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Off to Haiti

I’m sitting here with two bottles in my hand.  One says CHLOROQUINE and the other says CIPROFLOAXACIN. My bags are packed and I’m off to Haiti tomorrow.

My emotions are a mix of excited and nervous – and a huge hope that the work I’m putting myself to has a positive result – both for me and for the people I’m hoping to give to.

After many, many delays (due to cholera, the elections, stolen trees and seeds, bad weather and so on) we are finally set to head off on the initial planning trip.

The situation in Haiti has continued to deteriorate. The cholera epidemic has come and – at least to mainstream media – gone. In reality it continues to rage. Haiti held elections and Michel “Sweet Mickey” Martelly, a man with questionable ties to violent right-wing organizations, won the presidency. Still, things seem calm enough for us to head down, reassess the project and start to move forward again.

Specifically, I will be doing two things on this trip:

1. Assessing erosion issues and working with community members on a plan to deal with those problems both in the short term and the long term,

2. Working with a specific group of farmers who are interested in getting innovative on a collective piece of land. We will be discussing a design for a “food forest” based on permaculture principles but utilizing community knowledge and needs (food, building materials, medicinals, etc).

We will also take a 2 day trip to the southern part of Haiti to talk with a successful community-based tree nursery about getting starts for our food forest.

I imagine that there will be ALOT more work on this once I return.

Despite the millions and millions of dollars that have been pumped into Haiti, lasting and wide-ranging positive results seem far off. Money seems to disappear and seemingly simple projects become very complicated. Thus, the fundraising for this project overall has been slow. Thus far, I’ve raised about $3000. Its amazing how much work that has been and how fast that money has gone away (immunizations, plane tickets, etc) and how much more we will need in the long run. At least we can get started now.

Please take a look at the photographs I am selling and consider some fine art for your home or office. travel photographs ALL the profits from these sales are going right back into this project.

To make this work a success, I want to return with answers to the following questions:

– What are the most commonly consumed foods in the Deslandes area?

– What foods are sourced locally?

– What foods do they want more of?

– What foods do they want or would use that they don’t have now?

– What are the main canopy trees?

– What kind of market trees will grow here?

– What are the native guilds?

– What are fast-growing fuel species for planting closest to the communities?

– What are the possibilities for rice and aquaculture mix?

Again, I want to thank everyone who helped (nearly 50 people!) from the bottom of my heart for helping out with this project. As always, I will keep you up to date as I get new information.

Check back here after the first week in July for updates and photos!


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