News from Rumbek
The Loreto Environment Club – working to make our environment better
The Loreto Environment Club (LEC) works to make our environment better. The club members plant seedlings that they later transfer to sites spread around the school compound. These budding trees are watered and grow well. They bear fruits that the students enjoy such as guava and custard apple.
In the recent past, they also planted mango and pawpaw trees, which are now growing well. These fruits supplement the local palm fruit popularly known as the ‘big mango.’
LEC members establish the plant nurseries and take care of them until the seedlings are ready to be transferred to the planting holes. It is from this exercise that they earn a small stipend to use to shop for a few personal supplies.
They also cultivate the school farm, growing vegetables like kudra, tomatoes, pigweed and spider plant. The yields from their small plots are used in the school’s kitchen to prepare student meals. Every year, seedlings are also given to the farm workers and pupils in the Loreto Primary School to plant in their home communities. This is part of an outreach effort to create environmental awareness in the immediate and larger community.
According to Susan Ating, “Being an active member of the club has made me learn how to plant trees as a way of preserving the environment and creating food. The trees create a cooler environment and give us the fruits we enjoy. It has also helped some of my fellow members to develop interest in agriculture as a career like agricultural engineering.”
When they leave for the school break during the planting season, club members are required to establish tree nursery beds in their homes, similar to the one they started at school. This has helped the community to learn the value of trees and more specifically fruit trees. In our local community, there had been massive destruction of trees for charcoal burning and other activities.
Through the club activities the students have learnt the value of re-afforestation and afforestation. They have also developed rules that help the students to value nature. One rule states “cut one tree, plant four.” This is helping them to plant more trees in their communities which will helps to preserve the environment, and also has economic value.
On October 24th, 2018, the members planted trees in memory of Mr. Grosso, who was a strong supporter of the Loreto-Rumbek community. Mr. Grosso contributed to many activities in the school including the school bakery and grinding machine. The exercise was carried out by transition year students, and the environment club patron facilitated the exercise.
LEC club members maintain a clean environment by voluntarily clearing grass and collecting litter around the compound. For special school occasions, they trim and prune flower beds, paint trees, and arrange stones in decorative formations. The club also assists with other projects.
As Along Paul explains,
To make distilled water for refilling batteries, we mainly use the rain water but when we don’t have we use the tap water. We prepare in the machine and later test the pH, which should not exceed 6.4, alkalinity should be zero as well as chlorine level. If the balance is okay, we then use it to refill the batteries in school.”
The students also learn about water management by reporting leakages around the school. Timely reporting has helped them learn how to save water, especially in light of high consumption in the school.