The Warka tree or Ficus Vasta is a native to Ethiopia and is a kind of a wild fig tree.
It’s a big tree that can get up to 75 feet in height and up to 60 feet in diameter in its trunk.
It has big leaves and its edible fruit is eaten during normal times but also during periods of scarcity when it’s an important food source for survival.
Not only people benefit from its fruit, but also wild animals like monkeys, birds and domestic animals too. The fruit can be eaten directly from the plant of after drying.
This tree can be found near rivers and into the savannah in Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, and even in Uganda and Tanzania. Since this species hasn’t been domesticated, its disappearing slowly from the Ethiopian landscape because of its use as firewood. These trees are a very important part of the ecosystem and culture of Ethiopia and its disappearance seems unavoidable.
These huge trees not only provide food to humans and animals when they need it most, but their root system holds the soil in place and prevents erosion. Their shade is preferred by the people of villages to protect themselves from the sun during traditional public gatherings.
It is considered sacred by the Islamic cultures of the Wollo region and as a place for ritual praying and the wodajas, traditional ceremonies where the members of a community gather to pray, for example, for the crops to grow healthy or for rain during draught periods.
Here I left you something very beautiful that I found:
"We Oromos are farmers. Our livelihood is based on water, and, hence, we believe
in wet things. The farmers’ crops and cattle depend on wetness. Once a year,
the first Sunday after Meskel, we go to this warka tree by Lake Hora. We pray to
God as follows:
Dear God our creator
You made us pass the night peacefully
May you also make us pass the day peacefully
Save us from the kicks of horses
And the eyes of wicked people
Please listen to what we are begging from you
Oh God, the creator of land, mountain and the Warka tree
Make a good rain for us
Make our land wet for us
Like this straw we are carrying in our hands
Since these are your creations too
Make the rain come down in peace
Please don’t give us bad things with the rain
Like the pests and the hail and lightening"