Involvement with the actual tree planting
My absolute favorite NGO is OISCA. The focus of this organization is to rebuild forests worldwide. In that way communities devastated by wars or natural disasters can get their feet back on the ground and eventually thrive. Because of this noble purpose, wherever there is a need, when asked, OISCA is happy to offer its expertise.
I first met OISCA completely by chance. It was soon after the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami of 2011. I was rushing through Sendai Station on my way home from work. Unexpectedly, a stunning photo of a tree seedling caught my eye. That baby tree, with its life-promising gentleness, touched me deeply. So, I stopped and soon became immersed in images of OISCA’s fine work, both here in Tohoku and elsewhere.
OISCA is special because it works very closely with locals. Its personnel realize local inhabitants know their area better than anyone. In fact, OISCA members believe locals are the experts, and they (OISCA) are there to lend a hand.
OISCA personnel start by respectfully asking permission to assist in places needing help. From there they meet with locals, listen, learn, and work closely together as a team.
Another way that OISCA is special is the attentive care it gives to trees both before and after planting. Seedlings are kept in green houses and patiently attended to, given just the right amount of water, sunlight, and time before planting. Once in the earth, the trees are protected and nurtured with TLC. (Tender Loving Care) Soon the trees grow bigger, becoming strong, healthy and proud. In fact, more than 95% of OISCA trees survive.
One of the happiest days in the entire year for me is when I am an OISCA volunteer. I love joining with friendly OISCA personnel, local farmers, and other volunteers for the yearly forest-making day along the coast of Natori, near Sendai Airport.
Everything is well planned. When we arrive, we are divided into groups, given speeches and demonstrations, and then head out to our sections to begin work. It is also very encouraging to see trees from the years before with their branches spread wide, stretching tall and happily to the sky.
It is also a real joy being outside, immerse in the rhythm of planting beside others, and knowing our work will last for hundreds of years. In fact, I love being part of that long stretch of time, knowing that future generations will benefit from what we do that day. And very importantly, I am always deeply humbled by the opportunity that I, as a foreigner, can express my gratitude to Japan, and to Life itself, in such a long-term, life-enhancing way.
Without the help of Global Giving donors, none of this would be possible. So, I bow deeply to you, too, as I express thanks from the bottom of my heart.
During the panel exhibition at Sendai Station.
Some of the seedlings have grown into 2 meters.