We left Gorom by public bus on Sunday morning at 8am for a journey that was meant to last 8-10 hours. But because of border complications (crossing through Gambia), we arrived the next morning at 8am, meaning we spent 24 hours on the bus!
This year Planting Together had the privilege of serving in Koudioube, in Casamance (the Southern tropical zone of Senegal) as part of a reforestation collaboration with the organization ASAPID through our friend Sergeant Goudiaby.
ASPID's mission is to provide people with sustainable solutions and quality opportunities for conflict resolution, environmental protection and adaptation of agricultural systems to climate change.
Tuesday August 15th marked the beginning of the Planting Together Outreach 2023 in Senegal.
For this edition, we had people coming from 5 different countries: Mali, Ivory Coast, Spain, France and Senegal.
We started with a short week of preparation.
The Mali team got delayed at the border for many hours and arrived a day later, so we started in the evening of the 16th with some introductions, orientation, fun and worship.
During the following 3 days, we learned about YWAM, and had some teachings about our Identity, about Family and about Teamwork.
We also spent time preparing for some activities that we would do in the village the following week like Quartier livre, some fun games to play with kids and a Cultural Night.
As soon as we arrived in Casamance, we took a good shower and a little nap and we went planting in the afternoon.
As soon as we were done planting, the rain came pouring down like crazy.
The following 3 days in the mornings, we planted different kinds of trees (mango, madd…) in different forests areas. All together we planted about 2,637 trees.
In the afternoons after planting, we were busy connecting with the villagers through a soccer game, Free Zone, some fun games with the local kids and youth.
On the last evening, we did our Cultural Night where each nationality represented on our team showcased something special about their culture. A great time of fun and sharing life with everyone!
The last day, we planted about 44,920 mangroves trees in Diouloulou with the help of a hundred youth people and women from the town. Even the mayor planted with us the whole morning.
In many locations, the media were there; TV, newspapers and radio reporters interviewed us. We heard and gave a lot of speeches, we were greeted by many officials including the local Imam.
Saturday, August 26th we boarded the bus for a long journey back. This time it took “only” 19 hours to reach the YWAM base in Gorom.
Our final day was dedicated to debriefing: individually, in teams, as a large group and as leaders.
Many team members were deeply impacted by the teachings and team times during the outreach. They returned home with commitments to make changes in their lives, especially regarding their families.
Even though our travels and rustic village accomodations were challenging, the relationships built and local impact created during our stay were very meaningful.
We know that the trees and the mangroves we planted will bless this region and will improve the quality of life of its peoples.
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