After spending almost a week in Léogâne, Herve, Gultho and I headed to Papaye, Hinche on Saturday, May 19th. Sunday, I got together with Wilner Exil, a leader of the committee that is promoting yard gardens in the Carida Marketplace area, in the mountains of Bassin Zim. I wanted the committee to receive folks from the grassroots organization from Lèogâne, ODEPOL (Organisation pour le Développement de Orange-Pâque de Lèogâne: Organization for the Development Orange-Pâque of Léogâne), to show them the work the rural families are doing. Wilner immediately got together with the committee and began organizing the visit.
The group of seventeen men and women from Léogâne arrived Tuesday afternoon, May 22nd, and Wilner and I welcomed them to MPP's training center. Some participants had left their homes in the mountains at 3:00 AM to begin the journey.
MPP (Mouvman Peyizan Papay) is the grassroots organization working in Haiti's Central Plateau since 1973. It is formed of smallholder farmers and landless rural families. I have been serving with MPP as a mission co-worker of the Presbyterian Church (USA) since 2004.
After settling in and seeing some of the work we have been doing at the center, the group gathered again and Wilner presented a seminar on the importance and uses of Moringa (Moringa oleifera). Even after a long hard day of traveling, Wilner reports that the group was excited about the moringa talk The next day, around 7:30 AM, I dropped the group off as close as possible to the first house the were to visit--Gultho Orné's home. Gultho had been with me on both trips to Léogâne and had talked about his yard garden as part of our presentation on the yard garden program, so it was exciting to be able to have the group see his house.
I went and dropped the truck off at Bassin Zim waterfall and then walked to meet the group at the second house they visited, Appoleon Jacque's home.
From where I dropped folks off at 7:30 AM until they got to the Bassin Zim waterfall (Google Earth coordinates, 19º 13' 13.63" N, 71º 58' 56.37" W) around 4:00 PM, the group traveled on foot, visiting homes in Seramon, Matbonithe, Marilapa and Leodiague, all part of the Carida Marketplace area. We had dinner at my house in Guanithe, Bassin Zim (19º 12' 27.21" N, 71º 58' 55.73" W). As we waited for dinner, Wilner and I did a simple evaluation, asking what folks had seen that was remarkable, and also what we could do better in the future for other groups. To my surprise, they said "walk slower," but not a single participant said "walk less."
Here are some photos from the day's visit, with some of the coordinates if you would like to look up the houses on Google Earth. Or pop down and visit the folks yourself! (Photos by Mark Hare and Wilner Exil, all rights reserved).