We are currently living in a time where plans have been crushed and families are in despair because of the loss of jobs and lives of loved ones due to the coronavirus. It is with this backdrop that the Jesuit Community at ITCJ decided to embark on a tree planting exercise. On August 13, 2020, Frs. Anicet N’Teba, SJ and Rodrigue Naortangar, SJ, assisted by Rev. Emmanuel Muzinga, SJ, carried out a prophetic act of planting a baobab tree.

The baobab tree, which is given the appellation “tree of life” in certain cultures, was planted as a sign of assurance of longevity in this time of great uncertainty and calamity. The baobab tree, which is known to live for up to 1500 years is a tree that exemplifies the passing of times and problems and a sign of endurance in times of strife and struggle.

The tree planting exercise also forms part of the realization of the Universal Apostolic Preferences referring to the care of our common home, the earth. Of all those who were present at the tree planting exercise, it is possible that none of them will still be at ITCJ or even alive when the tree finally gets to the giant size that baobabs are known to get to. However, this tree was planted in hope that it will also serve generations yet to come and be a sign that we overcame and conquered.

Also, a benefactor of the Presses de l’ITCJ, Mr Henrich Waider, was remembered at the ceremony as it had been his dream during a recent visit to ITCJ to have a baobab tree planted.

On the whole, it was a rather memorable day that will be etched in the annals of history of ITCJ as the day we made an ecologically prophetic statement in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.