Father Ben Nieukey snapped this photo of Uncle Paul and me when we visited him on February 21 this year. It was taken outside his residence at the Little Sisters of the Poor in Lorong Batu Lanchang. He is one jovial figure who is always ready with a smile and some kind words. That is a calabash tree behind us with fruits growing on its trunk and branches. There were several such trees in and outside his compound which were fruiting plentifully.
Father Nieukey explained that the calabash tree (crescentia cujete) originated from South America. This tree can also be found in Central America and the West Indies. It can grow up to twenty five feet in height. The tree produces green coloured spherical fruits about twelve inches to sixteen inches in diameter. It has a woody shell and a pulpy inside. When dry it turns brownish and can be hollowed out to make receptacles, cups, bowls and ladles. Its pulp is believed to contain medicinal properties.