The sun shines in the sky, unrelenting in its heat. There is barely any wind to be felt, and all those below on the shelter-less ground can feel it on their skin, rivers of sweat pouring out of them as they work tirelessly. The work they are doing — planting trees.
When I first heard of the many tree plantation drives that would be taking place all over Lahore, and even beyond, throughout the summer, I immediately knew this was what I wanted to spend my holidays doing. And two months down the road, I can officially say it was a worthwhile activity.
When I went to my first tree plantation, I was struck by just how many people had congregated there at 8 in the morning. And what was even more remarkable was how they were always there week after week, at almost the same time in the morning, in order to play their part in helping their country. When people like these — average, everyday people — were there under the blistering sun to contribute to the environmental problems, it inspired me to do the same. The next I knew, I was up at the crack of dawn because the next tree plantation drive was on the other side of the town.
Socially speaking, it was about meeting people most of whom had never met each other before, from all over Lahore, and in some cases from out of Lahore also, gathering together and working towards a common goal. And it was that fact that even while talking about different subjects that had us divided, every single person there maintained a cordial air, leading to two months that were spent not only doing something worthwhile but also learning about new things from people four times my age, and learning new opinions and thoughts.
But why was the work I was doing so impactful? And why did it matter so much? Why did coming home each time bring a warm, fuzzy feeling in my heart? Well, the path I took to get anywhere really was answer enough. Imagine a pristine, well-made road, surrounded on both sides with expensive and famous shops, and not an inch of greenery in sight. Passing through the same road every day brought home the fact that I lived in a country with a severe lack of trees and this brought forward all sorts of problems that each of us had to face daily, whether in higher temperatures or more complex problems that lie in the realm of ecology.
It was this that compelled me to work hard week after week to plant trees under the relentless sun, so that my country could benefit, and that truly is something worth being proud of.