Sunday, December 23, 2012

Making It Happen in the mountains of Verettes

December 6th through the 13th, while I was in Papay, Hinche doing paper work, Herve Delisma and Lucien Joseph headed to Verettes in the Artibonite Valley to continue to provide hands-on help with designing and implementing yard gardens in the homes of the seven local technicians and their seven associates, whom we began training in late September.

The first local technician they worked with on this trip was Elcenou. Elcenou lives seven very difficult kilometers (about 4 miles) up at the top of a mountain in a community called Decomb. The coordinates for Elcenou's house are:  18.99178º N and 72.52789º W.  Here are some pictures from that work. Photos by Herve Delisma, all right reserved.

Please also check out the photos from Herve and Gultho's work in Léogâne. The link is here: Mapping Yard Gardens in Léogâne

Elcenous (El say nu) Louicius (right in purple shorts) working with Lucien Joseph (left in white shirt), Givenson Laurent (left in bright green shirt) and Alex Louis Paul (behind Lucien) to build his third vegetable tire bench. Behind in the photo are bananas and other crops planted in Elcenous's yard.

Lucien checking out Elcenous's original vegetable benches. Ten tires are planted with seeds of a variety of vegetables and covered with banana leaves to help maintain the moisture while the seeds sprout.

To get his tires up to his house, Elcenous has to manage a very difficult route. If he uses motorized transportation, he will need to pay a motorcycle to carry the tires up the mountain on a trip that takes between three and four hours, one-way. If he uses a mule, donkey or horse, he will travel a route that is even more difficult, but shorter.
This is part of the route that all of the folks in Decombe take to get anything up or down the mountain. In this case, the group is taking someone from the community down the mountain for medical treatment. The person couldn't walk, so family and neighbors organized to carry them down on the stretcher you see here.

Besides the challenge of transportation, Elcenous and his neighbors face the daunting task of going for water. This is the stream bed of a small spring that is the only consistent source of water for a large number of people in the surrounding communities.
On our first trip to Decomb back in May 2012, community members told us that the spring has folks collecting water almost twenty-four hours a day.

Women and young women laboriously collecting "clean" water from a hole dug in the sand by the spring, to help filter out the worst of the muck.
Elcenous (right) helping a neighbor build his own vegetable tire bench. Despite the exceptional challenges of living in Decomb, Elcenous is determined to put into practice some of the ideas he has learned in the Yard Garden program that has begun in three farmer organizations in Verettes--ODEPE, OGAD and MRPST. And now, only a few weeks after he began the process in his own yard, Elcenous is already beginning to work with family, friends and neighbors. The community group that Elcenous leads has collected funds to purchase thirty old tires (at about $1.25 a shot). Now they are searching for ways to get those tires up the mountain to Decomb.

In the United States, we often imagine that people with limited resources have nothing to offer the people around them. We believe, I think, that folks like these must be so mired in their own despair, that they could never even imagine lending a hand to someone in the same situation. Elcenous is one example of a local farmer living in extremely limiting circumstances who nevertheless has a vision for not just his family, but all of the families with whom he and his family live. And he has the strength to begin making that vision a reality.

Pray with me for the work of people such as Elcenous, who with clear visions, strong bodies and strong wills are sowing the seeds of their own resurrection.

Amen and Amen

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I appreciated reading of the activities. Your photography is outstanding and help to tell the story. I was especially drawn to the photo of the villagers carrying their ill neighbor/family member down the path to seek medical attention. May the Lord continue to richly bless your and Jenny's work and life, and your growing family.
Richard Hunt

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