July 11 was the launch of tree planting by the Islamic-Christian group (ICG), in collaboration with the Association ‘Children of the Sun’ in the suburbs of Arafat. Sr.Celina, who is the initiator of the « One tree per family » project, is also the head of the Islamic-Christian group.
On the first day of the tree planting, Sr Celina with Victorine, Fr Victor the chaplain of the group, Sr.Marie Jesus, Daughter of Charity, four other members and a young Christian man joined the ‘Children of the Sun’ group to participate in the work of land preparation. They dug holes one meter deep and one meter in diameter. Then the holes were half filled with sand and manure. The first day they dug 8 holes because it was more difficult than expected. We had to organize ourselves for the work that everyone was doing for the first time. Despite the heat, the young people were motivated. Work continued for a few more days. Thanks to the motivation and commitment of the young people of the Association, and to the participation and encouragement of some members of the group, this hard work was done with joy and collaboration.
Yahya, the president of the association, knows how to involve other young people. One day there was a women’s football team, on another day another neighborhood association. Celina also brought two other Christian volunteers.
Sr Celina makes sure that the children of the families who receive the trees and the children of the neighbourhood are involved in the project. Children participate in their own way, even if it’s just touching the shovel.
On the second day, a 5 year old boy approached Sr Celina pointing out to her the children who had thrown papers in the holes. Sr Celina called the children and asked the boy to explain to them the purpose of the holes. At the end of the dialogue, the children decided to go into the holes to collect the papers. This is a way to educate children and empower them for the future. The trees were ready to be planted, but it takes three weeks for the sand and manure to mix well.
We took advantage of the planting time to teach people how to take care of the trees and how to water them, while also educating the children to take care of them. This plantation aroused the interest of other families who expressed their desire to plant trees in their homes. Two weeks later, Sr Celina and Sr. Anna, a Daughter of Charity, went to finish planting the trees with the members of ‘Children of the Sun’. The young people were happy to have carried out this work in their neighbourhood in collaboration with the Islamic-Christian group.
For Celina, each day brought new knowledge of people who admired the project and other people who shook their heads… She discovered that in the neighbourhood there are even some vineyards.
To celebrate the end of the tree planting, on 16th August the ‘Children of the Sun’ spent a wonderful afternoon at the beach and the MSOLA community was invited to accompany them. Upon his arrival, Yahya, the founder of the association, explained what the Children’ of the Sun’ Association is: a group of young people who brings together the children of the neighbourhood to carry out educational and environmental activities, with a view to a better future. After the presentation, we danced, played and had a swim, before sharing the meal. It was a moment of meeting, of joy and of sharing. We would like to thank the officials of the Children of the Sun Association for honouring us with this outing.
Now all that remains is to make a brick enclosure to protect the trees.
The Nouakchott community of the Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Africa (MSOLA) in Mauritania.