By Amina El Hajjami
It is amazing when people work in sustainable development with the aim of helping humanity in the present, as well as thinking about the well-being of future generations. What makes the work of Sami’s Project so great is knowing that this initiative will help you after death as the prophet Mohamed (ﷺ) said: “If any of you have a sapling on the doomsday he should plant it – if possible.”
Planting trees for the last five years with the High Atlas Foundation has been a wonderful experience for me. The first time I planted trees in schools was when I volunteered with the HAF in January 2013. That year I planted trees with the students, teachers and an association at the Imgdal School in a small village in the High Atlas Mountains. Now I have completed 5 years of tree planting with schools in many villages and communes throughout Morocco. After this year, I have participated in planting at more than 100 schools in total.
The HAF team and I celebrated the first day of planting trees this year on January 15th. The day was rainy, which suggests a good agricultural season for Morocco. I spent the day at 2 schools in the Tahanout Commune of Al Haouz Province, 35 km from Marrakech, and another school in the Ourika Commune in Al Haouz Province, also 35 km from Marrakech. I was accompanied by Si Abdelghani, Farmer-to-Farmer Volunteer Coordinator; Karam, a volunteer with HAF; Claire, a volunteer from the United States; and Majda, a student at Cadi Ayyad University in Marrakech.
In the beginning of the day, we met with Si Abdelmjid from the Delegation of Education in Al Haouz province and began our day of planting at Al Kayrawan School in Tahanaout Commune at noon, after the students completed their exam. In order to ensure the comfort for the students, we just planted trees with the director of the school, the teachers, school guard and the volunteer that is helping the students in school. I was surprised when I saw the olive trees and sour orange trees that HAF planted in 2010, and I was happy to hear that the olive trees born fruit this year. This inspired me and gave me the energy to continue to participate in the day of planting for years to come, Incha Allah.
After we completed planting at the first school, we then traveled to Ibn Habous school not far from the first, and we found that the students and the director had already prepared holes for the trees to be planted. I began by introducing the HAF project, our activities through Sami’s Project, and the importance of planting trees. The students were happy planting, and we invited the girls to participate in planting almond and pomegranate trees as well.
I would like to share with you a moment that I still feel deeply in my heart. I feel that I will never forget when in the third school, Abdelaziz Ben Driss in Ourika commune, we met a group of boys as the students gathered in the door of the school once they finished the exams. We went with them to the place where we wanted to plant trees and during this time I asked the students about how the exam had passed, and they said: “The exam was good and we are wishing the results will be good Incha Allah”. When we arrived at the place where we would plant, I introduced the students to HAF, and I told them that the almond trees were from the nursery in Ourika that is managed by HAF in partnership with the women of Aboghlou Cooperative. I asked the students if they knew this cooperative, and they said yes. In the group, I discovered that one of the students’ mothers was one of the women in the cooperative and that she had died. Now her son is planting with other students the same trees that his mother had planted seeds for with three of the women of Aboghlou cooperative.
For the last 5 years, I have had the opportunity to plant trees with the HAF team every year during January, February, and March. During these years of planting, I have learned that for me, happiness does not come just from receiving something, but that being happy is when you give your time, your energy, and your help to other people. The best feeling is when you see the results of your work.