All in all, it was an incredible trip. Thanks, Buzz! And thanks to the folks of Grace Covenant for supporting him.
The last two weeks of May, Buzz Durham, from Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church in Asheville, North Carolina, came and worked with us on the hydraulic ram pump (Clemson design) and on biochar (What is biochar?) in Haiti.
Our work actually started in Santo Domingo, DR, where Buzz and I spent two half days looking for polyethylene irrigation pipe. Around 11 o'clock during out second half day, we finally found what we were looking for, at an irrigation supply store (and not at the plumbing supplies places where we had been looking). For your edification, what we found that was clearly what we wanted was 4 Atmosphere pipe, 63 mm (the closest in metric to 2") black polyethylene flexible pipe, at about $US 0.75 a foot ($RD 90.00 a meter). This pipe is half as expensive as PVC SCH 40 2" and has much better potential for surviving the ups and downs of Haitian water systems. They also had available the equivalent of 1/2" poly flex pipe for $RD 15.00 a meter. That would be maybe $US 0.12 a foot. We are talking exciting prices here. This is one of at least two places in SD that supply this pipe. Word from our handler at the supply company was that the pipe is now being producing in the Dominican Republic. Details, however, were not forthcoming. Tantalizing.
The trick will be, of course, to purchase in the Dominican capital and get the pipe to the border and into Haiti. A large truck and all sorts of contacts would be helpful here. Put those issues on your prayer list. We did get a 100 m of 6 Atmosphere pipe as far as Jenny and my house in Barahona. How will I get that to Wilner's house? No ideas yet.
Crossing the border, Sunday, May 19th, was a chore. Buzz can tell you about it some time.
You may remember that during Buzz's first trip to work with us, we set up a pump at Wilner Exil's home (Installing Wilner's pump in Leodiague. On Monday PM, May 20th, we headed up to spend the afternoon with Wilner looking at his system and evaluating how we could improve it, given we did not actually have the flexible pipe that would have resolved most of Wilner's problems. After working with Wilner on figuring out those issues, we headed back down the mountain and home to Bassin Zim.
Tuesday AM, May 21st, Buzz did a workshop for the Road to Life Yard and Moringa project crew on the pump, on making alternative charcoal using a system developed by MIT's D-Lab, and on turning that charcoal into Biochar. We had about 15 participants.
In the afternoon, we headed back up to Wilner's house and worked on his system, going with a decent group of volunteers from the Road to Life Yard crew.
Thursday AM, May 23rd, we headed to Verettes, to work with ODEVPRE, OGAD and MRPST. Papay, Bassin Zim, Leodiague, all these areas are part of the Central Plateau, where MPP (Peasant's Movement of Papaye) is organized. ODEVRPE, OGAD and MRPST are farmer's organization working in Verettes, a municipality in the Artibonite province.These are also the three farmer organizations with which I am working in Verettes, as part of FONDAMA's yard garden program. FONDAMA (Haitian Foundation of Hands Together) is a member of the Presbyterian Hunger's Joining Hands program (Joining Hands). Alphabet soup, I know.
Thursday PM we went to Doublet, a community just outside of Verettes, to take measurements for possible hydraulic ram pumps. Playing with water ranks right up there with working with soil.
Friday AM, May 24th, Buzz did his second workshop, with about thirty participants coming from all three organizations. It was a grand success, due in no small way to the dynamic leaders that kept the group singing and moving and generally alive and alert. It was a lot of fun.
Friday PM, I did administrative work with the local technicians from ODEVRPRE, OGAD and MRPST whom we are training in yard garden techniques..
Saturday AM, May 25th, we headed to Léogâne to do everything all over again, but even more so. We had the great good luck to be able to go with two young men from ODEVPRE, Alex Paul and Givenson Laurent. All of us stayed with two leaders in the Léogâne organization, ODEPOL. Boston Jn Gilles was our main host, but Prezime helped out as well. Both live just outside of Léogâne in the sugarcane community of Darbonne.
Sunday AM, May 26th, we crossed the Grand River of Lèogâne and headed into the mountains with Luccène Sommervil. Luccène is the local technician who works with us as we monitor the progress of the other local technicians. Ask Buzz sometime about the first crossing that day. The mule helped on the second one.
Our stop for the night was at Luccène's house, about four hours up, going from less than 300 feet above sea level to over 2700 feet. Buzz observed that in his annual hikes on the Appalachian trail, 1,000 feet elevation difference was the most he had done so far.
Monday AM, May 27th, we took measurements for a possible pump at a spring 150 feet downhill from Luccène's home. In the PM, we dropped about 1,000 feet to the home of Esterne Joseph, where we spent the night.
Tuesday PM, May 28th, we took measurements for a possible pump at a spring some 750 feet from Esterne's house. In the afternoon, about 1:00 PM, we began the epic climb down the mountains, back to our hosts' homes in Darbonne.
Wednesday, May 29th, we were supposed to head back up a mountain to check out Serge and Enith's homes for pump possibilities, but fatigue had gotten the best of us, and we stayed at Boston's home and did wash and prepared for the workshop on Thursday. We also sent Alex Paul and Givenson Laurent on their way back to Verettes.
Thursday AM, May 30th, Buzz held his third workshop on the hydraulic ram pump, MIT D-lab charcoal, and biochar. We had about fifteen Haitian participants, and a group of 17 or so North Americans visiting as part of an MBF (Medical Benevolence Foundation) vision trip. In addition to Buzz, we had Berrique from Verettes who came down to talk with workshop participants on using the charcoal powder to make briquettes. Briquettes was the original design for the MIT D-lab charcoal. Berrique came into Darbonne Wednesday PM to help us on Thursday.
Thursday PM, we headed to Port au Prince to rest. Buzz traveled with Rhoda Beutler, who had come from north of Port au Prince to attend the workshop and talk with Buzz about rocket stoves (What is a rocket stove? and Power Point demonstration).
Friday AM, May 31st, we went looking for polyethylene irrigation pipes in Port au Prince. We found two sources for plumbing polyethylene pipe and they both said they would send us quotes for getting the kind that we are looking for. But that has not yet panned out. So as of now, we are back to looking to Santo Domingo.
Saturday, June 1st, we back across the border and home to Barahona. Buzz spent Sunday with us and went to Santo Domingo in Carbie Tours and then in taxi to the airport on his own Monday, June 3rd. Late in the evening he sent me an e-mail that said, "Home."
And that is the textual summary of the trip with Buzz. Next, the photos, which should be far more interesting.
Photos by Mark Hare, Herve Delisma and Buzz Durham, all right reserved.
Monday, May 22nd
Tuesday, May 23rd
Marimaude's Vetgetable Tires). Buzz suggested adding about 1/2 a bucket of this mix for every two buckets of soil.
Problems with the line)
Thursday, May 25th
Friday, May 26th
When we asked the teams to work together to provide evaluations, they made excellent suggestions, most of which were related to the next time we should provide hands on practice with the pump, the same way we had with the charcoal and the biochar.
Sunday, May 26th
Monday AM, May 27th
Luccène has close to 150 trees, "kapab"(Colubrina arborescens), in a tree nursery that is part of his yard garden space.
Monday PM, 27 May
Tuesday AM, May 28th
Tuesday PM, May 28th
After finishing the measurements and eating lunch, we headed down the mountain. We got to the main route before the rain hit, which was a relief. But it kept getting more complicated as we got farther down the mountain. When we got to the Grand Rive of Léogâne, it was in flood, and we had to climb back up part of the mountain and ease our way through some new hills to find our way out without having to cross the big river. How was all that? As my brother Keith says when we ask him how his flight was, "We made it, so, it was good."
A shout out to Herve Delima and Givenson Laurent
Thursday AM, May 30th
1) Find the funds and, hopefully, people who want to be part of this adventure.
2) Find the pipe, hopefully in Haiti.
3) Figure a way to get the supplies up the mountain to the remote communities where Bruno, Luccène, Esterne, Maurice, etc. live.
4) Build and test the pumps with Bruno, Luccène, Esterne, Maurice, etc.