During phase one the team began the process of cutting the tubes ready for the seedlings to be transplanted. Phase two saw this work completed and the seedlings transplanted into each of the more than 150,000 tubes and placed into the pens. The target of 150,000 was surpassed through the teams’ commitment to working together, with the continued support of the community at every stage. We all contributed to the work, signing songs to keep us motivated to complete the project. Tanzanian venturer Dedan commented, “I felt great responsibility with every seedling in my hand. We wanted to ensure each one would become a tall tree and it was great to play my part in the process.”
We held an action day with the whole community of Ikaning’ombe. We spoke about protecting the environment including proper waste disposal and using plastic bottles to plant trees instead of throwing them away. There was also a quiz with questions on deforestation and how to improve and protect the natural environment surrounding the village. We had games and a dance competition which the kids especially loved. It was a fantastic day and helped us get to know the village better and introduce the aims of the project.
We held classes with the local school children on protecting the environment and the impact of deforestation. Dedan commented, “We wanted the children to know the seriousness if we do not tackle deforestation now because they are the future of the village. We shared this message in a fun and interactive way and they all understood and now have knowledge about protecting the environment.”
After a fantastic six weeks, the project was completed and we departed the village.
Dedan summed up his experience saying: “I feel so inspired following the project. I grew up in Dar Es Salaam where it is very urban. Coming to the beautiful village of Ikaning’ombe, working on the NRM project and living with a local family was incredible. I hope to move to Iringa and start a tree farm using the knowledge I have gained from my time in village.”
Natalie from the UK said: “I loved living with a local family in the village. We helped to cook and played with our homestay brothers and sisters. Our homestay mama was incredible, she had never left Ikaning’ombe and was so welcoming and thrilled to be able to host us, we had so many wonderful conversations.”
The teams loved their time in Ikaning’ombe getting to know the community and working to rectify the problem of deforestation in the village.