A walk in the mountains of Léogâne--Part I: Orange-Pâque
Monday, May 14th, Boston Jean Gilles, the president of ODEPOL (Organisation pour le Développement de Orange-Pâque de Lèogâne: Organization for the Development Orange-Pâque of Léogâne), led us up into the mountains to meet with an assembly of farmer groups in his home sector of Pâque. The walk was extremely informative as well as very good exercise. The walk took about five hours, starting from Fayette, a small community about eight miles east from Lèogâne, right by the Grand Rivière de Lèogâne. Here are some of the pictures. They are generally high resolution, so take time to click on the ones that interest you most to see more detail. (Photos by Mark Hare and Herve Delisma, all rights reserved). For Google Earth users, you can check out the area around 18º 26' 22.05" N and 72º 29' 17.95" W.
Grand Rivière de Léogâne, winding its way up into the heart of the heart of the mountans. The beauty of the Léogâne moutains is extraordinary. This photo was about an hour into the hike.
Masive landslide caused by the earthquake January 12th, 2010. The
Lèogâne area was at the epicenter of the quake, which did massive damage
in the mountains, as well as in the cities. Boston reports that the
quake leveled many rural houses, most of the rural schools, as well as
crushing many farmers to death as mountainsides literally clashed
togethere in the worst of the quake's violence. Remote sectors such as Pâque, unreachable by motorized vehicles, received no aid of any kind from any of the major agencies after the quake, with the important exception of assistance from PDA (Presbyterian Disaster Agency) which helped FONDAMA provide seeds to members of ODEPOL. FONDAMA is the Haitian network of grassroots organizations working within the framework of the PC(USA) program, Joining Hands ( http://gamc.pcusa.org/ministries/joininghands/).
Ecôle Ste Marguerite de Latounel, one of four schools of the Haitian Episcopal Diocese, serving the children of the extensive municipal section of Pâque. More than two years after the quake, the rural schools and churches are still untouched. Rebuilding these schools would be a great challenge for some athletic group of university students. Any takers?
A farmer in his mountain field. This is a part of the world that includes the concept of a farmer falling out his/her field.
A snack bar established on the main route that students take to and from school. Families in these mountains are forced to send their children to schools two hours or more away by foot, each way. Again, anyone willing to take on the rural schools as a project?
Boston Jean Gilles, climbing up the mountain with us. When we are in Lèogâne, we stay with Boston who lives in a rented room in a house in Darbonne, about six miles east of Lèogâne's central urban area. Boston spends many days a month climbing into the mountans to help farmer groups organize and work together. He was trained in community organization in 2008 by MPP at the center in Papay, Hinche. MPP (Mouvman Peyizan Papay) is a grassroots movement of smallholder farmers and landless rural families founded in 1973. MPP is associated with ODEPOL through the Joining Hands network, FONDAMA.
Herve Delisma, the team member responsible for helping with logistical support for our trip, including photograpy when necessary. Herve is a native of Port au Prince, who now lives near Papaye, Hinche. Herve's wife, Kekett, and all of Kekett's family are members of MPP
Gultho Orné, during a brief water break. Gultho provided a key element of our presentation, talking about his own yard garden at his home near the community of Twa Wòch, outside of Hinche. Gultho has been involved with MPP's Road to Life Yard and Moringa project for more than three years. When he presents his work, using photos on my laptop, he is unsophisticated and extremely effective.
Me, climbing, climbing, climbing. I carried my own pack for most of the way, including the laptop, but for the last hour, I did switch with Gultho. His bag only had treated water for the trip, as well as a few clothes. Photo by Boston Jean Gilles.