The Chinese Bamboo Lesson

The history of Chinese bamboo is very interesting and can also be applied to the Territorial Development of Communities.

Once planted, Chinese bamboo seed spends the first 5 years growing and strengthening below ground, only a small bud is visible. During that time, a complex root structure, which extends vertically and horizontally across the earth, is being built. So you see, it looks like there is nothing, so by the end of the fifth year, Chinese bamboo grows up to a height of 25 meters!

In addition to having a good foundation, bamboo is an extremely flexible and versatile plant that can be used for a variety of purposes, from paper production to construction, both in earthquake-proof buildings and in artisan and ecological houses, as well as the production of musical instruments, furniture, decorative articles, instruments for the practice of therapeutic massage (bambuterapia) and even foods such as the edible bamboo shoot.

All this versatility is only possible due to important features of this plant: for its resilience, flexibility and strength. Another important aspect to be analyzed in bamboo is that they are always grouped, so they are more resistant and therefore less vulnerable to the adversities of nature. Staying together is a good survival policy! Bamboo is also full of us. It is these nodes that give the bamboo the strength to stand because it is hollow and the knots are the point of strength and endurance of the plant. But they do not take away their flexibility.

“Many things in personal and professional life are the same as Chinese bamboo. You work, invest time, effort, do everything you can to nurture your growth, and sometimes you do not see anything for weeks, months, or years. But if you have the patience to continue working, persisting and nurturing, your fifth year will come and with it will come growth and change that you never expected … ” (Writer Covey)

Such is the territorial development of communities; in the early years there is a lot of articulation work, formation of cooperation and work networks, formation of a sense of community, understanding of local needs, drawing of the dream for the territory and a series of activities that are “invisible” to those who see outside are crucial for strengthening relationships, understanding common goals, empowering residents, knowledge of rights and potential, knowledge of local assets, understanding how each can contribute to planned development. This process requires flexibility to bend whenever necessary, adapt to new situations, try something new or try something challenging and a lot of strength and persistence to continue … it is an internal network of relationships and plans that give a solid foundation for community develops with more autonomy, speed, in a more planned way and generating greater impact when all this work that has been sown can grow and develop in a cooperative and consistent way!

The history of Chinese bamboo shows us that, just as in the development of communities:

  • Our growth and maturity may take a while to become visible to the world;
  • We need a good foundation to fully develop ourselves;
  • A fragile appearance does not mean a lack of resistance;
  • We must be firm in our purposes;
  • United we are stronger in adversity;
  • Our brands transform and strengthen us;
  • Although we live in society our development is individual;
  • We need to value our seeds!

“Remember that it takes a lot of daring to get to the heights and, at the same time, too much depth to cling to the ground.”

(unknown author)