Port Alberni Rotarian Edwin Knight is in Jamaica with Trees That Feed, an initiative to plant thousands of breadfruit trees in Jamaican schoolyards to help feed a country.
Here is an excerpt from his journal:
The afternoon session turned out to be hair raising, stomach wrenching, heart breaking and a heart bursting experience!
Mission Objective: plant 50 trees at a school for the physically and mentally challenged (who are often abandoned by their parents) located high up in the mountains, called Mustard Seed Communities, Jacob’s Ladder.
The ride up the mountain was better than a ride at Disneyland and a few of us paid for it with our stomachs and hair loss. It was a treacherous event punctuated with the driver’s concern for our delay.
Finally our arrival at the mountain top community opened our minds to the purpose of our trip. Here was a collection of 35 buildings housing 88 children and young adults. Heart wrenching to see the suffering as we rode by.
But this was not the misery of the forgotten and neglected! As we arrived at the main hall we began quickly to be blanketed in the warmth and care of the attendees and of the founder.
As we progressed the soil got redder and redder! Next we trudged, (happily) to the hillside site to be met with several deep furrows. Awesome! We met the three young Jamaica men who had toiled some days with pokers, rods, pick and shovel to prepare the way. Clearly the planting of the 50 trees of life would be more ceremonial than hard work.
We set to task with each Rotarian selecting three or more trees and kneeling in the designated spots marked by sticks to play in the red ‘soil’. What a gardener’s delight.