One Million Trees

This article was written by Robinah Tie, a student in one of the Universities in Uganda, who describes the firsthand story of Kato Saul’s adventure. He intended to show all the readers of his book the good intentions of Hands of Action and particularly those who have never gone to the Eastern parts of Uganda. He very much appreciated the climate, climatic changes, people’s way of life, relief and the hospitality of the Eastern dwellers.

One Million Trees

The One Million Trees Planting Mission was established by Hands of Action Uganda and supported by Captain Planet Foundation from the U.S.A.  It has carried out one launch so far and expects to carry out so many launches to spread the gospel of Environmental Conservation both theoretically and practically throughout Uganda. In its mission sometime back, I was trusted by the Executive Director for the task of video shooting and editing later. But since the Pearl has the capacity to attract foreigners from the well–to-do countries and after paying dollars and pounds, it attracted me in the same way having stepped in the Eastern Region. Realistically, the mission turned to be an adventure and an important lesson.

Traveling to Mbale

As a video shooter, I was happy about the U.S.A’s Captain Planet Foundation through the Hands of Action Uganda because of preserving the environment of Uganda particularly in the East.  My eyes were refreshed by the nature. There was precious Owen Falls Dam, Bujagali Falls at a distance and the sites of the Hydro-Electricity generation that we use 24/7 and all being in Jinja District. Smoothly we continued with our journey up to Mbale Town.

We had left the Capital late, and though I felt like sleeping on the way, my colleague insisted on continuing with the journey. I even proposed that we could get a room somewhere in town and he finally bought my idea. At that time my body was entirely tired and his acceptance made joy knock my heart. We went to a certain Hotel and this was “Amazing Eldima”. This was so surprising and I believe if any one steps there, laughter may occupy his/her lips because of it’s constructional setup. The reception location unpredicted, we got food from another Restaurant instead and move back to Eldima. Surprising meals at our tables, this was Kamatoole, Maleewa and Obusuuma.

Uganda shall always remain the Pearl!!

I observed the climatic changes in [Eastern Uganda] that my eyes had never seen. This is throughout the year. Can you believe that the coldness is too much in the morning to be contained by the Central dwellers, that rain can be received in a particular area and neglect the next as you observe all these with your eyes? What an exceptional region!!! You will never believe that morning shower cannot be successful to someone new in the region unless he/she is adapted to the conditions. Realistically, it took me a full hour to pour a drop of water on my body because of the extreme coldness.

Finally at 8:00 am, we left for Bududa – a newly created district – and so famous for its constant landslides. This is so because it is so mountainous, nothing gentle and low-lying can be found. I observed the beautiful “Wanaale”. This is the big raised mountain that stands in front of the travelers as they move close to Bududa. As its effect, we opted for the short-cut to our final destination.

As a district with sub-counties, the above mountain is located in “Busaano” sub-county and behind the mountain, the sub-county town and the Bamasaba King entitled “Omukuuka” are found. Here I got a chance to take a glance at Him although it was a distant glance. But, the fact remains that I got History as well as the story for you. The Omukuuka and His subjects looked to be hard- but the land seems is leading them down as it looks to be unproductive. These people grow coffee, beans, cassava, banana and millet. Though there are much suffering from food insecurity.

Around the mountainous areas of Mbale and neighboring regions, the residents have ignorantly constructed houses without windbreakers. However, Hands of Action Uganda’s initiative of reforestation will act as a solution to the strong winds.

We arrive in Bududa

Exhausted, we reached the Mt. Elgon area. I was blessed to see the mountains of History. The mountains are so raised and people around it make their settlement better by constructing strong houses using poles that can endure the strong winds that come up the hills. During the blow of the winds, the roofs are always blown down hills. “You will never find a grass thatched house around the Elgons!! Believe me or not.” Hands of Action Uganda encouraged the planting of trees and it’s expected that the loose soil particles shall be bound together and the famous landslides shall be no more.

Planting new trees on the steep slopes of Bududa, thanks to Hands of Action Uganda and the Captain Planet Foundation from the U.S.

Tirelessly we travelled until we reached Shikuyu Needy Nursery and Primary School which is also part of Hands of Action Uganda’s projects. Welcome was the order of the day. After a drink, it was another travel to our final destination at Lunganga Primary School. God! I felt like going back to Kampala yet Shikuyu Needy was only 300 meters on the straight line prediction/measurement. But since straight line connection of the two Schools is still a myth, we rotated and meandered yet the actual distance could be 1km. The rotating made the journey even so long.

Tree Planting Ceremony

Finally, we reached Lunganga – our final destination – and all the Government leaders were patiently waiting. These included LC I Chairman, Vice-Chairman, and LC III Chairperson who was the guest of honour. Through my observation, Hands of Action Uganda is teaching and coordinating different projects and running its activities effectively within the Eastern Uganda. They have done a lot of work on the actual ground and a lot more is expected in the near future. The School is located in a very raised area.

The interesting speeches were followed by the Director and the bearer of the Idea. In his speech, he respected the English saying “EAST AND WEST,………………”.  Thunderous clapping was the audience’s response because of joy that had filled their hearts. Their seeds had started bearing fruits, and they looked to be praying for the rest to bear the same in order to have continuous harvests in their area. This was followed by actual planting of trees which was started by the Guest of Honour (Chairman LCIII). Everyone looked so active in the act of planting as I was shooting video of them. The children of both Schools, the Visitors, the teachers, the Guests, the Directors and the aged stood with the Director and planted trees.

The author with two girls from the Bududa community

At 3:00pm, the program was coming to an end. We moved back to Shikuyu Needy for the meals before we could separate. This was served by the most Hospitable people from the two hosting Schools.

I finally appreciated the provisions like financial and domestic provisions which according to the interviews increased people’s standards of living. Hands of Action Uganda also encouraged the planting of fruit trees which have increased peoples’ health status. Therefore, I believe people will live a happy life, and as a result, it will extend its influence all over the region and the country at large.

“FOR GOD AND MY COUNTRY”

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