About Sebastian Joseph H. D'Cruz
This is from the Parish Bulletin (May-June 2004 issue). If not mistaken it's written by "Uncle Seby", the octogenarian who last year was spending his spare time with a handful of other villagers trying to work on water-harvesting solutions atop the Saligao hilltop :
WE NEED TREES
The creation of man is preceded by the creation of light, water, vegetation and living creatures. God placed them all under the control of man. All this is a free gift to us from God.
God also created trees, forests, plants, vegetation and found it good. Here good means a life-saving situation for humans. But man, in his selfishness and without any foresight, is engaged in cutting down the trees and destroying forests.
Our own village was once beautiful, being covered with thick foilage.
Before the coming of the Portuguese to Bardez, our village was known as Salgaum -- a combination of two words, 'Sal' and 'Gaum' (Saligao: Focus on a Goan Village). 'Sal' is a tree which we call 'Sailo' and 'Saile' (plural of 'sailo') we found in pleanty close to Salmona. The capelinha (small chapel) on the way to Salmona via Souza Vaddo is known as Saileantlem kopel.
The hills too were full of large trees. The slopes around the Salmona fountain were full of various types of vegetation, which included fruit-giving trees, like kazu, zamlam, bindnas, ambe, ponos and higher-up the kantam which we, as youngsters, enjoyed whenever we went to the fountain for bathing. Sweet memories.
But now, the 'sailes' are nowhere in sight and the trees around the fountain have disappeared. The result is that the flow of the spring has become smaller and the reservoir of underground water has diminished, causing most of the wells on the hillside of Saligao to go dry during the months of April/May of every year.
The cashew trees on the Saligao hills also have vanished, and, though the Saligao Comunidade got the Government Forest Department to grow trees on the barren hills, the Australian Acacia trees which have been planted are not at all helpful for water conservation.
It is high time we ourselves should try to reverse this situation of shortage of water in Saligao. So let us plant enough trees, plants and flowers during the rainy season, and make our village beautiful once again, because at the moment we are reaping where we have not sowed and what we have not laboured for. Every reaper is called by God to be a sower. -- Seby Joseph D'Cruz.