I started the tree planting projects in February 2012. Bubango is a birth place for one of the Uganda Martyrs-St.Kirigwaijo Anatoli. He was martyred together with his Colleagues on the 3rd.June.1886.
The first priests to work at Bujuni Parish under which Bubango falls bought land totaling to 86 Acres in this “holy village.” This was in the early 1940s. The purpose was to establish a Shrine there and other spiritual and developmental facilities in honour of the Martyr, but also most importantly gain control over the real site where the saint lived and grew. Some natural features which the saint used could easily be misused or even annihilated. Some of them include; a well where he used to fetch water from,the rocks where he used to dry his grains from and the trees which are believed to have been in his land.
However due to financial constraints nothing much had been done in this vast land by 2012.Being named after this saint, I felt that the debt to spearhead this dream of developing the saints home was automatically falling on me especially that now for the time being I was appointed to work in this parish. But then I too did not have the money! So I mobilized the Christians to start coming every last Friday of the month and working. Christians responded positively. I could borrow tools from St.Kirigwaijo Secondary school, ferry them there on a Motorcyle,work with the Christians, after work say mass for them, then ride my motorcycle with the tools back to the school which is 9 kilometers away and then back to Bujuni parish which is 2 extra kilometers away from the school. Using this schedule for the for the last close to 6 years now, we have been able to plant 6 acres.
Originally we started this forestry project with one purpose of generating income from selling timber and construct structures such as a shrine, schools etc well aware that Tree planting and dealing in timber is a lucrative business in Uganda. With time however the project has provided other purposes such as improving the environment, beautifying the place and most interesting providing conducive shelter for the pilgrims who flock the place every year on the 17th of November to celebrate the day this saint was baptized. Some trees have been assigned a saint in memory of all the 22 Uganda martyrs. This has been done by hanging on them metallic slates with name of a saint inscribed. That of St.Kirigwajjo Anatoli is the biggest of all.
Once in a while during the sunny season, mass is celebrated in this forest and the experiences is really nourishing.
The cool shades, the insects singing, the scent of the flowers of some trees, the fresh air and the bliss generally are all always fascinating! One can not but feel that they are in sacred place suitable for prayer.
Nothing great goes without challenges. We too have experienced some challenges in this Endeavour.
-we lack funds to buy enough seedlings
-each acre requires 1000 seedlings which cost 200.000 Uganda shillings-equivalent to approximately 56USD
-Hiring trucks to ferry these heavy seedlings costs us 150.000UGX every route. This is approximately equivalent to 43USD
-Monitoring/supervision costs specifically for me goes up to around 1000000(Approximately equivalent to 286USD) per year. This is because I stay 11 kilometers away from Bubango.
-Allowances to the local security men to guard against fires by malicious and unintended bush burning activists costs close to 6000000(Approximately equivalent to 171 USD) every dry season.
We are ready to partner with any Organization or individual that is interested in environmental and shrines development activities.