Saturday, December 31, 2011

Headed North




Happy New Year!

We are all well, in Nicaragua for the holidays. Headed to Mission Co-worker orientation for Jenny on Tuesday. We'll be in Toronto, Canada and Louisville, KY for most of the month of Janauary for orientation, then visiting my family in Ohio for a couple of weeks in February.

Hope all is well with you and yours. Many blessings for 2012. May it be a blessed year for everyone.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Check out photos I loaded onto Facebook. This is a trip the Road to Life Yard crew took to the Northeast Department of Haiti in November to collect vegetable tires. We turned them inside out in order to fit more on the truck. We were hosted by a farmer's group from the city of Terrier Rouge called Farmer's Movement of Terrier Rouge. The group has a visitor's center with the most basic necessities--water, beds and a place we could cook our own food.


http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.2788280513505.138106.1453093926&type=1&l=ac3dc8c736

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Celebration of Yard Gardens

On Friday, November 4th, a group of some 100 farmers gathered in the hills of Bassin Zim, in a local Catholic chapel, to celebrate God's abundance.

For the last year a committee of seven local volunteers has provided technical support to some thirty families learning to intensify and diversify their food production techniques, focusing on their own yards. Now, the committee decided, was the time for people to gather and see what has been accomplished. The event was entirely organized by the committee of local farmers; it was sponsored by MPP, with financing from the Road to Life Yard and Moringa project

Scheduled to begin at 7:30, the committee members arrived on site at 5:30 AM and began preparing the leanto that serves as a chapel for this remote area. I left our home in Bassin Zim around 5:30 AM and began winding my way down the hill to MPP's training center, where some participants helped me load 115 folding chairs on the truck, then off we went, with 8 or 9 passengers. We continued down the hill, across the Samana river and eventually up the torturous trail that serves as a road to the communities of Seramon, Matbonithe, Marilapa and Leodiague. When my brother Keith and two friends went with me to this area, Keith commented, "When Mark said we could get there by truck, I thought he meant there was a road." I believe I got stuck in mud three times on the way to the celebration, but we arrived by 6:30.

At 7:30 AM, people began arriving with examples of the production from their yard gardens. Then journalists from MPP's radio station arrived, together with a group of budding videographers. By 8:30 I was getting a bit antsy. Around 9:30, the main speaker, Accène Joachim arrived and the committee served all of the participants a spaghetti breakfast. The event finally got going by 10:00 or so. Nobody but me really seemed to notice that we were some 2 1/2 hours late.

I had offered the committee an award of something like $US 5,000 if things actually started at 7:30. They know me well enough to know exactly how unlikely it was that I would ever pay up, but even if I'd been serious, my money obviously would have been safe. By God's grace, and not by my worrying, everything came out very fine.

Here are some pictures. Photos provided by Eccène Joseph, a member of MPP's communications team.

One of the paticipants puts down her load of papaya that she and her family produced in their home garden.



Papaya, Haitian pumpkin, moringa powder, eggplants, moringa leaves, garlic chives, parsely and "masoko," an edible root that forms above ground on a vining plant. When the committee decided to ask participants to come with examples of their production, neither Alexander Placide (the MPP agronomist now responsible for the Road to Life Yard) nor I imagined there would truly be this level of abundance and diversity.


Worm compost (vermicompost), produced by African redworms. Wilner Exil, crew member and supervisor for the committee of volunteers, brought this example of one of the techniques that can amplify vegetable production.


Ronel Odathe, a journalist for MPP's radio station, Voice of the Farmer (Radio Vwa Peyizan), interviews Wilner Exil about the work the committee has done with local families.


Agame Elfraüs (left), myself and Moccène Joachim, as we judge the production. We quickly developed some simple criteria to judge each entry, including how good it looked, the abundance, the diversity and originality. The committee had included in their budget funds for prizes for the winners, 1st, 2nd, 3rd and consolation.


Mulaire Michel, the coordinator for MPP's technical team, holds up a papaya to comment on the capacity that farmers in Haiti have to produce good, healthy food.

















Accène Joachim, assistant director for MPP, providing the keynote address, focusing on food sovereignty and how yard gardens are part of the road Haiti and Haitians need to follow to regain control of their own lives and to reclaim the future of their country.


Participants of all ages, men and women, listen to Accène.


After Accène's presentation, the committee called on a number of the participants to bear witness to the changes this production has made in their lives and the lives of their families.


Adpoleon Jacques, Wilner Exil and Jasma Joachim, three leaders of the commitee, present their vision for the work of the committee in 2012.

Myself with Wilner Exil (sitting at table). Wilner invited several other people to share their perspectives, including Agronomist Alexander Placide. It was Alexander who developed the idea of forming this committee at the end of 2010.

I provided my hopes for the committee as well, but also noted that the committee, and the participants in the community, are providing me with a model that I will use during the next several years, as I begin working with other farmer organizations throughout the country.

Finally, Agame Elfraüs announced the winners, one by one. The committee had arranged for music to fill in the gaps during the celebration. Now Wilner required each winner to dance with their display on their head before they received their prize.

Moringa, cabbage, green peppers and amaranth. The winning display.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Swivi--MPP's follow up in yard gardens

MPP's project the Road to Life Yard and Moringa project has entered a new phase. We are focusing less on our experimental area at MPP's national training center here in Papaye and focusing more on taking what we've learned out into the community.

When we started the project in 2004, we were experimenting with different ways of growing more food, with less work, in small, intensively managed spaces. Our focus has always been the small areas rural families have around their homes. We call them "jaden lakou" or "yard gardens." "Yard gardens" may sound redundant to folks in the States, since our gardens in the States are almost always in our yards. But Haitians call all of the areas where they produce food a "jaden," a garden, and many of these small pieces of land are quite long distances from the families' homes, from their yards. So talking about "yard gardens" is not redundant in rural Haiti. It isn't new, either. As mission co-worker Carline White pointed out recently, Haitians have always produced food in their yards. What MPP is doing through the Road to Life Yard-Moringa project is not changing what people do. It is adding new ideas and new ways of doing what they already do very well, helping them do what they do even better.

As we work more and more in the community, one of most important tools is what is called in Haitian Creole, "swivi" or "follow up." We follow up with what we talk about at the center to see how people are applying it in their own yards. Since I returned to Papaye October 12th, I have been working with crew members, visiting their communities and the people who are applying these new ideas. So far, we've visited at least 58 families in five or six communities scattered around the center. Not everyone is doing a great job, but there are enough people doing good stuff to keep us energized. Here are a few stories.

Julienne Dorcin began working intesively with her yard almost as soon as she moved back to the community of Leodiague with her husband and children, about three years ago. Now she has become a key member of the committee formed in January this year to provide technical assistance to the growing number of families wanting to set up their own yard gardens. Julienne has taken her cue from Road to Life Yard crew member, Wilner Exil, and she does an excellent job, in her yard, and as she visits families. When she enters a yard, she immediately looks to see what they are doing, and whether its working. She listens as family members explain the activities they've carried out, and the problems they've encountered, then she provides them with advice and insights, based on her experiences. She has become an incredible resource, for her own family, and for her community.


Gilto Orné (left) and his brother, Abarky, decided they wanted to build a goat house closely modeled on the one in MPP's training center. Gilto sat down with me and with Alexander Placide, the other agronomist assigned to the project, and put together a budget. Based on that budget, Gilto borrowed on his salary that he earns working in the Road to Life Yard-Moringa project and began building the goat house with help from his father and brother, both of whom have construction skills. They had the boards sawn for the house, and put up the frame that allowed them to build a platform that the goats can walk on. This platform is the key element to this style of goat shed. It helps the goats keep their feet dry at all times and it allows the goat droppings to fall down through the cracks to the ground below. Having the goat dropping below and away from the goats helps keep them healthier. It also makes it easy for Gilto to collect it and then compost it in a neary hole. When the goat droppings have composted sufficiently, Gilto takes the fertilizer and uses it in his vegetable production.

In the photo above, you can see the tree leaves that Gilto hangs for the goats to munch on all day, a gourd in the center, filled with salt that the goats can lick, and a water bucket to the right where the goats can drink their fill whenever they wish. Gilto works with Wilner Exil at the Colladère Farm every Thursday and I can tell you from experience, sometimes Gilto can drive you nuts. But when he gets an idea, he gets it "nèt", completely.


Maxius Exil is a working mother and farmer in Leodiague. When we visited her house, she told us offhandedly that these pepper plants sent her children to school this past September. She sells the peppers every Saturday, and was able to sell enough to buy new clothes, shoes, notebooks and pens for her three children. She is one of the families in Leodiague planning on enlarging the space where they practice this type of yard gardening.


Julien Dorcin (left) began developing his yard garden space two years ago. The soil was terrible, and when we did follow up with Julien and his wife, we told them, frankly, they should pick a new space. Julien and his wife ignored that part of our advice, and kept putting manure into the soil, again and again. Together with learning better ways of mixing up the soil for the vegetable tires, Julien and his wife's persistence has allowed them to turn that small, horrible sandy space, into a productive piece of yard, producing cabbage and tomatoes and spinach in the ground and in the tires.

Elismene François benefitted from a cistern project put together by an association of farmers within MPP called Association of Planter's of Bassin Zim. When I did follow up at Elismene's house in the community of Gwanit. soon after her cistern was built, she and her husband were doing nothing with the water. We grumbled at them quite a bit about that. Not too long after that, Elismene purchased four or five tires. This season, she produced what must be hundreds of eggplants in her tires. She sold and gave away a number of them to her neighbors, but she kept several hundred that she planted in carefully prepared soil around her house. Now, she told us, she goes to market every Saturday with a burro load of eggplants to sell. Her bench that holds the vegetable tires off the ground recently fell down, but she has already erected a new one with posts that her husband cut for her.


Wilner Exil (second from left) and his wife Tesil (far right) were among the first famlies in Leodiague to create a space for their yard garden. Their example has become a model and a challenge for other famlies in their community. Building the spaces with what they have at hand, applying new ideas to what they already know, they are creating places for God's abundance to burst forth, in their own yard and in the yards of their neighbors.

Praise God for his presence, shining forth in so many ways here, but especially through the strength and persistence of these people and the organization that supports them, MPP--Farmer's Movement of Papaye.





Friday, October 21, 2011

Dad's Garden in Amesville, Ohio

When Jenny and Keila and I ended up arriving in Amesville, Ohio at the end of March, right as spring began, there were at least two advantages. We got to experience a southeastern Ohio spring in all its glory, and I got to get into Dad's garden at the very beginning, and help see it through to the harvest. It was good to be working with the soil, and good to help produce our own food, for the house. And it was especially great to be able to get Keila involved--whenever I could convince her to work with me, which wasn't all that often. But you have to start wherever you can when you're forming a future farmer.

Weeding and hoeing, I felt like I was being true to my vocation. But just as importantly, I felt I could look my fellow crew members in the eyes when I got back to Haiti.

Jenny took all of these photos.

Two varieties of sweet corn, one earlier and one later. The later variety was better tasting and more productive. I learned a lot gardening in Ohio this year. Among other things, it is so much easier to get a decent crop in the temperate zone. The heat and humidity of Nicaragua and Haiti during the wet season make a huge difference. Oh my, do they ever. Crops have to be tough tough to make it here in Haiti. Which is one reason, at least, no one here in Haiti as ever heard of "sweet" corn.



Keila exploring the rhubarb.



Bed of beets, carrots, broccoli and tomatos. The cabbages and cauliflower succumbed to the heat wave of July

Dad planted the beets, but I did the weeding and I fertilized them--with organic compost, of course.


Beets, tomatoes and potatoes. Mom and Dad both said the potato crop was particularly good this year.


Tomatoes!!


The wheelbarrow ride is is the best part of gardening.

Asparagus and rhubarb, potates, green beans, beets, cucumbers and potatoes. I realized once again and now, I think, for always, how important it truly is to know where your food comes from. I believe that producing your own food, or some part of it, is part of the calling that God has for every single one of us. It's part of what we call food sovereignty, and that is what MPP here in Haiti is about.

Monday, October 3, 2011

RELUFA

Wanted to highlight the RELUFA site. Very cool slide show showing the effect of Dole banana and pineapple plantations on local farmers, and the ways that Fair Fruit is working to change the equation:

http://www.relufa.org/programs/economicjustice/trade/fairfruit.htm

Vote! A Fair Fruit Project supported by PC(USA) Mission Worker Christi Boyd

Friends!

Below is a note from our friend, Christi Boyd, a fellow mission worker in the Cameroon. Christi is advocating here for a local organization in the Cameroon (West Africa)--RELUFA, which is part of a larger organization called Joining Hands, a project of the Presbyterian Church (USA) Hunger Program. Joining Hands works on uniting grassroots organizations in developing countries, helping them to work together to change underlying causes of hunger in their own countries. RELUFA, the Cameroonian "branch" of Joining Hands has been advocating for the transparent reporting of payments received by the Cameroonian government from Transnational Corporations for national resources, such as gold, oil and diamonds. Normally, such payments have gone into the national treasury without public knowledge, and from there, to who knows where?

Please vote for RELUFA's Fair Fruit project!

From Christi Boyd:

Dear friends,


RELUFA's Fair Fruit project(http://www.relufa.org/programs/economicjustice/trade/fairfruit.htm ) is through to the second - and last - round in an online competition to win the 2011 Public Prize "For the World of Tomorrow". The 10,000 Euro prize will be used towards implementing our "Farm to Market" strategy to ensure longterm sustainability of the project and a better assured income for our marginalized farmers. For you all it's an opportunity to support our project and its producers without any costs or special offering!


In this last round it really comes down to rallying all our fans, and set through them into motion a chain reaction for an exponentially increasing number of voters. Will you participate (again)? Deadline for voting is the 9th of November.


This round voting is much simpler:

1. Go to http://voordewereldvanmorgen.nl/project/fair-fruit ,

2. click on the green (stem) button

3. fill in your e-mail address

4. do the simple math problem (it's probably a verification method)

5. and forward this call to your family, friends, colleagues, social circles and networks, mission committee, church members, youth group etc.

You can follow the score on http://voordewereldvanmorgen.nl/acties/wereldprijs/tussenstand?thema%5B58%5D=58 .

As it goes with these online competitions, it is from the start to finish a fierce battle, a matter of giving it all with a last sprint to come through the finish line as first. Thank you in advance for your cheering and please let me now if you have any questions!

Christi

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Plastics

There are places in the US that are recognizing the blight that plastic represents in terms of the landscape.

Check out this article:

http://www.marinij.com/marinnews/ci_18987419Link

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Plastics

A beach near Leogane, Haiti, about 40 miles west of Port au Prince. Some of the trash is local, most washes in from Port au Prince


I've heard a number of reports in the last several months about the pervasiveness of plastics in our lives, our ecosystems, and our bodies. There is no question that in Haiti, plastic waste is a huge disposal problem. To find out that besides the obvious problems, plastics are being implicated in cancers and immune disorders terrifies me.

Here is a link to one article:

http://e360.yale.edu/content/feature.msp?id=2209

The NPR report I heard can be found online at

http://www.npr.org/2011/04/19/135245835/our-toxic-love-hate-relationship-with-plastics

and an article by the same researcher can be found at

http://www.susanfreinkel.com/books_Plastic.html

From article:

"Freinkel’s conclusion? We cannot stay on our plastic-paved path. And we don’t have to. Plastic points the way toward a new creative partnership with the material we love to hate but can’t seem to live without."

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Arrived in Nicaragua

Jenny, Keila, Annika and I arrived in Nicaragua last night around 8:30. Jenny's younger brother, Michael came to pick us up with one other car, and incredibly, the two drivers were able to get all our luggage, and us, in the two cars and make it in one trip.

It was a long trip yesterday. My brother, Keith, his wife, Priscilla and their son, Keegan, came to see us off. So did my sister Nancy, her daughter, Leah and two sons, Zachary and Seth. Mom and Dad drove up from Amesville to spend the night near the airport and came to see us off as well. It was a huge help to get all our luggage, a boxed up bike, strollers, car seats and, oh yes, Keila and Annika, to the ticket counter. They allowed Keith to go through security to help us get settled at the gate, with all our carry on. When I asked American Airlines for help, an American Airlines authority told us we should only be taking on the plane what we could actually carry ourselves. I pointed out that we had two very young children who can't carry on their own carry on.

In any case, we made it. We were delayed in Miami due to heavy rains and we arrived in Nicargua over an hour late, but we made it. Keila fell asleep last night immediately after her bath. Annika took longer to settle into a new house with new noises.

Word has it that a piece of luggage that didn't quite make it last night will be delivered to the Bent's house today.

It is a great privilege to be able to move from family in Ohio to family here in Managua. Thank you to all of you who have also become part of our family, who hold us in your thoughts and prayers. Please keep us in those prayers as we continue to transition from the States to Nicaragua and from one job to another. We are still waiting final word for what comes next in 2012. I will be returning to Haiti the second week of October to finish out the year with MPP's Road to Life Yard project. Jenny and the girls will stay with Jenny's family here in Managua.

In Christ,

Mark, Jenny, Keila and Annika

Monday, September 5, 2011

Note: Cisterns Blog

Please note, on August 24th, there is a blog explaining the type of cisterns we are using in MPP's Road to Life Yard project. The blog is an ongoing project, so check it out periodically to see the new additions. My next step will be to add captions to the pictures to explain the process.

I have finished, I believe, listing all of the tools and materials. Anyone who has worked with this system that has some critique, please feel completely free to make observations.

To see all of the blogs mentioning the cisterns in the blog, do a search of the blog site using the key words "cisterns rainwater" I've been checking and there are at least four blogs that refer to the cisterns.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Annika Estela Hare's Baptism

Sunday, August 14th family and friends gathered at the New England Presbyterian Church, in the rural community of New England six miles from Amesville, to celebrate Hymn Sunday, and to join with Jenny, Keila and me in baptizing our second daughter, Annika.

It was a very special time. All of my brothers and sisters and wives and husband were present and most of my nephews, along with friends and neighbors. Jenny's brother, Norman, came from Detroit, with his frirnd Marifer and Marifer's daughter, Henrietta. All told, over sixty people attended the service and the coffee hour afterwards. We were very concious of our Creator's presence with us that Sunday, God's grace present and accounted for.


Arriving at New England Presbyterian Church Sunday AM. From left to right, Rachel and Zachary, two of my sister Nancy's children. Nancy is holding Keila, and my niece Emily, one of my brother Keith's two daughters, is right behind us.

The Baptism. My father, Rev Frank Hare (second from right), officiated. Gary Gould (far right) represented the New England session. Marcia Burchby (far left), our long time friend and supporter, agreed to become Annika's Godmother. Norman (second from left) became Annika's Godfather.


Presenting the new member of the church Family

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

COSECHA-style cisterns in Haiti

COSECHA is a grassroots development organization working in southwester Honduras. One of the techniques they've developed is a ferro-cement type below ground-level cistern which we have been using extensively as part of MPP's Road to Life Yard project. MPP (Mouvement Paysan Papaye, or Farmer's Movement of Papay) where Jenny and I have been serving, also does a more traditional above-ground type of ferro-cement cistern. I'll try to describe that system in another blog.

The COSECHA-style cistern, as we generally promote it, requires the following materials:

1) A well-dug hole. We usually recommend that folks do 3 meters by 3 meters. The depth should be not much more than 1 m deep.

2) 3 lengths of 3/4" rebar. I have no idea if this is the world-wide standard, but what we purchase in Haiti and in Nicaragua are always 20' long.

3) Six to seven pounds of #18 "smooth" wire. In Haiti I've only ever seen is galvanized wire, but our teachers from COSECHA taught us with non-galvanized which is cheaper. The wire if for weaving the mesh for plastering the cement.

4) Three to four wheelbarrows of stones for the border.

5) Ten to twelve wheelbarrows of clean river sand. The sand available to families where we work in Haiti is rarely particularly clean. We do what we can with what people have available.

6) Ten to twelve bags of cement. When everything works out nicely, you can do the work with less.

7) Between seven and eight 1/4" rebar, also purchased in 20' lengths in Haiti and Nicargua. These are for making hooks that hold the rebar in place and help peg the mesh to the sides of the dirt walls.

8) At least four lengths of 4" drainage PVC for making the gutters.

9) Two 55-gallon drums of water. You may need just over one drum.

10) A medium sieve to remove pebbles from the sand.

11) A fine sieve for sifting the sand that will be used in the fine plastering of the cistern walls.

12) Shovels, picks, 18-20 liter buckets for measuring the sand and cement and carrying water, two to three cement trowels.

13) Mason-quality string for marking out the cistern and helping check levels and twelve stakes (cut from whatever tree is most common in the area).

14) A string level and a carpenter's level are helpful.


I need to go get breakfast for Keila and finish getting ready to leave the US. We head to Nicaragua tomorrow morning. I will continue to work on this blog entry to explain the pictures below. As you will note from the materials and the pictures, this is not an exact science. Folks who work with these cisterns are constantly adapting them and sometimes improving the technique. The beauty of the technique is it is easily learned and applied, and they are a very cheap and durable way to collect rainwater and they use materials that are available in most localities.













Sunday, July 10, 2011

Annika Estela Hare

Keila came for a quick visit this afternoon, with our niece, Rachel, who has been watching Keila for us since around midnight, Friday July 8th.


Jenny's and my new daughter, Annika Estela Hare, was born this morning at 9:28, weighing 7 pounds and 10 ounces. Labor began Friday morninga round 3:30 and was more or less continuous until the final pushing that brought Annika into this side of the world.

We will be headed home to Amesville, Ohio in two days. We were blessed by an excellent team at the Marietta Memorial Birthing Center. A wonderful place, truly.

Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers.

In Christ,

Mark, Jenny, Keila and Annika

Jenny, Mark and Annika




Grandmas Hare, Mark and Annika

By the way! I have been pretty active on this blog recently, so check out the recent blogs below!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Altene Estelot's House


A full view of one of Saintville's home gardens--Altene Estelot's yard. Tires to the left and to the right, including several with red worms. The cistern is on the other side of the house. Moringa is planted throughout the area in front of the house. Mata has passion fruit and several other fruit species planted in the yard, as well.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Saintville Home Garden and Rainwater Catchment Project


October 20th, 2010. Agronomist Alexander
Placide (center, by the table) leads APS in a reflection on the value of good yard stewardship.


On October 20th, 2010, the farmer's association APS (Asosyasyon Peyizan Senvil--Farmer's Association of Saintville) met to mark the start of a new project to improve production in their home gardens. The project, which they titled Home Gardens--Cistern Construction, was put together by members of the community, with technical assistance from crew members of MPP's Road to Life and Moringa project. APS's project was approved by the Presbyterian Hunger Program (PHP) and funds came from three church communities--Second Presbyterian Church of Newark, Ohio, the 2010 Vacation Bible School of the Amesville-New England Cooperative Parish (Amesville, Ohio) and White Memorial Presbyterian Church (Raleigh, North Carolina).

The project was originally inspired by
Agame Elfraïs. Agame is a member of MPP and works on the crew responsible for the Road to Life Yard and Moringa project. Agame began growing vegetables in his own yard in 2006. In 2007 and 2008, Agame began working with community members who saw what he was accomplishing, and wanted to try some of the techniques out themselves.

Most of the community members had already received training from
MPP in vegetable production, and many were producing vegetables during the dry season in small plots of irrigated land located below an artificial lake. Working in their yards was a way to take what they'd learned already and apply it together with new techniques that could increase their total production. They asked for more training in March 2010, and that workshop led to them developing the current project, which they submitted in August 2010.


Walter Estelot, Chrisla Felix and Agame (left to right), three of the leaders in APS, Saintville's community group.

The project that the group designed included funds for more training, and for tools. The group purchased watering cans, one for each family. They purchased five sets of tools, one set for each of six families. Each set of six families is helping each other build their cisterns and install their gutters.


Agame and other group leaders take advantage of a work day to hand out the watering cans to a member from each of the families.

When I visited Saintville on June 11th, this year, fifteen of the cisterns had been completed and were full of water. The project is changing people's lives. People have more tires in their yards, and the tires are producing more. Several families have begun working with red worms, to produce their own high quality compost. The most impressive changes are in Chrisla Felix's yard.


Agame and Chrisla work on her cistern. One huge advantage of this type of cistern is it is very easy to learn. Home owners can learn the process from building their own rainwater catchment system, which means they can take responsibility for repairing the cistern as needed.


I remember three years ago, when I first visited Chrislat's yard with Agame, she had three or four tires with some scrawny hot pepper plants surrounded by thorns stuck in the soil to try and keep the chickens out. Now Chrisla's yard is an abundance of food growing all around. Tires in the front with vegetable beds in between, and a separate patch of eggplants behind the house, with Moringa trees scattered throughout her corn field.

Chrisla with her completed cistern and gutters, and a bench of five brand new vegetable tires that weren't there six months ago when Jenny and Keila and I left Haiti. (Photo by Agame Elfraïs)


During my visit, I purchased a handfull of peppers and parsley from Chrisla, a total of HTG 50.00 (about $1.25).Walter, who was visiting houses with Agame and me, noted that it would have taken selling 14 pounds of corn to earn the same amount of money. Walter said it was time for the farmers to focus on crops like vegetables for selling in the market, instead of depending on corn.

Agame and Altene Estelot, Agame's associate in providing technical expertise, are working hard together with the families to get the next fifteen cisterns built before the dry season starts in October or November. With some luck and a good deal of sweat, all thirty families will start out this dry season with between 2000 and 2300 gallons of water for their yard production systems.


Chrisla with her original vegetable tires, filled with sweet peppers, parsely, garlic chives and radishes.

Chrisla with tires, and egglplant growing in a vegetable bed she prepared underneath. Photo by Agame Elfraïs.

Agame (in front) and Walter (at right), checking out the cistern at Walter's son, Altene Estelot's house. Altene and Agame together are providing the technical expertise for building the cisterns, as well as providing advice on problems with the production.

Orimène Cadet, another member of the Association of Farmers of Saintville, dipping out water from her cistern to water her vegetable tires. Photo by Agame Elfraïs.

Jean Rony and me checking out his cistern behind his house. Jean Rony is also starting to work very productively with red worms. Photo by Agame Elfraïs.

If you would like to help communities like Saintville continue to improve their lives through good yard stewardship, here are some things you can do:

First, continue to read this blog and contact me if you want more information. I do eventually always read comments on the blog. If you want to leave me an e-mail address, but don't want the address published online, you can let me know that. I monitor all comments before publishing them.

Second
, keep the work of MPP, and specifically the Road to Life Yard crew, in your prayers.

Finally, if you want to help financially, here is what you or your congregation can do:

1. Make out a check payable to: Presbyterian Church (USA).

2. On the subject line of the check, please write the account number: H000007 (H, five zero’s, 7).

3. Include a memo or short note that the donation is for the “MPP Road to Life/Cisterns, Tools and Training” in Haiti.

4. Address the envelope to PC(USA), Individual Remittance Processing, PO Box 643700, Pittsburgh, PA 15264-3700.

5. Send a copy of the memo to: Eileen Schuhmann at 100 Witherspoon Street,

Louisville KY 40202.

6. Leave a note on this blog to let me know about the donation so that I can help provide follow up.


Thanks for checking us out!

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