“I want to start by apologising for lying to all my friends and for lying about the doll,” said Makema. This is the best gift ever and all my friends come to play with me every day and to see the wonderful tree, she thought.

“Mom I love you and I thank you for this gift,” said Makema. “I now see why it’s called Mother Nature. Trees take care of us and if Mama was a tree, she would be a baobab tree, strong, big and wide enough to love all my friends. Mama would provide shade in the summer, fresh air to breathe and fruits to eat. Mama would take care of us just like Mother Nature.”


Tell us: Have you ever gotten the “wrong” birthday present that you didn’t want? What did you do?