The Hindu community in Mombasa celebrated Diwali by planting of 100,000 trees at the Kibarani Miracle Park.
Members of the community in their numbers trooped into the park throughout the day to plant coastal she-oak trees.
The park christened Mombasa Cement Miracle Park, whioch was a dumpsite before it was rehabilitated by Mombasa Cement Company, will be transformed into a silviculture, according to Gulam Salim.
Salim, in charge of the forestry at the Miracle Park, Kibarani, said Monday will remain a special day forever because they celebrated their new year in style.
“It is a double blessing for us and Kenya will become a green country because of efforts like these. Just as human beings have life, so do trees and we must take care of them,” he said.
He added the transformation of the Kibarani dumpsite has been a blessing for thousands of Mombasa residents who now enjoy the ambience of fresh air, unlike years past when the place used to stink.
“Tourists used to grimace at the smell whenever they passed at this place from the airport. Today, they came here to take photos. We want them to come and enjoy the fresh air later when the trees grow,” Gulam said.
On Monday, those who went for meals were also asked to plant a tree each. At the park, about 40,000 people get free meals twice a day.
“Today, we wanted to involve them in this tree-planting exercise. No meal without planting a tree. They have responded in kind,” Gulam said.
Heenal Gorsia, a community member, said the Hindu New Year will be dedicated to planting trees.
“Tree planting will help us reduce global warming and we will have a better climate for our future. That is why we have come here at the Mombasa Cement Miracle Park to join other members in planting 100,000 trees,” Gorsia said adding that all Kenyans should join hands to make a change.
Rauji Rajsaramji and his family said the tree planting will be blessed throughout the year and hope this will translate to good health throughout the year. “We are happy. We heard about this venture and we said we had to be here,” he stated.
Osman Jeffa, who had gone for the meals, said he would dedicate himself to ensuring the trees are well watered and protected.
“It is my small way of contributing. I want when I die someone somewhere will say that I helped reduce global warming by planting a tree and taking care of them,” he said.
He was accompanied by about 20 of his friends who called on Kenyans across the country to plant more trees and take care of them.
Diwali, celebrated during the Hindu lunisolar months of Ashvin and Kartika, is a festival of lights with variations also celebrated in other Indian religions.
It symbolizes the spiritual “victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance”. The celebrations started on Friday and usually lasts five to six days.