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Sunday, June 7, 2009

Planting it Forward

Hello Everybody,

Today we had an extremely busy and fun-filled day. We started off in the morning with a lecture at MUBS about Democratization, then we moved onto the Botanical Center in Entebbe, and finished it up with a lovely dinner at the home of the Chairman of MUBS.

In my life I’ve never seen a spider as big as I had, in its natural habitat, here at the Botanical Center. After arriving at the Botanical Center and walking around for about thirty to forty-five minutes we stumbled upon the Dragon Spider. These spiders were about the size of a human hand that’s fully stretched open. Once our guide finished telling us about the spiders we tested its speed and agility by throwing a small ant into its web. The yellow and black spider zipped across the web and snatched up the ant without hesitation or fault. Since it was so small it didn’t bother spinning it up for later and just ate the ant as it was.

Within the Botanical Center there were many other interesting plant findings. As we approached the cinnamon tree we expected to be overwhelmed by a scent of cinnamon, but to no avail. However, upon simply crumbling one of its fallen leaves, or crumbled bark, in your hands the scent of cinnamon enveloped you. Amongst the other interesting plants were the two-hundred year old Mahogany Tree, the “Viagra” Tree (I name it this because our guide told us that this tree has a strong part in the production of Viagra), the Umbrella Tree, and many more.

Upon finished up at the Botanical Center we headed over to the home of the Chairman of MUBS, with a short break in between the two events. When we arrived at his home we were immediately welcomed and greeted by some of the other faculty at MUBS. Eventually, we all got comfortable and the introductions began. Everybody introduced themselves, and then the chairman spoke. He knew that we were studying sustainable development and geared his speech towards that subject. He noted that in the development of the new addition to the side of his house they go through quite a bit of scaffolding, which he said were made from the long branches of a Eucalyptus Tree. After they’re done using them, he said, they have to burn them because they have no more use. He found this to be rather wasteful. Then he stated a very fitting quote, “When you cut down one tree, you must plant two more.” And with that he lead us to his driveway where he had us plant 20 new trees in our name. He told us that when they get a little bigger he was going to put each of our names on our respective tree that we planted. When we finished our short sustainable development project we had a very fine dinner and then headed home after grabbing a few avocados from his farm.

After having spent plenty of time in Mbarara we should all now understand the “Pearl of Africa” analogy. Africa, and Uganda especially, have so much to offer as far as their natural environments go, and it would be a tragedy to see any of it affected negatively. With that in mind what simple things, like planting trees, could we be doing to encourage sustainable development and promote a healthier environment? And lastly, how has today affected your view of sustainable development.


  1. I think that there are many things that can be done to encourage sustainable development. First of all, with all of the plastic water bottles that are used here in Uganda, a recycling program could be set up to encourage recycling and reusing resources. We saw how Uganda has a glass bottle recycle program set up that is sustainable. Something like this could be put up for plastic items as well. I also think that there is a huge problem with trash. We saw trash everywhere: sitting in piles on the sides of the roads and such. This is a huge problem- environmentally and for one's environmental health. Trash programs must be instated and even more garbage cans could help this program.

  2. Since Shannon answered the second question, I will look at the first question that Austin asked.

    Before this day, I had a negative perception towards sustainable development in Uganda. To me, it almost seemed like no one was doing anything positive. Then when we went to the Botanical Gardens, I realized how beautiful Uganda really was and how many natural resources they had. Then, I was blown away by the dinner at the chairman's house. Although there were many negative acts happening around the country, here was one individual who was committed to helping the environment.

    What else could be done to help sustainable develpment. I will add onto Shannon by saying that education needs to be increased within the country. Education about the importance of recycling and protecting the natural resources, just to mention a couple.