In a time of uncertainty, we all need a little hope, and we cannot think of any place more hopeful than Mount Namuli.
During these times, we need leaders. One of Legado: Namuli’s specialties is cultivating leadership in every individual that we work with. Sr. Felizardo Abilio, a Namuli native, is a powerful demonstration of leadership. He lives at the mouth of Namuli and waves at the team as we pass by on their way up the mountain.
Our story with Sr. Felizardo begins with an old tree and its twisted branches. Locally known as Santo António, its bright white flowers are used at funerals to honor the dead. Because of this association, it is seen as sacred and these trees are often saved from being cut down or burned.
As we discussed the trees’ significance and the importance of trees in the community, Felizardo expressed that he hoped to be a model within his community to protect standing trees and plant new ones.
Together with Sr. Felizardo and the Legado: Namuli team, the community of Murrece gathered to honor the Santo António and share ideas about the importance of trees for their livelihoods. Community members across age groups gathered to discuss the role of trees in their lives and plant acacias along the roadside, with Sr. Felizardo leading the charge to care for the trees.
After a long day of planting and community discussion, in a moment of beautiful serendipity, the first rain of the season came down. Sr. Felizardo has been carefully caring for these trees and months later they continue to grow tall and strong, a reminder of the importance and power of strong leadership during hard times. Each time we pass by Sr. Felizardo’s house, he greets us with a wave and a smile, happy to be a role model for the community and an advocate of a healthy ecosystem and a healthy community.
Check out the gallery of photos below of the Legado Team and Sr. Felizardo’s community!