Planting a sustainable future for Haiti: update #4 from David Lachance


Clockwise from top left: David and two full-time garden employees, Meyse Ztem and Meyse BeBe, in the garden; the view from the mayor of Petit Riviera's 'backyard'; David's friend and cook, Celena, prepares Sunday dinner in her kitchen with Meekail.

In his last post from Haiti, David reflects on the great work he's accomplished over the past two months – both in the garden and in the greater community. 

Good afternoon everyone and Komon ou ye!

One final update and another thank you for all of your support for Haiti.  I’ll start by telling you that the World Cup is the talk of the town.  TV’s are rare so when you do find one, there’s a huge crowd enjoying the match.  Brasil is Haiti’s team…though I like to start an argument now and again about their weak play against the Koreans…they are passionate about futbol.  When Brasil does score, it seems that the neighborhoods erupt in cheers…

The garden has entered into another phase…as you can see from a photo attached, the seeds are sprouting and the work continues.  Irrigation is complete with a separate water feed for another ½ acre of land in the near future.  We have hired another full time gardener, Mesye BeBe, the hardest working man I’ve met and he’s never seen a water nozzle…but loves to use it.  We have planted corn, zukes, tomatoes, peppers, squash, watermelon, and cucumbers.  We have extra seed so we’ve divided it up into Ziplocs and have given it to the local farmers for their own gardens. 

This began as a goal to establish a sustainable garden and enriching the community.  To that end, we have created a micro loan system of sorts.  We have bought two additional motos and given them to two gentlemen, TJoe and Gregory.  They will use the motos to provide taxi services in and around Petit Riviera and they will both pay back the loans (1000 Goudes a week, about 25 American) until their loan is complete.  This in turn will pay the wages of our gardeners Mesye Ztem and Mesye BeBe.  It will also provide petro for the water pump. 

If you do the math, you’ll realize, we’ve created four full time, continuous jobs that will allow these men, who are unemployed, to care for their families for at least a full year.  Pretty cool!

As an update to Meekail, our 9 year old friend, we have bought her 3 dresses, shirts, underwear, sox, coloring books, a Benji 5 pack video and a Free Willy video…she is so appreciative. 

Ok, to let you know where your support has gone, I’ll give you a quick recap…

  • We have paid for an operation for Jevons, the baby with the appendages on her feet and hands
  • We have bought 3 motos, one, (which I wish I could take home), will be left for the Clinic and it’s     transportation needs, the other two will be used for the taxi services I’ve described above
  • We have bought a water pump, (a hoss of piece of equipment), and the PVC, fittings etc…to irrigate now and for the future
  • We donated $500.00 for school chairs in the tent city school next to Matthew 25…4 rooms…
  • We have assured that Meekail will be cared for with continued support
  • We helped replace an air conditioning pulley in Sister Mary’s Nissan Pathfinder (long story).  
  • We have rebuilt the road to the clinic, but none of our funding was used…this was supported by our suggestion that the parish twinning program provide money…this brought worthwhile and difficult work to 10 men and women for almost 4 weeks hauling rocks and sand
  • We have stimulated a pretty depressed economy

On a personal note, I’ll be returning to America this Sunday and am anxious to see family and my friends. I’ve lost about 10 pounds on my Haitian diet…I eat spaghetti every morning, (which is great by the way), lots of beans and rice and rice and beans, and the occasional Poul (chicken) which is caught in our yard by stunning it first with rocks.  I’m anxious to have the variety of veggies and fruits I’ve taken for granted! 

Thanks again everyone.  David