Today, Saturday April 27, 2003, when Arbor Day is celebrated throughout the world, a group of Virginia Tech students went to Toms Creek Park to plant trees. This was the third group at this place, but the fourth to take part on this year’s Arbor Day activities. Here are the links for earlier ones: April 26, April 25, April 20
We began promptly at 9AM with a review of the purposes behind this project. In short, they are to encourage civic duty and to aid in learning about other social ethos, particularly as it is with the Haitian combites. Then we went through the planting instructions, and set the goal of planting at least 4 trees per group. We did not sing, as people in some combites do, but we talked a lot, and while a few arrived sluggishly, as if they had dragged themselves out of bed, in about half an hour, they were all energized.
Just after an hour, most groups had planted way more than four threes. So, we began closing down, and as we got ready for the group-picture, two students attempted to carry a water bucket on their heads, as women in Haiti and in other parts of the world, commonly do. They idea was of putting ourselves in the position of others and appreciating the value of water and its transportation. Of the two that tried, only one was able to balance the water bucket on her head.
Afterward, we went for breakfast together, and we closed down with a discussion about the value of free time versus hands-on labor (“cleaning after yourself”). This was done in the context of what pro-slavery writers and abolitionists debated throughout the entire Americas during most of the 19th century. We reflected on how this same issues are part of our current social and political discussions.