Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Ents' Lament

Trees don’t fare too well in Karamoja. The reason being, people need wood for many basic aspects of their daily life: firewood for cooking, materials for building their homes, and branches of all sizes to construct fences and corrals. This substantial need for wood has lead to severe deforestation around inhabited areas. What has exacerbated the deforestation is the simple fact that beyond a certain distance from any given village (maybe a couple of kilometers), the ‘bush’ begins. The bush is the more densely vegetated wilderness that houses dangers of many kinds, but especially of ‘enemies’, the almost mythical warriors of neighboring tribes who harass and kill on a regular basis. Thus within maybe a 20-30 kilometer circumference around Kaabong, trees get hacked and disfigured without much thought toward replenishing them. There is a desperate need for tree planting programs and sensitizing people about the long-term consequences of deforestation. The problem is not that the people use wood; the problem is that the wood may simply run out.


Oliver said...

Thanks so the Ents' Lament! Tolkien would have been proud of you, albeit it at least equally saddened by what's happening to trees in your neck of the woods. Keep up the good work! And take courage - in the end, the dam was broken and Isengard was flooded and all the filth washed away ... :-)

Martha Schmidt said...

I know the Kaabong women's group had a tree planting effort along the river in town. There was also a small area near the community well...and bridge going into town that was filled with young trees. I hope they have not been cut. It's an ongoing problem.
I do encourage you to get out of the compound. Explore! I used to learn one sentence at a time...and wear it out in the community! But, you have to admit, it's nice to come home to a little of your culture and relax. Otherwise, survival would be very rough. We lived there 7 years. I'd be back in a heart beat!...if possible. Your time there is remarkable...and will always be unforgettable.