“Good morning!” I called across the water. “I came by to see how much water is in the water hole.”
“Good morning!” they replied. And then the woman said, “I’m getting water to water my trees!”
Pause a second: I wish you knew how revolutionary a statement that just was.
It made me do an auditory double-take. Ten years ago, you never would have heard that—even two years ago, it would have been a rare chance indeed.
When Manis first came to live on the Plateau in 2005, everyone told him he was crazy for planting trees:
“They are all going to die! You are only wasting your time and energy!”
In the beginning, one woman (one of our first employees on the Plateau) would go on her donkey and bring back the little water it could carry to keep alive the small saplings…
Twelve years of blood, sweat, tears and a lot of prayer later, Lemuel is an oasis in a desolate land.
After more than a decade of setting the example, proving the results, and involving and training our staff in the efforts to reforest our area, we are this year requiring all our employees to each plant at least one tree at their home. With the recent rains, many of them have set to it with a will, diligently planting saplings and building cages to protect the trees from animals. (The woman who spoke with me is the mother of one of our employees.)
But this took time and the willingness to set the example first. Now that they have seen it, people are starting to understand. They are even starting to come on their own donkeys to the water hole to load up water to carry home and give to the trees they have now planted in their own yards.