“Until you dig a hole, you plant a tree, you water it and make it survive, you haven’t done a thing. You are just talking.” – Wangari Maathai
Saturday, the 15th of April 2023 will remain a special day close to my heart. As a vibrant member of the Rotaract Club of Nairobi Central (RCNC), I had the rare opportunity to participate in my first community service activity with the club, organized by the Community Service docket. The activity involved planting trees at the Mpesa Foundation Academy in Thika, as part of our commitment to give back to the community and contribute to environmental conservation efforts in Kenya. This was in line with the dream of the renowned environmentalist, the late Nobel Laurate Professor Wangari Maathai. Despite the challenges of navigating through Nairobi’s busy streets on a cloudy Saturday morning, we were thrilled and ready to kick-start the day’s work. It was a hustle to manoeuvre through the town, but we managed to arrive at Mpesa Foundation Academy at 10:35AM. Other Rotaractors from the Rotaract Club of JKUAT, Rotaract Kenyatta University, Rotaract Club of KCA University, the Green Rotaract Concept and also Rotary Jabali joined in the bandwagon and together we embarked on the tree planting activity, eager to ply our part in restoring community well-being, increasing wildlife biodiversity, improving air, water quality and soil health in the area.
At the site we were received by two officers, Mr. Hillary and Mr. Peter from the Landscaping department at Mpesa Academy.They showed us the designated areas for activity and guided us on how to prepare the soil and apply manure. Despite the hard work, we had a great time with jokes, fun, banter, and reverse mentorship during the planting process. We planted a total of 170 indigenous trees, and the activity lasted until 3:00 pm. What fulfilling fun!
Participating in the tree planting activity provided me with the opportunity to interact with members from different backgrounds and personalities. As someone who is usually reserved and reluctant to talk to strangers, this activity pushed me out of my comfort zone. I had to engage in conversations, work collaboratively with fellow members and representatives from the school’s administration. It was an enriching experience that allowed me to broaden my social skills, build networks, and establish meaningful connections. I learned to appreciate the importance of teamwork in achieving common goals. It was an invaluable opportunity and I look forward to using this experience as a stepping stone towards my goal of establishing my own foundation and contributing to the betterment of society in the years to come. Later, we expressed our gratitude and shared a cup of tea, which was followed by a maiden tour of the towering facility, which also happens to be my alma mater. It was photo- galore as memories were splashed into infinity to commemorate the day. This was a fulfilling and enjoyable experience! I must admit.
On behalf of the team, I would like to express my deepest appreciation and heartfelt gratitude to the community service docket, led by the Director Joyce Nyawira alias “Madam CJ”, and all the Rotaract members from other clubs who contributed to the success of our tree planting day at MPesa Foundation Academy. Your hard work, dedication, and commitment to serving the community is truly commendable, and your efforts in organizing and coordinating this event have made a significant impact in promoting environmental conservation and giving back to our community. I would also like to acknowledge and appreciate the partnership with MPesa Foundation Academy for providing us with the opportunity to plant trees on their premises.It always feels great to go back home and leave a positive impact. Together, we have taken a step towards realizing Wangari Maathai’s dream of a greener and healthier environment for our communities, and I am grateful for the opportunity to contribute to this important cause. Thank you all for your efforts and commitment to service.
Paul Kamau, Guest – Rotaract Club of Nairobi Central (RCNC)