Monday, September 29, 2014
This past July and August Herve Delisma was busy. Herve, more commonly known as "Tiga," is my associate in the MPP-FONDAMA yard garden program. After getting home at the end of June from working for around two weeks with me, Herve hopped in the project truck on July 6th and the driver took him and two assistants to Léogâne, to begin an eight day intensive visit to the homes of yard garden participants in the mountains of Léogâne, helping the families plan the work in their yards, and doing mid-year evaluations of their work. The team, made up of Lucien Joseph (Papay, MPP) and Mathurin Sainté (from Verettes) finished on Monday, July 14th and headed back to their respective homes.
The last week of July, Herve began preparing for a series of on-site workshops in the mountains of Bayonnais, Gonaïves. On Sunday, August 3rd, he headed out again with the project truck, this time with three additional team members, Marimaud St Amour, Givenson Laurent and Lucien Joseph. The workshops that this team presented were partly to reinforce the capacities of members of MPB (Farmer Organization of Bayonnais) already working with yard gardens, but their main focus was to introduce neighbors and family members of the current practitioners to the yard gardening ideas in a formal context--reinforcing the work current practitioners are doing as they reach out to share their new knowledge.
Tiga and his crew taught the participants how to build vegetable beds, create soil mix for the vegetable tires, care for African red worms and make organic insecticide from sour oranges, onion, garlic, neem leaves (Azadirachta indica), vegetable oil and laundry soap. The team traveled from site to site, carrying red worms and some of the insecticide ingredients as they went. The local MPB team members had to provide tools, manure, tires and space for the workshop, as well as coordinate food preparation. Each of the local team members was also responsible for choosing the family members and neighbors who participated in the respective workshops.
The fourth and final workshop was on Friday, August 8th. When I arrived early morning on Saturday, August 9th to meet with Herve's team and MPB's yard garden team, I was astounded by how positive each and every one of MPB's team members were as they evaluated the workshop facilitators. I had had every confidence that Tiga would do the best job he could and I also had a great deal of confidence in all of the team members he chose. But, being an odd sort of pessimist, I assumed that nearly everything would go badly anyway. Instead, nearly everything went exceptionally well. Viljean Louis, the coordinator for MPB, was pleased as well and that was the final and the best result. Our work with this yard garden program only makes sense if what we do helps the farmer organizations with which we work become stronger. Because these are the groups through which our Creator is winding and weaving, working to lead Haiti into a new future.
Photos by Herve Delisma and Givenson Laurent. Used by permission.
Visiting yard gardens in Léogâne. Herve (white shirt) talking with Esterne Joseph (middle, green shirt) and Libren (far left, striped shirt) about the excellent work that Libren and his family are doing. Libren is one of the second generation yard gardeners, introduced to the ideas by Esterne. Libren has a patch of medicinal herbs to his right. He also has the area planted to flowers. In the tires there are hot peppers and eggplant. The community is Kabwach in the Léogâne municipal sector of Orange. N 18.43998, W 72.51151
SALT hedgerows coming up in Luxène Sommervil's field behind his house in Bwa Nèf Matye (municipal sector Orange). 18.43483, -72.48634