Sunday, July 19, 2009

Bassin Zim cave

Tracey King (right), a fellow mission co-worker stationed in Nicaragua, was at the Joining Hands meeting that MPP hosted at it's national training center in Papay, June 2nd, 3rd and 4th. After the meeting ended Thursday, Tracey stayed an extra couple of days with us. Friday, June 5th, after helping us lay out one cistern for the group, APB, Tracey spent the rest of the morning working with us on the cistern at Diamene's house. In the afternoon, we visited Bassin Zim waterfall and caves, with a couple of local friends, Frank (left) and Roger (middle).

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Remember the other blog

Don't forget to check out Jenny and my other blog, on Word Press. I'm using blogger to catch up on old news, and to publish some of the bigger photos (you can click on the photos to see them closer to full-size), and I'll use the wordpress for "new" news (like the birth of Jenny and my child, when that happens), as well as for background information about MPP, what MPP's Road to Life Yard-Moringa project is all about, what we do, exactly with Moringa and what Jenny's work is all about in MPP's Integrated Health Center, "Mironda Heston."

Here's the link:

Monday, July 13, 2009

An afternoon on the beach--Caracol

Cersine Louis (left), Agame Elfraïs's godmother and Agame (right),
on the beach where we spent pretty much all afternoon, swimming and playing.

On Sunday, May 31st after we attended the Episcopal church service in the morning in Cape Haitian, Agame Elfraïs, one of the crew members on the trip, took us to visit his godmother, Cersin Louis, who lives in the community of Caracol, on the beach, east of Cape Haitian (Google Earth coordinates: 19º 41' 41.80 N, 72º 01' 26.22 W). Before heading to Caracol, we picked up five friends from Papay studying agriculture at Fundation Vincent in Cape. (Unless otherwise indicated, all photos are by Mark Hare, all rights reserved)

Agame's godmother and her family put together a feast of fried fish, rice and salad. When we met Cersine on Friday, May 28th, we asked her if they could make a meal for all six of us. She said, "Sure!" Saturday, when we asked if it might be okay to invite another five people, she said "Of course!" When we showed up with one more extra person, nobody even blinked. There is a Haitian proverb, "Manje kwit pa gen mèt" which more or less translates to mean, "Once food is cooked, no one person has dibs on it." We did provide some funds from our trip budget to help pay for the ingredients of the feast. Photo by Agame Elfraïs, all rights reserved.

Paul Jean (left) and Cersine's father (right). Cersine's father borrowed a neighbor's fishing boat and took us out a few hundred meters out into the sea, then some of us swam back to shore. Paul Jean was our host from Terrier Rouge, where we slept the whole time we were in the north and northeast. Paul spent all Sunday with us.

On the raft--Marimode St. Amour, with two other guests, enjoying the ocean for the second
time in her life. Maridmode is one of the hardest workers on the Road to Life Yard crew.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Road to Life Yard in Limbé

Fritzner, a member of the Limbé "Road to Life Yard" crew with his African redworms. Fritzner learned about raising worms during his internship with us in February this year. We provided the group their starter worms when Fritzner and Marimerci left at the end of February. Photos by Agame Elfraïs, all rights reserved.

One of our stops, during the crew trip to Northern and Northeastern Haiti, was to visit a youth group in Limbé (Google Earth coordinates: 19º 42' 24.61 N, 72º 24' 14.82 W). Two of the key leaders in the group are Agricultural Technicians who worked with MPP's Road to Life Yard-Moringa project crew for fifteen days this past February. Frizner and Marimerci's time with the Road to Life Yard crew was part of their post-graduation internship.

We visited the Limbe group on Monday, June 1st, after visiting the organization SOIL in Cape Haitian. After leaving SOIL in downtown Cape Haitian, it took us about an hour to reach Lembe going south on National Highway #1. When we arrived, we were all astounded by the amount of work Fritzner and Marimerci have initiated in their home community. I thought the visit would be a quick, social visit, a couple hours at most. Instead, we spent over four hours visiting house after house where Fritzner and Marimerci and the crew they have put together (which they have named the Road to Life Yard crew #2) have helped women put in vegetable gardens. Fritzner and Marimerci also had arranged for a simple meal--boiled breadfruit and vegetable stew made from production from their own gardens. Afterwards, the Road to Life Yard crew participated with members of the community group in a brainstorming session, talking through some of the problems they have encountered as well as what form future collaborations between MPP and the group might take, which at the very least, could mean two or three crew members going to Limbé for a few days to lead a workshop for the group. We were also able to connect the group with the organization we had visited in the morning--SOIL (Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihoods:

Top photo: Fritzner with one of the women who have started a home vegetable garden.

Middle photo: The garden the community group does together.

Bottom photo: Fritzner in his own home garden.

Note: Clicking on photos will show an enlargement of each one.

The Garden Under the Cliff--Rainy Season

This is Agame's uncle's garden by the Papay creek (left), during the rainy season. The piece of land which Else Elfraïs planted to bananas, sugarcane and tayo (a rootcrop), is in the background, hugging the base of the cliff. The land planted to bananas late last year is towards the front, with the creek (left and in front) forming the boundary. Else hoed the bananas and planted corn between the plants at the beginning of the rainy season, so he will get a harvest from this land, even as he waits for the bananas to begin producing.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, Agame's uncle is using his land and water resources incredibly well, and is making a decent profit. He has had no technical training and is working with small amounts of money for investment, as he can get it, from his own or his family's resources. For more information about this garden, check out the April 10th posting.

Agame and his uncle took Danny Blank and Nathan Lehmkuhl to see the garden the second week of June. Danny and Nate spent ten days with MPP as part of a technical exchange, sponsored by a number of friends and supporters of the work of MPP's Road to Life Yard project. (Photo by Mark Hare, all rights reserved)

Sunday, May 24, 2009

A new blog service

I am trying out Wordpress to see if it works better than "Blogger." Check out the new site there:

Wilus's vegetable garden

Wilus Exil (far right) in his home vegetable garden. The line of amaranth-spinach stretching out to Wilus's left is all in a series of tires. Wilus also has eggplant, garlic chives, hot peppers, green peppers and parsely, in a total of some sixteen tires. The leaves you can see at the bottom left of the picture are from Moringa trees. Wilus has three vegetable beds planted to Moringa.

Wilus has been a member of the crew responsible for the Road to Life Yard-Moringa project for three years. He lives in the community of Leodiyag.

Fedlens (left) and Wilner installing a gutter on Wilus's house. The 4" PVC pipe that we use for gutters in our rainwater collections systems, is sliced open on one side and slides in over the tin roofing. We attach the guttes to the roof with binding wire.

Wilus with the PVC pipe that directs the rainwater into the in-ground cistern that Wilus constructed. A few hours after we finished helping Wilus install the gutters, a downpour came, one of the first of the rainy season here in the Central Plateau.

Six of the eleven members of the Road to Life Yard crew have completed, or nearly completed, rainwater collection systems at their houses.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Some changes in format

A note just to check out if some changes I made in the format of the blog turned out. One change I made is to hopefully make it easier for folks to make comments about the post.

Would also like to know if Blogger has a way of keeping track of "hits."

Many blessings.


Friday, April 10, 2009

Garden Under the Cliffs

Caption A garden by Papay Creek, vibrant and extremely productive even five months into the dry season. To the far left are mango trees, in middle are bananas and sugarcane. A field of newly planted banans is in the foreground. To the botom right you can see a conservation canal which cuts across the base of the slope to the right of the photo. The cliffs are between 60 and 80 feet high. The land occupied by the producing bananas and sugarcane is around an acre and the newly planted bananas in the foreground occupy another acre or 3/4. Looking onto the garden, we are looking in a generally westerly direction. Double click the photo to view it more easily. The creek, not visible, is to the far left, beyond the mangos.

Approximate location (for Google Earth users): 19 09 20, -71 58 38

The Garden Under the Cliffs
Agame, one of the workers in MPP's Road to Life Yard/Moringa project, invited me to visit his uncle's garden this past Tuesday, together with his uncle. The garden is planted on land his uncle rented from a neighbor. It's nestled between Papay creek (not in the picture) and the cliffs you see in the photo above (you can double click on the photo to view it more easily). Agame's uncle has bulit a very simple earthen dam to backup the flow of the creek which provides enough water that he can rent a pump occaisionally to keep the bananas and sugarcane well watered. In addition,, the garden has two "seeps" at the base of the cliff. "Seeps" are like springs, but with a very slow flow of water. At least half of the irrigation comes from the two seeps, which he carefully directs into canals, then plastic pvc pipes and then into a simple garden hose that he uses to water bananas and sugar cane on a daily basis.
This farmer has also dug a meter deep, 10 meter long canal cutting across a slope that leads from the top of the cliffs down to the area newly planted to bananas. The canal catches soil washing down the slope in the heavy rains during the five to seven month rainy season (approximately May-October). Agame's uncle explained that the importance of catching this soil before it washes into his fields is because the soil from the slope is of much poorer quality than the riverine silts he has by the creek. If he lets that poor soil cover his good soil, production will be reduced. The canal also serves a secondary but equally as important function. As soil and rainwater flows into it, the canal helps conserve and concentrate the water, forcing it to seep into the ground, rather than running into the creek and being lost downstream. The water which is absorbed into the soil then becomes available during the dry season to bananas and other crops he plants downslope.
Based on his experience with the bananas which are in production right now, Agame's uncle can expect to harvest some five hundred banana "racemes" from his new banana plot this year, with a potential gross profit of some HTG 125,000, or around US$ 3,000. (About 50% of Haitian live on less than $US 1.00 a day, a total of less than $365.00 a year). This farmer has also produced vegetables and field beans on this small piece of land. In January he harvested a good crop of black beans which he is looking to sell in order to buy a small pump of his own. He didn't give us a total amount for the bananas he's harvested this year so far, but he did note that the sugarcane provided around HTG 2,500 (about $US 60.00) in one recent harvest.

Agame's uncle has never studied agronomy and has had very limited access to any kind of extension services. Agricultural credit is also extremely rare in Haiti. Everything this farmer is accomplishing is with resources he has had access to from within his own family together with his own ingenuity, driven and guided by his inherent love of farming. Despite impressions and declarations to the contrary, Haiti is not poor because it lacks resources, but because the resources it has are poorly used, often as a result of bad policies at national and international levels. One of the most important resources Haiti has is the know-how, ingenuity and strength of its own farmers.
MPP is working at the local level to help farmer's such as Agame's uncle find technology and resources that can they need to protect the land and to produce more food. But it is also working to change national and international policies which limit and undermine the hard work of these same farmers.

The Presbyterian Church (USA) has resources to provide information about how people in the US can help affect decisions made by the US government which in turn affect farmers such as Agame's uncle in Papay. Check out the Presbyterian Hunger Program site:

Many blessings.


Monday, March 30, 2009

Waiting for the rains

Guilto Orne, a member of the group "Tèt Ansanm" or "Head's Together", by his vegetable tires near his home just up from the Samanà river. Guilto is one of the "agricultural promoters" helping providing monitoring and follow up for the yard production projects sponsored by APB--Association of Planters of Bassin Zim.

Just a brief note to keep the blog a bit "fresh." Jenny and I are doing well, settling more and more into the new routines of a new house in a different community. We moved up the mountain about three miles from the community of Papay, where I had lived for four and a half years. We now live in Bassin Zim, where there are fewer roosters, fewer dogs and less traffic on the country road in front of our house. Each morning, around 5:30, I ride my bike, together with two or three other crewmembers, down the mountain to MPP's training center, where most of our work is going on. Around 8:30, Jenny drives down in the crew's Toyota Landcruiser to go to work at MPP's integrated health center, working in the medical lab.

In the lab right now, besides her regular work, Jenny is training a young woman, Moceline, in some of the basic lab techniques, so that Moceline can keep the lab going while Jenny is in Nicaragua during maternity leave. In order to help Moceline learn as quickly as possible, Jenny invited members from my crew to provide "free" stool samples, which Moceline will examine as part of her training. Ten days ago, or so, Moceline made the leap to being able to identify parasite "eggs" in the scope.

After several days of rains a few weeks ago, we have had nothing here in the Central Plateau, although I understand it is raining in Port au Prince. Those rains were apparently just a taste of what it might be like to finally move into the rainy season. After a week or so of no dust, and even some mud!, we are back to clouds of it--even the motorcycles raise them.

I need to get up home, so will sign off for now. If you see fit to offer prayers for us, please pray for Jenny's pregnancy to continue to be without serious problems, and continue to pray for the leaders of Haiti, and throughout the world--for wisdom in looking for ways to protect God's creation, and provide opportunities for all of God's children.

In Christ,


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Electrical, Medical, Painting Brigade--The party

The Electrical, Medical, Painting Brigade, continued.

These are more photos and descriptions from the trip my brother, Keith Hare, and three friends made January 22nd-1 February, 2009.

The party was the night before the group returned to Port au Prince and was a partly a celebration of Jenny and my marriage--the first time we publicly celebrated with friends from Haiti and specifically from MPP. The party was also a celebration of the first time I had family and friends come together to visit our work in Haiti.

Note: All photos are by Keith Hare, Bill Gettys Tim VanFleet. All rights reserved.

Friday night, the party. Fanahème Joachim, farmer, leader of MPP and now Jenny's and my new neighbor. Fanahème was the "MC" for the party, which included speeches, dances and a skit.

The entertainment was organized by the dance and theater group, Ibolele (ee bo lay lay) and included traditional, "folkloric" dances.

The skit was written by Dificil who plays a stock character he calls "Jokoy," a cantankerous old farmer who suffers high blood pressure, "sugar" (diabetes), "salt" (who knows) and "brak," which is a unique Creol word which means the food has no flavor at all. Jokoy is lying on the floor, his "wife " is by his side asking the Cuban doctor (played by me) what to do.

The feast. When Haitians put on a feast, it is a true expression of God's abundance. Jenny and I have been guests any number of times to these types of celebration, so it was nice to be able to finally be the hosts. Coordinating the meal was Elise, the woman who is in charge of MPP's kitchen, and of all of the organization's events. This was not an official MPP event, but MPP lent us all of the facilities and Elise agreed to put together the budget and take complete responsibility for cooking the food.
The party got high marks for being well-organized, for the quality and quantity of food and for the entertainment. Participants were generally disappointed, though, that after the meal, there was only limited dancing, and because the music ended at 11:00.

We moved in!!!

Jenny and I moved into the new house Friday, March 6th. We had a work day ("konbit") with over twenty friends and neighbors on Sunday, March 1st, cleaning the yard, weaving the mesh for the kitchen and porches, painting inside, finishing and improving the fence around the yard, and maybe two or three other chores. We started moving some of the furniture Tuesday, March 3rd, especially some furniture that had to be "re-configured" by two carpenter friends in order to fit the dimensions of the new rooms. Finally, Friday, we got most of the rest of the furniture up the mountain. Saturday, Sunday and Monday we gradually got the rest of it up, and now we are fairly well established. We still depend on our neighbors on the north side (Fanahème and Ygenia) for water and I still needs to move our vegetable tires up to the new house. I need to make a plan for the rest of the yard,too. The details are not all clear, but I hope to have a goat shed, a chicken shed, at least one simple cistern to collect rainwater, a filter system for bath and dish water and a lot of tires.

The Electrical, Medical, Painting Brigade

Back to the visit from my brother, Keith together with three friends--Bill Gettys, Tim VanFleet and Mary Beth Poland, 22 January-01 February. More pictures. (Note: All photos by Keith Hare, Bill Gettys or Tim VanFleet. All rights reserved)

Jezilio, one of the four carpenters who worked on Jenny and my new house. Bill Gettys was impressed with the quality of the craftmanship, particularly given the total lack of any sophisticated equipment.

Reno (left) talking with Mark about the purchases necessary for the new house. Reno was the master carpenter for the house.

South side of the new house. The new tin roofing covers the new porches that Jenny and I had built. The older tin is the original house. We have paint for painting the old tin roofing and we will have a roof painting "konbit" ("barn building" type activity) with friends and neighbors to prepare and paint the roof.

The two 50 Watt solar panels are at the very top of the house, one towards the right and one towards the left.

The controller, connecting the solar panels to the batteries and the batteries to the breaker box distributing the electricity to the lights, which are all 12 Volt DC bulbs. The box also send current to the inverter which turns the 12 Volt DC current into 120 Volt AC.

The breaker box which distributes the 120 Volt from the inverter to the receptacles in Mark's office. The inverter is screwed into the plywood below the box.

The six Volt batteries, two tied together for 12 Volt capacity. The batteries and the inverter were stolen before Jenny and I moved into the house. We replaced the batteries (although we still owe for the original ones) and we are using an inverter which Mark purchased for the Road to Life Yard project. The "blessing" of the theft was that we've found considerable ways to increase the security for the house.

Visit to Bassin Zim, Friday, the last day before the road trip back to Port au Prince.

Inside looking out from one of the caves up behind the waterfalls at Bassin Zim.

Inside the Bassin Zim cave

Madanm Vernal (right), Friday afternoon (January 30th), preparing food for the festival. Jenny and I decided to organize the party in order to celebrate our marriage, for the first time together with MPP friends. It was also a party to officially welcome and celebrate the first visit to MPP by a group of family and friends.
More photos of the party will be in another post.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Tire Garden Zone in the Road to Life Yard Project

"Site Kawoutchou." One of the areas managed by the Road to Life Yard Crew. Octave Justime (center of photo) is responsible for managing this area. Octave has something over 100 old tires in production.

Photo by Agame Elfraïs, all rights reserved

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Information on ladybugs and aphids

This post may not interest many folks, but it is really important for the work we're doing in the Road to Life Yard.

We have a problem in our Moringa plantings with aphids. We've discovered that ladybugs control them, but it often takes a good bit of a while for the ladybugs to get the upperhand. So, I sent the question to ECHO in North Fort Myers, FL (ECHO stands for Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization), and bingo! I got this information.

So read and enjoy, if this kind of thing interestst you. Or, just marvel at the kinds of connections that exist.

From a Grad student at UFL

My research interests are in enhancing natural enemies through habitat manipulation so I was excited to get your email [from the technial team at ECHO]. I would recommend starting with intercropping a nectar and pollen source or planting hedges along the perimeter of the growing area —You could interplant an insectary hedgerow or ground cover when the Moringa is coppiced to so the insectary species gets a good start.
Sunflowers are often used as an insectary hedgerow in Florida and California in vegetable production systems—In Cuba , I visited a farm where individual sunflower plants were planted throughout the garden to serve as an attractant for coccinellids in particular. I am not sure how well this worked in Cuba , but I know that (3-6ft wide) hedges of sunflowers have been used successfully to attract a host of insect predators in conventional and organic operations FL & CA. For our local organic growers, sunflowers are a major cash crop as an ornamental (people pay $10 at the Gainesville farmer’s market for a bouquet of Sunflowers)—so the hedgerows are multipurpose and offer significant economic benefit in addition to a their “eco-system service.” It would be great to find a synonymous hedgerow species that offers both economic and ecological benefit for Haitian farmers. I’m coming to Haiti this fall and would be delighted to do some investigating—in the meantime let me know if you have any suggestions. Sunflower seeds could be a secondary benefit as well.
If you google “insectary plant” you’ll get a huge list of plants—however most of them are northern species and only a few will really do well during Haiti’s cool season. The most common hedgerow species promoted to enhance the activity of natural enemies include: dill (Anethum graveolens L.), coriander/cilantro (Coriandrum sativum L.), buckwheat (Fagropyrum esculentum) is used cool season cover crop in FL and Coccinellids like it, sweet alyssum (Lobularia maritime)(definitely northern—we can’t grow this very well in FL, but look at the flower structure), Prostrate Knotweed Polygonum aviculare (a low-growing member of the buckwheat family and present in the Caribbean as a weed), and Phacelia tanacetifolia (native to the southwest).
Several organic websites promote members of the parsley family, Apiaceae; mustard family, Cruciferae (we’ve observed large populations of Ladybirds in wild mustard here), the mint family, and some members of Compositae (such as Achillea & Artemisia—Cory Thede is growing Artemesia spp. near Limbe for medicinal purposes I believe). Sustainable ag folks in California and Michigan seem to have the best resources regarding hedgerows. This is a link to a publication about hedgerows by the Community Alliance with Family Farmers . They have a long list of hedgerow species and that indicates which plants are best for hosting natural enemies. Some of these plants do well in the tropics—a few may already be present in Haiti .
I would start with sunflowers and additionally look for local flowering weeds that have characteristics similar to these known insectary plants. Small flowered low growing weeds may offer more nectar and resources than showier flowers, so keep an eye out for the more “humble” species. The insectary hedgerow(s) should provide an alternate source of non-pest prey, pollen and nectar for natural enemies throughout the year, so you’ll likely have to plant or selectively maintain a rotation of insectary plants. Ideally the alternate source of prey would be a species that is not interested in your Moringa, but will build up populations of generalist predators and aphid parasitoids that spill over into adjacent crops. Another option would be to intercrop with a known aphid host like beans or cowpea—which would perform well in the filtered shade of the Moringa.
Additional techniques you may want to incorporate into your system to enhance natural enemies include:
Strip harvesting: Alternate rows for harvest, this leaves somewhere for the natural enemies to go when they’re host plant has been chopped down. You may already be doing this, but the more conservation techniques you employ, the more likely you’ll have success.
Alternatively, if you have weedy areas/ nectar sources nearby or interspersed within the Moringa, you can manipulate the movement of natural enemies, by mowing/cutting back weedy resources to encourage the dispersal of natural enemies onto your infested Moringa plants.
Aphids usually occur in clumps and will quickly appear and just as suddenly disappear due to predation, parasitism (parasitzed aphids look swollen and bronze—eventually a minute wasp will emerge), naturally occurring fungal outbreaks, declining host-plant quality, changes in weather, or dispersal etc. They prefer sheltered areas out of the wind, so perhaps even thinning the Moringa as you harvest to get more airflow through the plants would help.
Another option that has been promoted in IPM programs in Honduras and in the literature to some degree is the use of food sprays to attract natural enemies. Water mixed with honey or other unrefined and refined sugars have been demonstrated to attract predatory beeltes, ants, and wasps… The idea is simple—spray a food source for the beneficial insects to attract them to the plot and nourish them while they start looking for prey/hosts. There are some obvious potential problems—1.ants, 2.fungus, 3. Sticky-messy. However, this is a potential low-tech solution that might warrant some investigation…if not for the morninga system, perhaps for a vegetable crop or corn.
Rearing Insects: Ladybird beetles & lacewings to a lesser degree are fairly easy to rear, keeping them fed is the greatest challenge. Because of the ephemeral nature of aphids—and the quantities you’ll need to rear a colony of predators, you should plan to keep a colony of aphids to supply your brooding beetles. Ladybugs will eat pollen, and honey but in my experience they develop much faster on aphids than pollen and honey is a sticky mess that always brings ants. A few tips: We hung pieces of folded black plastic trashbag in the cage to provide a substrate for oviposition; provide ample food—well fed beeltes lay more eggs; keep it clean (get rid of dead insects etc.); from time to time add field collected adults to your colony for breeding—this keeps genetic diversity high & prevents inbreeding problems.
Releasing Insects: If you have the choice, release larvae-not adults. Use an artist’s paint brush to move larvae as they are very delicate. Alternatively you can release eggs. Larvae are voracious and will consume more aphids, mites, whiteflies, thrips etc. during their development than as adults. Additionally, they are unable to fly, so dispersal is not a problem until they become adults. With sufficient prey in the system, (either on the moringa or insectary crops etc.) adults will hopefully stick around, reproduce, and prevent further outbreaks. However, in the absence of sufficient prey, adult coccinellids will disperse. A border crop or intercrop that attracts aphids (preferably aphid species that are not interested in Moringa) may enhance the success rates of a release and establishment.
In Cuba , I observed some small-scale urban gardeners rearing coccinellids and lacewings in homemade cages. It can be done, but requires work that might otherwise be avoided through habitat manipulation alone. I am curious about Wayne Niles’experience. Rearing beneficial organisms certainly has great potential as a teaching tool for students and interested farmers. We did some interviews in the Bohoc-LaJuene area around HAFF in November to find out how farmers manage pests. None of the farmers we interviewed seem to have any knowledge of beneficial insects, although some mentioned that birds picked off caterpillars and snails from their gardens. Most of the vegetable growers were using broad spectrum conventional pesticides and fertilizers. Some were using a combination of conventional and natural pesticides (they learned about them from MPP), but complained that they required too much labor to make themselves.
Other aphid predators to look for: (I experimented with inserting photo links)
Lacewings—their immatures are sometimes called trashbugs because some species carry plant debris on their back while they scour plants, looking for aphids, mites etc. They are voracious aphid predators. Larvae
Syrphid fly/Hover fly: Adults are attracted to nectar sources and worm-like larvae are effective aphid predators. Syrphid fly larvae
Minute Pirate bug—Orius spp. Adults and nymphs are generalist predators of small prey (thrips, whiteflies, aphids, mites, etc.). They are associated with flowering plants especially sunflowers. Here are some links to photos: orius nymph;
Orius adult feeding on whitefly nymphs
Parasitoids: Minute wasps lay their eggs inside aphids. Aphids that have been Parasitized are called mummies and look like swollen, bronze, aphid-sized balls.

I hope this information is helpful. Let me know how it goes!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Work on the House

This is an unfinished Post, and will eventually have photos of the electrical system that the crew put in at Jenny and my new house.

We're hoping to move in by the first week of March.

The new house

The marketplace in Hince, on market day. Not directly related to the house, but an interesting photo.

This move is typical for market day, but should not be tried in the U.S.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Working with Wilus and Wilner--The Cistern

Looking out over the cliffs towards Basen Zim on the wayto Wilus and Wilner's homes.
Wilus and Wilner live in a community called Leodigyan (Leo dee yag),
about six miles from the MPP center as the crow flies.
The route we had to take in the truck and then
on foot is closer to fourteen miles.

The View: Saman river flowing from the Bassin Zim waterfall

Wilus's home garden. In the very back are Papaya trees. In front of the papaya are the vegetable tires, with chives, hot peppers and green peppers. In front of the tires are two beds of Moringa trees, which provide sprouts on a weekly basis to add to rice or corn porridge.

Tim and Wilus mixing sand and cement to begin the process of plastering the walls of the cisterns. When all goes well, the walls take no more than three bags of cement, 10 wheelbarrows of sand and about 60 gallons of water for a cistern that is 3 m X 3 m by 1 m deep.

Mary Beth and Alexander are watching. Alexander is an agronomist who recently finished his degree and is spending a month with the Road to Life Yard crew as an intern.

Tim and Alexander keeping the mortar wet while Mark and Wilner finish plastering the walls. Wilus is on the far right, working on former the border for the cistern. If all goes well, this cisternwill hold more than 2000 gallons of water.

Visiting Wilner's house, just down the path from Wilus.

Wilner's home garden. On the far left is a tire with hot pepper seedlings. The tire in the middle has green peppers and the tire on the right has amaranth, a plan used widely as a spinach. Alexander, Wilner and Mark are looking at Wilner's tire with African redworms.

Wilner with a handfull of redworms and redworm compost (vermicompost).

Thanks for dropping in. I'll try to add new postings tomorrow to finish off the trip--the work on Jenny and my new house, Bassin Zim waterfall and the caves, the party and the trip to Port au Prince in the truck.



Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Electrical, Medical, Painting Brigade

Getting Folks to Haiti and to Papay
(Note: Photos in this post were taken by Keith Hare, Bill Gettys and Tim VanFleet)

Dr. Tracee Karaffa, Bill Gettys and me (Mark) at St. Joseph Home for Boys. Tracee and her group were finishing up a week of medical work when Keith and Bill arrived on Thursday and Dr. Tim Van Fleet and Nurse Mary Beth Poland arrived on Friday.

Charlie, one of the boys at St. Joseph Home for Boys, during the dance-theater presentation Friday night.

The crew--Jenny (left), Mary Beth Poland (behind Jenny), Bill Gettys and Tim VanFleet, before getting in the MAF prop plane to fly the twenty minutes to Hinche.

A slight delay while the folks in charge of the national airport figure out how to get a plane with a flat tire off the exit way. NOT an MAF plane.

A view from the air of the highway leading up over the first chain of mountains, on the way to Hinche and Papay, in the Central Plateau. Fenes, the MPP driver and I took this route at around 4:00 AM, arriving in Hinche at 7:00, plenty of time to pick up the crew at 10:30 when they arrived.

Arriving at the guesthouse at MPP's National Training Center.

Part of the welcoming committee, Jenel and Belinda, two of the children of Marimode St. Amour, one of the women working with the Road to Life Yard crew.

Sunday, after the church service at the local Catholic Chapel, the Papay soccer team played a demonstration match, originally organized in honor of Mom and Dad who were supposed to be on the trip. I (Mark) am the "Godparent" of the team, which has been a lot of fun and a good excuse to stop working and go to a game, or take the team in the Landcruiser to where they have a game. Jenny often comes to the games when they are at home.

The Clinic Work

Jenny with our neighbor friend, Laura (in Jenny's arms), and Mark, discussing with Nurse Marie (far right) the best strategy for using the services of Dr. Tim VanFleet and Mary Beth Poland in MPP's integrated health clinic. Jenny suggested to Marie that the pair work two days, Wednesday and Thursday, after the crew had put in some new receptacles and painted the laboratory. Nurse Marie agreed and told us how we would organize the patients. I agreed to be the main translator.

Monday morning's work. Jenny with new receptacles, conveniently located so that she doesn't have to use extension cords, or overextend the cords, on expensive lab equipment.

Monday afternoon's work. The lab is painted a bright yellow, making it a more cheerful place to work, not to mention the lighter color makes everything easier to see. This wall was artistically designed by Jenny and Mary Beth.

The finished product.

Jenny back at work, in the newly painted and electrically improved lab. Just in time for Tim and Mary Beth to see patients on Wednesday and Thursday.

Bill Gettys, finishing up the gallon of paint in Nurse Marie's pharmacy.

Nurse Marie in the clinic's pharmacy and me, after two days of translating. Not pictured are Nurse Tyresiana, Nurse Miriam and Louity. Louity and Mary Beth worked together to take basic data with the patients who came and Miriam and Tim worked together doing the official diagnosis, with me translating. In two days, we saw more than 80 patients. There were no really dramatic cases, fortunately for me. But there were a number of interesting ones, including a "clicking" kind of sound in the chest each evening (Tim thought it might be related to the patients acid indigestion) and a "growth" on one side of the body, just above the hip (Tim diagnosed it as being some extra muscle from the woman carrying her very healthy son always on the same side). The patient I appreciated the most, though, was the older man, over 70 years old, who's main complaint that with age his feet had become sensitive and he couldn't work barefoot in his fields during the hot time of the day. Boots are not an option, so Tim's best shot was that the man would have to learn to work in flipflops.

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