My friend Isabel dancing under a magnificent flowering Malinche tree

My friend Isabel dancing under a magnificent flowering Malinche tree

I’m leaving tomorrow in the morning to spend three days leading a workshop with eight families participating in our reforestation project.  Why is a micro-credit company planting trees?

Trees hold soil in place during the forceful rains.

Firewood is by far the number one source of fuel in the countryside, where some families easily use six tons of firewood a year.

There are numerous species of trees in the legume family that flourish in this tropical climate, like the Malinche in the picture above.  Leguminous trees fix nitrogen, improving the quality of the soil for other plants, and their pods are often an excellent protein source for cattle.

Shade.  Imagine the hottest tropical sun you possible can, a yard of baked earth hard as the ceramic tiles on the house, now where do you want to sit?

The Ceiba tree is not the tree to hug!

The Ceiba tree is not the tree to hug!

When the grass and pasturelands are completely shriveled by april, what are you going to feed your cattle?  The leaves from the branches you cut down for firewood…..

Besides selling firewood for income, the markets here abound with native fruit like mango, avacado, tamarindo, sapote, papaya, mamon, nisporo, mareñon, and coconut.

Farmers that plant trees along the edges of their fields increase the biodiversity and create habitats for beneficial birds and insects that prey on crop pests.

Trees are beautiful.  The words to “The green cathedral”, a song I sang in grade school, came floating back into my head as I stood along a river on a scorching 90 degree day in one of the communities that we are working in, under an enormous marango tree.  The comfort and relief in the cool shade could only be compared to the arms of a loved one.

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