Thursday, October 4, 2012

Time with family, Time for work

All in all it has been a very good two and a half weeks. The third week of September was spent working, and walking, in the mountains of Leogane, working hand in hand with two families beginning to start their yard garden systems. The last week of September, we held a workshop for the folks from Verette (Artibonite) at the Colladère Cooperative north of Hinche. We worked with the participants on the basic techniques they need to begin (and in several cases, improve) their yard gardens. We will be following up with the group from Léogâne and the group from Verette at the beginning of November.

But what was the best thing about the last two and a half weeks was that Jenny and Keila and Annika were in Haiti with me for the last twelve days or so. Most of that time we were together in our home in Bassin Zim, but Monday afternoon (October 1st), we slid down the road to Mirebalais, where we spent two nights in a nice hotel (Wozo Plaza) and all day Tuesday up near Saut D'eau, a gorgeous set of waterfalls just west of the city. Our friend Jan Jan Hedé helped us organize that trip.

Here are a few pictures (photos by Mark Hare and Jenny Bent, all rights reserved):

Mark and Jenny with daughters, Keila and Annika, sitting in the waterfall below the Saut D'eau waterfalls just west of Mirebalais.

At our home in Bassin Zim. Keila playing with her Kiki, a friend from when she was less than a year old and she (and Jenny and I) lived in Bassin Zim. Kiki is the youngest son of Fanaheme and Ygenia, our neighbors to the north.

Kiki with Annika. Something about the environment helped our girls slide quickly into the life of the immediate neighborhood where we live. Kiki is a gentle kid, so that certainly may help.

Keila with Francesca, the daughter of our neighbors to the south,Fedlens and Georgli.

Workshop participants from Verette learning about redworms from Marimode St. Amour (center, with pink blouse). In the workshop, held at MPP's Colladère Cooperative, we also worked with participants on SALT (Sloping Agricultural Land Technology), compost construction, vegetable bed preparation, building vegetable beds, making natural insecticides and creating the soil mix for the vegetable tires (3 parts decent soil, two parts crushed manure and one part sand).

In the municipal section of Pâque, high in the mountains. Wilner (middle) and Gultho (right) helping Bruno Sené (left), a program participant, set up a bench for his first vegetable tires. Wilner and Gultho are members of the Road to Life Yard crew who came with me to Léogâne to provide hands on training. To get his three tires to his house, Bruno walked for over five hours with the tires on his back.

Walking in the mountains of Lèogâne, Municipal Section Pâque. The interesting thing about this walk is that we walked from Bruno's house to Lucsen's, the next closest, walking for an hour and a quarter, without leaving Pâque. This gave us some idea of what we are actually trying to do--something surely only possible by the grace of God.

Lucsen Sommervil, the second participant from Pâque, working with Wilner to fill out a form stating at least four goals for his yard garden system. Each participant must fill out this form, as well as develop a yard plan, drawn approximately to scale and showing the changes they want to make. We did not have time to help Lucsen with his vegetable tire bench, but he already carried five tires up the mountain to his house.

Vista from the Saut D'eau waterfall.  Haiti has many difficult aspects that make the work challenging, but there is also so much grace and beauty. It is a good place to work. Being here with my family was stressful at times, but ultimately a wonderful experience, making it easier to work with an open heart.

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