Leaving my small mark on Senegal

When I first got to country my fellow volunteers used to tease me about not wanting to get down and dirty and embracing the “tough” life of Senegal. In retaliation I told my friend, who is an Agroforestry volunteer, that if she found me a tree to plant I would come out to her village and plant it! I wanted to show people I could get down and dirty and I also wanted to do something tangible for Senegal. She agreed to it and then went about searching for the perfect tree for me, she found a fruit tree for me but she never told me what it was. She grew it from a seedling for me and took care of it by keeping it fed with manure (as much as I don’t mind getting dirty, I draw the line at poop!!) and when it got big enough to move to the ground she asked me to come out to village to plant the tree. I wasn’t sure if I could go because I had a little over a week left at site and I had to get everything packed up.   However, she texted me the reason as to why she chose this tree for me and after that I couldn’t say no. Here is her direct quote as to the reason for chose this it for me: “See its leaves come out in such a way that I am reminded of rungs on a ladder, always climbing up. This is the way I have seen you live and grow during your service and through the stories you have shared. You build up on the things you learn and your past, to push yourself to a new you, to the way you want to live your life. And the fruit, while it’s outward appearance is gnarly and black, when you break it open you find the sweetest, most tender fruit inside. Despite your tough attitude, I found you to be the most dynamic character with lots of love and a million ideas about the world, just bursting to share them with someone. The friendship I’ve had with you I’ll take with me forever. You are truly a unique individual that I am honored to have met. That is why I hope you still want to come out and plant a tree, if you have time.” So after receiving this text I had to go out and plant my sweetsop tree a.k.a. sugar apple which is a fruit that grows in tropical areas, and you can find it here but it’s not common.

This is the sweetsop fruit.

So to prove to all you may-sayers that I would never get my hands dirty, here’s a video of me planting my tree and leaving my small mark on Senegal!

So here I am with my little sapling!

Now she is safely in the ground and will hopefully become a beautiful full grown tree!!

And here is the video to prove that I was the one who did it!!

Planting my tree

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