By Spike Carlsen
For every book purchased a tree will be planted at the Bomalang'ombe Secondary School tree farm in central Tanzania. A good thing.


In October, 200 people from the village of Bomalang'ombe, Bomalang'ombe Secondary School and Trinity Lutheran church in Minnesota met to sing, reflect, rejoice and dedicate the tree farm. The project—funded partially by proceeds from sales of A SPLINTERED HISTORY OF WOOD-will help provide student scholarships and move the school toward being a self-sustained entity. Proceeds will also be used to provide educational scholarships for the children of the late Pastor Bethuel Mponzi

A tree can do many good things: It can beautify a landscape, generate oxygen, reduce erosion, sequester carbon dioxide, provide a limb for a swing and create wood for crafting everything from Tinker Toys to railroad trestles.

It can also help put a student through school. How?

During the past year I've traveled twice to Bomalang'ombe, Tanzania to help build and improve a rural secondary school. It is a unique and magical place. Three years ago there was no electricity, no water, no sanitary facilities, no lights to study by and-perhaps most amazingly of all-no complaining. The 340 students at Bomalang'ombe School were-and continue to be-thrilled to have the opportunity to learn. They're not only thrilled, but smart and hard-working, consistently testing in the top 10% of all students.

Recently volunteers, working side-by-side with students and teachers, have brought in water, built student living quarters and installed electricity. The next goal is self-sufficiency, part of which involves expanding the fledgling tree farm now at the school.

It's an all-around good thing:
  • Those students planting and tending the trees will learn environmentally sound forestry practices while earning money toward tuition.
  • The income from the harvested lumber will provide a "cash crop" for supporting the school in the future.
  • Between planting and harvesting, the trees will continue to do all the beneficial things a good tree does.

To help support this project, my wife Kat and I are donating funds to plant a seedling for every copy of A Splintered History of Wood that's sold. (We hope to plant many, many trees). Additional donations to the project may be sent to:

Boma Secondary School Tree Farm Project c/o Tom Thiets,
Trinity Lutheran Church
115 N. 4 th St.
Stillwater, MN 55082.
email: tthiets@trinitylc.org

Thank you.


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