Going to the garden is always an African thing, nurturing a child till full maturity was always a woman’s duty in the same society. If a child is intelligent, the intelligence is attributed to the man’s gene but though something not justifiable.
Together with my family, we ought to make a difference; reasoning beyond the African way and becoming that kind of person we would wish to be. This line was drawn when a talent in me was discovered by yet a special being.
I grew up in a town devastated by then, torn apart by war. Geographically we were described as semi-arid, but why? I felt less contented because it seemed to me geography wasn’t fair enough. Many of our people planted trees for commercial gains, boundary demarcations and for its aesthetic value (beauty). I sowed mine because I had wanted people to have a fruit to feed on during my presence and absence; from planting papaya, jackfruit, avocado, oranges and mangos. Little did I know my ideas were embedded towards achieving sustainability.
A transition from high school to college was a turning point to me, seemingly real at its core. Being part of the agricultural class equipped me with the basic skills of constructing a nursery bed, soil sampling, planting a seed and nursing it till maturity. Often students tend to look low at those who strive to make a difference, this a culture cultivated on a poor mindset attributed to ignorance among our youth for which case I never wanted to be associated to them. Together with club members (Wildlife club), we planted a few seedlings within the college but also nurtured it routinely.
Should I sit down and lay low, assume that I am done? No! It’s not enough I still had a lot awaiting me as I transcended about with my education. University contributed to my broader and wider understanding of what I was to do through my field of specialization as an Environmental Scientist, how should I explained this? I studied several course units and engaged myself in various environmental activities.
FACING THE CALL
In my second year at the University, a colleague approached me to help in a Tree Planting campaign: we decided it be called The Green Revolution. This would involve me being the project coordinator, for which we managed to procure and plant 1000 tree seedlings but the project though I dedicated my time faced hurdles from hungry individuals who were interested in the money but not actually the project. As a student of Environmental science, I knew the importance of this project. A secret best known to the environmentalists.
It’s unfortunate that, I stood alone in this project while others used my ignorance for their own selfish gain, but something unseen was cooking.
A year later, we decided to broaden our scoop, concept and bring more team players from all disciplines to ease and create a source of ownership among the students. An idea a thousand times greater than the previous one! This gave birth to 93.1 Go Green Tree Planting Campaign
The difference with the Go Green campaign was that, it would cover several regions of Uganda, include all local communities plus stakeholders and 1,000,000 tree seedlings was to be planted.
Though I was a co-initiator, like the little saying from Wangari Maathai as I quote “My little thing is planting a tree“, I felt everyone had a role to play and the communities would benefit directly from the project unlike previously was so low.
Together with my colleagues, we constructed a nursery bed, broadcasted on air and called for support. While some of us had to move and lobby for support from several lead agencies who would wish to be part of this movement.
Many came on board with promising support to the project while the local communities also helped in bringing seedlings and allocate land where a seedling would be raised.
As I conclude, going green is something that grows naturally in an individual demonstrated by the art of love for nature.
Blogpost and photos submitted by Ismail Hassan (Uganda) – ismailha1(at)gmail.com
The content, structure and grammar is at the discretion of the author only.
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