Monday, April 8, 2013

Haiti Team Journal (Part 6)

Tuesday, March 26 

Up at 7 for breakfast and another day of work! 

We finished off the gazebo, transplanted green onions into the community garden,

helped fill containers with soil for the coffee growing project, 

and worked on painting the school. 

In the afternoon, Kristie took us out. Our first stop was one of the agricultural projects that United Christian International (UCI) spearheads. They provide gas-powered pumps so Haitian farmers can pump water to water their crops. This has been a boon to local farmers, as they are able to produce many more acres of food – enough to sell at the markets and make a considerable sum. 

One pump is shared with 5 farmers; they sign a contract with UCI that they will pay back 2/3 of the cost of the pump in two years. Last crop, this group of farmers made $11,000 USD ($123,000 Haitian goudes). Saul, an agricultural specialist involved with UCI, oversees this project. There are other managers as well, who receive extensive training in agriculture and the maintenance of these water pumps. 

Although the garden we looked at had just been harvested, so there wasn’t a lot to see, we did have a look at the beans that were drying. 

Afterward, we participated in a nutrition centre “feeding program” 30 minutes down the dirt road. We met the pastor and the children of this community, listened to them sing, helped with handing out prepared bowls of rice and beans, and played frisbee, skipping, and soccer with the kids outside.

Kristie monitors the health of the 35 children enrolled in this program, watching for signs of malnutrition. If they are malnourished, Kristie ensures their diet is supplemented by one tablespoon of peanut butter daily, which provides the essential proteins they need. 

We then handed out all the clothes we had purchased at the market on Saturday (which they gladly received) and colouring books and crayons we had brought along. 

After returning, we did a bit of cleanup work, played volleyball and with the little kids till suppertime. 
Written by M. Roseboom

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