I am currently living with many women religious who work representing their religious congregations and other NGOs (non governmental organizations) at the United Nations. From them, I learned that 2011 is the Year of the Forests. How exciting!!
My ministry places me at Ascension School in Manhattan where we have just started the Book of the Month Club. All classes are reading the same book and different grades work together to create projects about the book and story.
Our February Book is Wangari's Trees of Peace by Jeanette Winter. It is about a woman who lives in Mount Kenya in Africa. She lives under green trees, watches the birds in the forests, gathers firewood for cooking, and helps harvest sweet potatoes, sugarcane and maize from the rich soil. Wangari does well in school and receives a scholarship to study in America.
When she returns to Africa, she notices the changes and the fact that the trees are gone, women travel miles to get firewood, buildings have replaced trees and there only barren land.
She starts replacing trees in own backyard-one at a time and then starts a nursery and convinces other village women to grow trees. As she says "Our lives will be better when we have trees again. You'll see. We are planing the seeds of hope."
The women continue to do this even though the government disagrees and make fun. However each women gets a small amount for each seedling still living after three months. The word spreads all over Kenya. Now there are 30 million trees growing there!! Thanks to the women who now walk tall, and with straight backs since they can gather firewood closer to home.
Wangari brought the green back to Africa. The story reminds me of "The Girl Effect" which I first heard about on my high school's-the Academy of Mt. St. Ursula website - http://www.amsu.org/
Please feel free to check it out.
I love the way pieces of my life connect together. Nature, Children's Literature, my Bronx high school, girls and women. It just reminds me of how we are interconnected!!
Sr. Jeannie Humphries, osu