Dennis Kasule Ssebunya – Uganda Radio Network (URN)

Kasule Dennis Ssebunya

Uganda Radio Network (URN)

Oohh Yes Nature Can Talk!!! 

 “Amidst the scorching heat of a July afternoon, in the heart of Terego district, within the undulating landscape of Imvepi refuge settlement, I with a group of friends had travelled over 7 hours in a quest for the elusive nature treasure we had been promised. 

 The hills provided no respite from the breathtaking heat, as they gazed upon isolated, scattered small trees and remnants of what was once a flourishing ecosystem. 

 However, our perseverance led us to a newly restored forest, adorned with lush greenery and trees standing just 1.5 feet tall. 

Struggling to shield from the relentless sun, I thought to myself, this could have been a perfect refuge, had they been taller. This drove me into an inner monologue but what if trees could talk? Well, there was only one way to test the theory. And I was surprised. 

Me: Hello, you look so vibrant and full of life but still young and short where are the rest? 

The Forest: Thank you! It’s been quite a journey, but with everyone’s help, I’ve come back to life.

Me: ooh so it’s those amazing projects that brought you back to this lush state I heard? It’s truly remarkable how refugees and host communities joined hands to bring you back to life. 

The Forest: Yes, their unity and determination have been incredible. Out of generosity, Isaac Bandua’s offered his land for me to get home. Seeing the refugees and locals working together, nurturing me to survive and make it to adulthood, is very heartwarming.

Me: It’s inspiring to witness such collaboration for a greater cause. I understand Uganda’s opendoor policy for refugees was a compassionate gesture, but it also affected your beauty and biodiversity.

The Forest: That’s true, but it’s wonderful to see that they’ve considered my well-being. Through reforestation efforts, they are making amends and striking a balance between helping refugees and preserving us with my cousins the wetlands. 

Me: I’m glad they understood the importance of preserving your harmony. The involvement of civil society and the government in these efforts shows how much they care.

The Forest: Absolutely! Humans have always explained how refugee settlement areas were vulnerable to degradation due to the abrupt increase in human needs and population pressure. But now, with their support, I am happy they are healing the land and restoring my ecosystem.

Me: The project seems to have a positive impact on both the environment and the communities living around you.

The Forest: Indeed! The host communities have greatly benefited, and Pascal Agusi, the settlement commandant of Imvepi, has even agreed to replace any lost member with an indigenous one. He also says they will share the proceeds from my products with farmers, to ensure a sustainable and harmonious relationship.

Me: It’s heartening to know how the Uganda Biodiversity Fund is devoted to preserving nature by bridging the conservation financing gap.

The Forest: The fund’s commitment is commendable. With their local and international resource mobilization efforts and strategies, and with more support, they can continue restoring degraded areas like mine and protect other precious ecosystems.

Me: Your coming back to life is a symbol of hope for the future. You know you are a gift and a shared responsibility for all of humanity. As we respect and preserve you, we ensure a brighter future for generations to come.

The Forest: I wish all humans knew and appreciate us because me and my cousins the wetlands, my brothers the rivers, and my sisters the lake, are here to make their life better not to compete with them in any way. 

Me: I understand what you are talking about owing to what I went through with my friend since we came to this side. 

The Forest: And that is very small compared to what can happen if humanity continues to undermine us. Please for you who have tested the wrath tell them. 

Me: I will give thanks for the talk 

The Forest: You are welcome. Always here to serve you. 

This is when I realized “Trees Can Talk!!!”