Healthy Farms, Healthy Children - Growing in Haiti

by Colorado Haiti Project
Healthy Farms, Healthy Children - Growing in Haiti
Healthy Farms, Healthy Children - Growing in Haiti
Healthy Farms, Healthy Children - Growing in Haiti
Healthy Farms, Healthy Children - Growing in Haiti
Healthy Farms, Healthy Children - Growing in Haiti
Healthy Farms, Healthy Children - Growing in Haiti
Healthy Farms, Healthy Children - Growing in Haiti
Healthy Farms, Healthy Children - Growing in Haiti
Healthy Farms, Healthy Children - Growing in Haiti
Healthy Farms, Healthy Children - Growing in Haiti
Preschool at St Paul's! (Pre Covid)
Preschool at St Paul's! (Pre Covid)

As the US continues to battle the Covid19 virus, Haiti has had a slightly different path.  The entire country shut down in mid March and stayed closed through the rest of the spring.  Because of lack of internet, there was no way to continue school online in most parts of the country.  

When school reopened, it reopened for the finish of the 2019-2020 school year.  Finally in mid October, they finished.  And so here we are in late November and the students are just beginning their 2020-2021 school year. 

Below is a brief report from the administrator of St Paul's School in Petiti Trou de Nippes where the Colorado Haiti Projects helps support the education of around 300 students.  Stay tuned for more information on school and life in Haiti as they live through the pandemic.

From Guilot Tibert

"...I am very happy to see my collegues and students again.  Where we are, we were unable to have school and other activities for around four months.  All the activities were obliged to stop because of the Corona virus that was in most of the country and the whole world.  The government mandated that everyone stay at home.  This caused the people to feel stress.  They could not relax at all.  Everyone was obligated to wear masks to protect themselves, their familes and their friends.  Now they are happy because they can take up their activities again and return to school. We are all sad still that our firends can not yet visit us in Haiti because of the virus has not left some countries... I wish you good health and always take precautions."

 

Please continue to help students at St Paul's from preschool through 11th grade stay in school.  In this year of the pandemic, it is important to remember about the long term needs of children.

$350 per year pays for one child's school year.

*Preschool Educaton: For every gourde (Haiti's money) spent, the benefit is 17 gourdes.

*Girls Education: For every gourde spent, the benefit is 4.4 gourdes

*Haiti Prioritizes- Cost and Benefits for Development Solutions  Bjorn Lomborg and Gaelle Prophete

Masking Making to Restart School
Masking Making to Restart School

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Plans are being crafted to reorganize the use of existing land at St. Paul's School in Petit Trou de Nippes in order to expand the agricultureal learning and animal husbandry program, create a space for a soccer field, and plant up to 860 moringa and lime trees. 

The project will include a solar-powered well and irrigation system to water the school garden during the dry season, which can last up to half of the year. The project also includes building a strong, block wall to help protect the garden from neighboring cattle and goats who climb, go under or bust through weak fencing. These changes will allow the school agriculture program to continue year round, and exponentially increase yeilds. 

With the new well as the water source for the garden, the existing small rain catchment can serve other purposes, namely the animals and new orchards. The animal husbandry program plans to double their stock, giving students the opportunity to learn skills like how to vaccinate and breed. The catchment will also water around 860 sapplings on campus. In time, the trees will not only offset carbon for the organization and beautify the campus, but will also provide a revanue source for the school and an economic boost for the community. 

Pending budget, these plans could be underway as soon as the Spring of 2020. 

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St. Paul's produce table
St. Paul's produce table

There was much bustling about on Friday morning in preparation for the annual St. Paul’s School Harvest Festival. Vendor stalls needed to be built, vegetables harvested, eggs gathered and children corralled.

Each year, the school holds this festival to showcase the agriculture program, led by Agronomist Raphael Salvador, which teaches students about farming and animal husbandry, and supports small family farms in the community. There is a small fee to enter and the proceeds help support the program. After a welcome from Agro Raphael, Father Luc Desire and Principal Maxo Valcin, the children sang songs, performed dances and enacted plays advocating for the preservation of trees, care for the environment and the importance of nutrition.

Artisans and vendors displayed their wares in stalls made from long sticks. Local women kept the stoves going nonstop cooking delicious “fritay”, or fried Haitian street food such as plantains and manioc. Eggs gathered from nearby chicken coops and a large spread of okra, peppers, eggplants, melons, sugar cane and carrots harvested from the school garden made up the offering from St. Paul’s program. Goats were tethered to a tree in the shade and the rabbit hutch was on display nearby.

Later in the day, a bicycle was raffled off and St. Paul’s students played students from a nearby school in a soccer match. This year’s festival was a big success, with fantastic attendance from St. Paul students and parents, as well as students, parents and community members from the surrounding area. 

Agro Raphael & program leaders harvest the garden
Agro Raphael & program leaders harvest the garden
Students display their artwork
Students display their artwork
Madame Darlene preparing fresh fruit
Madame Darlene preparing fresh fruit

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Recent Saturday mornings at St. Paul’s School have brought some new celebrities to campus. At one of the latest garden club meetings, dozens of students—most of them members of garden club—gathered around Agronomist Raphael Fernandez Salvador as he introduced a hands-on component to a lecture he had given the week before on animal husbandry.

Underneath the shade of the school garden’s lean-to structure, Raphael hung a giant wire-frame cage that students had previously helped to construct. Crouched inside were five rabbits in shades of white, tan, grey, and brown. Raphael reviewed proper care for the rabbits as the students gazed curiously into the cage.

There were two goals for the session ahead: that students feel comfortable properly holding a rabbit by the scruff of its neck, and to identify a rabbit’s sex. Some students were initially unsteady with their rabbit-holding technique, but Raphael gently coached them so that by the end of the club’s meeting, students appeared to be experts at rabbit handling.

Raphael is known for encouraging his students to dive in and attempt new skills; he knows that mistakes and hesitancies are simply part of the learning process. His remarkable teaching style was evident at a similar garden club meeting in February—this time, goats took the place of rabbits as the furry class guests.

Raphael demonstrated once how to give the vaccine before allowing the students to take over. There were a lot of details to learn, including the method of suctioning the vaccine into the syringe. One girl named Guierline particularly loved giving the shots to the goats, making CHP staff wonder whether she will be a future veterinarian.

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Turning plastic bags into wallets and purses!
Turning plastic bags into wallets and purses!

In Petit Trou de Nippes, on the southern peninsula of Haiti, there is no opportunity for vocational agricultural education, even though farming is the most common source of income for rural families there.  The Colorado Haiti Project supports two young adults to attend a three-year agriculture program on the central plateau of Haiti.  The two students, Schneider and Jameson, ended their first year with high marks and much enthusiasm, finishing second and fourth in their class.

They are not waiting until the three-year program is over to begin their work in their home community of Petit Trou. They returned for their summer break to participate as leaders in the summer camp for 75 children at St. Paul’s School.

Schneider and Jameson have become passionate about environmental concerns such as soil erosion, recycling, and reforestation in their first year.  They spent three weeks as interns during the year at a conservation farm in the mountains of Haiti called Wynne Farm.  This program fed their interest and knowledge of the concerns of Haiti’s deforestation.

For the three-day intensive summer camp, the young men led three different sessions devoted to environmental concerns.

On day one, they introduced the concept and method of making briquettes out of recycled paper to replace tree-sourced charcoal briquettes.  They learned about the briquettes at Wynne Farm. The process involves taking recycled paper, soaking it and forming tight balls, then allowing them to thoroughly dry.  After that, these paper briquettes burn hot and slow, like charcoal briquets!  They also are less toxic to the environment and help reduce deforestation. 

The second day was devoted to a recycled plastic project.  The kids collected the sadly ever-present small water bags that provide a small 6 oz. portion of water.  These little bags ensure the students get frequent drinks of clean and safe water but, they also produce thousands of little bags that litter the streets and school yard.  Schneider and Jameson showed the campers how to take three clean bags and with a special ironing technique and a little bit of sewing turn them into wallets, purses, and shopping bags.  This session was a big hit and the kids really enjoyed it, especially when they got to take home their own little wallets.

On the final day, Schneider and Jameson, shared their true passion, the importance of trees.  When asked about this, their eyes light up and they expound at length when there is an audience.  The students in camp all received a tree to plant at home on Earth Day and so the importance and care for their trees was discussed.

The camp ended with all the camp counselors, led by the organizer, Darline Nicolas, holding a session on the importance of children in the community.  They discussed the rights and responsibilities of kids and finished with an uplifting and empowered feeling among all the campers.

It is one day in the life of kids in rural Haiti.  With the intent of supporting these children and their families to create healthy farms and homes:  recycling, reusing, and protecting their environment are essential.  The Colorado Haiti Project plans to continue with interactive learning programs similar to this summer camp and to continue to support young adults like Schneider and Jameson in bringing techniques and education back to the community.  Please stand with us and contribute this year in support of healthy families in rural Haiti.

Agriculture camp leaders with their Tree Display
Agriculture camp leaders with their Tree Display
Schneider and Jameson helping during summer break
Schneider and Jameson helping during summer break
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Organization Information

Colorado Haiti Project

Location: Louisville, CO - USA
Website:
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Colorado Haiti Project
Wynn Walent
Project Leader:
Wynn Walent
Louisville, CO United States

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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
   

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