On 11th July, 2015, I and my friend, Mary, set out for a tree planting activity at Oloolua Forest in Ngong, Kajiado County, Kenya. The event was organised by Green Fun Initiative – Trees Please partnering with Environmental Journalist Society of Kenya.
Tree planting is a very common activity in this country and in most cases you expect to go to a place/ virgin land/ deforested land and just plant trees where holes have already been dug for you and the water is nearby…right. Well, that’s what Mary and I thought and expected. When the organiser showed up, she had a slasher, hoe and spade in hand; quite eerie and unanticipated. Seemingly, we were to dig our own holes and cut the weeds such as Lantana camara around us, plant the tree and water afterwards. Expect the unexpected, as said, so I did not fret or complain especially considering we were about 20 young people with 100 trees to plant. Life becomes more fun that way.
This tree planting initiative reminded me of the fact the people go for tree planting events, plant trees, create a whole ceremony over it and never take that much into account over what will happen after they leave the place and go on with their daily lives.
I have been to many tree planting activity, so I’m very aware of the feeling. Will the trees grow? Will they survive harsh conditions without water? Who will water them regularly? If I were to come back, will I know which trees I planted?
Well for me, this is a step ahead shifting from tree planting to tree growing. I grew several trees on that day and I got to know the community members and especially the honorable part that Mary,
my very good friend, is part of the local community, so whether the trees will survive, if I don’t get to visit the place again, is something I’m assured of. 🙂
“Until you dig a whole, you plant a tree, you water it and make it survive, you haven’t done a thing. You are just talking.” Wangari Maathai
I was exhausted after the activity, but I could do this again in a heartbeat, even plant more than 100 trees. It is possible when you have the drive, the spirit and a passion for what you are doing.
Let us all Grow trees, not only in any set event but also in our homes, backyards and communities we leave in. Let us not forget to plant indigenous and local trees.