By John Rauschkolb III, KF12 Philippines
What is a ‘Green Run’ was the first question I asked myself when I heard I will be participating in the first annual Green Run event. It was explained to me as a community development program to raise awareness of global warming by running a 1k race with a tree in hand to a field where we are to dig a hole and plant our tree. I thought to myself, ‘how does running a race and planting a tree have anything in common’? It didn’t hit me until our group exercise before the run. The green run is not just a program to raise awareness about the environment but about health in general. Running the 1k race is healthy or ‘green’ for our bodies and planting the tree is healthy for the environment.
We had upwards of 1,000 participants ranging from local borrowers, villagers, farmers, children, branch staff, head-office managers, board of directors, military personnel, and local government officials. Due to the tropical temperatures we had to be up very early to start the run before the extreme heat. The event started with a prayer and brief educational seminar on global warming and environmental awareness. We learned about the benefits of planting trees and how we can take care of our environment. Following the talk we moved into calisthenics and stretching. Concurrently the leaders explained the value of daily exercise. This twenty minute process was both informative and applicable.
After the morning seminar we moved into the run. Everyone grabbed a small tree which were bought by the Non-Government Organization’s staff and made our way up the mountain. Some ran, some jogged, and many (including myself) casually strolled up the hill. It was a pleasant route, through scenic marshlands, beautiful rice fields and exotic jungles. We arrived at the tree planting area where they had sections roped off and string outlining the rows. Digging with our hands we successfully planted 1,000 plus small mango, banana, and coconut trees.
Once we finished planting all the trees (some people planted two), we casually walked back to the main meeting area. Upon our return we were greeted with a traditional rural Filipino lunch. There was a large table covered with huge banana leaves. In the middle of the table were mounds of hot fresh rice separated by drying racks filled with tiny dried fish and next to the fish were small fresh tomatoes. After washing up everyone dug in with their hands. In order to eat the rice you have to cup your fingers using your thump as a pushing rod to get the rice into your mouth. The dried fish was too difficult an undertaking, but the fresh tomatoes and rice just hit the spot.
The event was a huge success. It helps to raise awareness of the environment and personal fitness. It provides a medium to bring people together for a fun, educational and entertaining event. It is a win-win event; One I hope to bring back to the US.'