A Lisu Catechist named Peter Wo Par lives in Conifer village, away from Mogok city, more than 148 kilometers from Mandalay. Mogok is under the Diocese of Lashio.
Peter Wo’s 10 acres of land is full of different kinds of fruits like walnuts, peaches, quinces, crab apples.
“Why are we poor despite having vast cultivable land? Why are we enslaved to big companies who pay limited wages?” Peter confessed that the idea to grow fruits trees erupted in answer to these basic questions way back in 1988.
Peter Wo recalled the words of Slang Htun Tan, his agricultural professor: teacher and resources are mother nature, before moving to the present location to launch his inspiration to plant fruit trees.
It all started with seasonal vegetables in the yard; Later, he planted fruit-bearing trees.
“You know as a young man, I was very eager to do everything in my mind. Thus, I grew vegetables at first. But it was only for seasonal. I needed to regrow them when a season ended,” Peter Wo says.
Peter Wo was in a dilemma to continue growing vegetables or grow long-term fruits.
“If I chose the first one, I needed to regrow them often, but it has immediate rewards. If I choose to cultivate fruits plants, I need to wait for years to earn money. It was a big choice for me then; I risked choosing the second plan. Now, as you see how I am happy,” Peter Wo told RVA News with a smile.
Peter Wo had to discern between his desire and human necessity.
“I have a desire and time. If I grow fruits, are they necessary? Then I realized fruits are ever in need for a human being. Thus, I have made that decision to grow fruits,” says Peter, a full-time catechist.
Peter Wo Par, a catechist, a father of two children, a grandfather of two grandchildren, is an expert at grafting plants. He grafted peach plants with a damson tree. He explained to RVA how a grafted fruit is different from the original one.
“In this place, heavy rains and landslides sometimes happen. Thus, we need to be careful at growing suitable plants,” he explained.
Lisu priest Dominic Gu Ta, an associate priest of Mogok parish, told RVA News that Peter Wo, as a catechist, is praiseworthy and reliable.
“He loves trees and nature like his children. He is a prudent and a far sighted-man. Initially, local people mocked him but began to grow fruits tree, imitating him. I encourage all the lay people too to do so. Just like Pope Francis’s encyclical “Laudato Si” inspires everybody to do so,” Father Dominic says.
Peter Wo lives happily with his family, harvesting what he has sowed. He is encouraging whomsoever he meets and everyone who pays a visit to his yard to start planting fruit trees.
With inputs from Chwar Thar
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