Creating a global community through tree planting!

An exciting story about our new Namibian coordinator, Nathanael Shikongo!

Nathanael shares that, as a youngster, he and his grandparents used to visit the forests of the Nambian region called Ohangwen. His grandfather, Valde Haimene, would count the trees with him. He would point out specific trees that were disappearing in the area. “What happened to these fruit trees that we used to pick from?” his grandfather would ask.

After the death of Grandfather Valde, Nathanael and his mother kept visiting the area in his honour. Although they still enjoyed the fruit, they noticed the continued disappearance of trees. There was a noted decrease in sweet fruits called “uundongo and omakokofi” (Parinari capensis and Salacia luebbertii).

At one point, a foreign billionaire bought and exported 300 trees from this forest for personal use. This left Nathanael heartbroken. He was ready to give up his pilgrimage to the forest and the tree counting taught by his grandfather. However, it seems that destiny had other plans for Nathanael.

Nathanael enrolled in the Ecovillage Development Education certification program hosted by Gaia Education. It was through these weekly global Zoom meetings that Nathanael met GEN Ambassador Patty Rangel-Hernandez from Mexico.

As Patty’s grandfather had also taught her to count trees, the two formed an immediate bond. Patty shares that her “…grandfather, Salvador Rangel, was a descendant of the Purepecha tribe of Michoacan, Mexico. I grew up taking walks with my grandfather through the gardens at his ranch. He would tell me stories of how old the trees were and where they came from”.

Meeting Patty caused Nathanael to change his perspective. Instead of losing hope, Nathanael committed to regenerating the 300 lost trees. He pledged to plant 300 trees for future generations!

One month ago, Nathanael’s Omuthiya Natural Springs Eco Village became a reality as it was officially registered with GEN Africa. Shortly after, Nathanael elevated his vision by taking the message of hope to the World Economic Forum. With the help of another Ecovillage Development Consultant, fellow permaculture teammate, and Green Entrepreneur from India, Mrinalini Nigde (our GTI India coordinator!), Nathanael was introduced to the GTI.

The first 300 saplings will be planted in 2023 as part of the official launch of the Omuthiya EcoVillage nursery. Please keep an eye on our events calendar for more details on how to get involved with this planting day.

Additionally, Nathanael plans to cover another 50 hectares of land with trees. Stay connected to our newsletters to see how Nathanael’s tree-planting projects grow!

We are happy to see that the GTI is creating a global community through tree planting! Thank you, Mrinalini and Nathanael, for your inspiring story! We are looking forward to seeing your ecovillage flourish!

You are invited to get involved with Nathanael’s project in Namibia. Send him an email to find out how!



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