Updated: Jul 10
By Cheikh Akmach HAF Site Coordinator, Dakhla-Oued-Ed-Dahab region
The first tree planting day event I participated in as a new HAF member was very meaningful to me. I witnessed the greatest miracle of all. Life.
It was a perfect, sunny day. I met with the team members at Abdellah Oueld Bahia School to plant fig and pomegranate tree saplings.
We were welcomed with great enthusiasm by the administration personnel. We invited the students to join us in the activity. Hana Ezaoui, HAF’s Program Manager, explained the steps of planting fruit trees.
The first tree was planted jointly by Sheikh Laarbi Aroub, the School Director Abdelaziz, and Hana. Next, the students were divided into six groups of 4 and 5 people, and each group was responsible for planting the trees following the method Hana had explained.
I was pleasantly surprised at that sight. The children were very excited; they were running all over the place. All of a sudden, the entire place was full of life. The liveliness didn’t stop for a long time.
The children were very meticulous with their work. They assembled in teams; some brought water, some dug holes, some brought the saplings, and some filled the holes with earth. The buzzing activity that filled the place seemed to me like a beautiful painting whose charm I am unable to describe. They were very excited to be a part of this project, they felt proud of themselves, and they knew they were doing something good for the environment.
Children working with the School Director to plant a sapling. Image Credits: Cheikh Akmach/HAF
Later on, Hajiba Boumasmar, HAF’s Program Director, and Teacher Mounia ran a small workshop about plant life and sustainable development in which they taught the children about the importance of events like this and gave them ideas and information about how to protect the environment. This workshop reinforced the children’s commitment to safeguarding the wellbeing of the young trees that were entrusted to them and their school.
Hajiba & Teacher Mounia conducting a workshop to teach the children about the environment. Image Credits: Cheikh Akmach/HAF
This event had a special significance to me personally. I recalled how one day in the past when I was a student at this school. I met my previous teachers who have grown older under the merciless grinding of time, and so have I. I never dreamed that I would be able to return the favor to my old school. Yet, with the help of HAF, I did.
This event opened my eyes to the cycles of life and death. Time comes and goes, people come and leave, nothing remains but sweet memories and the few kind acts we do along the way. The ‘Life’ we planted in this school may not flourish today but decades later, it will bring its fruits.
The fruits I am talking about here are not merely the trees’ fruits, rather, the true fruits are the children in whom we planted the right seeds.
These children will grow to respect their environment. They have learned the importance of Life: the life of the other life forms without which we could not live on this planet.
Climate change is a crisis that is looming on the horizon. It is a heritage of the Industrial Revolution that we, the youths of today, shall bear. Only through consistent tree planting efforts, awareness campaigns and movement to renewable energy sources, could we mitigate this crisis’s disastrous effects.