Great Haiti Adventure: Day 4
I’m starting to see the rhythm of how my dad spends his days. Up early, leisurely morning, leave around 8 or 8:30, field work, return for lunch and rest, administrative work, dinner. Of course there is no such thing as typical here, but that’s the gist.
I woke to the roosters and cows around 5:30. Sounds early until I confess to falling asleep before 8. And I’m writing this after having taken a short nap. I NEVER sleep this much. Call it the Haiti effect. Is it that all the foreign exposure is making me tired? Is it the jolting around in the truck? Or maybe it’s that everything is simpler and I feel the freedom to finally relax. There is no gym to go to. There are no calls to make or email to check (well, there are but I don’t have access). Church business will wait. Finding a job will wait. Paying the bills will wait. Shipping eBay sales will wait. Instead, I am reading a book for pleasure for the first time in years. And I am sleeping.
Our breakfast this morning was bread soup and an egg. Bread soup is broth and a few veggies. Then hard leftover bread is added. Nothing is wasted. I love bread so really enjoyed the soup. The egg was small, but I don’t take for granted this delicacy. One of the schools we visited feeds the children an egg 3 days a week. They can only do this because a foundation has a special project to ensure the kids get some protein. If it weren’t for the egg, protein would come from beans/grain, protein or in some rare cases, Moringa. Moringa is a tree, leaf, and pod that grow here and in Africa. It is high in protein and some other vital nutrients. I want to learn more about it. I want to taste it. I want to assess how it might be better utilized.
After breakfast we drove to the Father Jim Bretl Agricultural Center. The Center is a plot of land and building that The Haiti Project purchased several years ago. It’s a place for experimenting with different crops, erosion control, composting, and more. It was fun to see bananas growing. It was exciting to see a vanilla orchid with 2 beans!
We met with the Ag Center staff to discuss a 5 year plan. The plan became more of a 3 month plan, but it was a very productive meeting. Key initiatives for the next 3 months include:
Setting up demonstration areas so that locals can come and learn about gardening techniques
Experimenting with a small nursery area to grow saplings
Cutting back overgrown trees
Cutting ditches/trenches and planting groundcover to help control the erosion that comes with the spring rains
The Ag Center is next door to another of the schools that benefits from the school lunch program. We observed the cooks and asked questions about the menu. We were able to weigh a serving of today’s meal (beans/ground corn/fish sauce). I’m excited to run a nutritional analysis...when I can get access to the web. I’m hoping to borrow some Internet time tomorrow when we meet at the Sister’s house in Gros Morne.
We made it back home in time to prepare lunch. Pizza! Dad brought the ingredients in his suitcase; it was a welcome taste of home. We invited Sofia (the missionary I mentioned in an early post) to join us and had a lovely meal. She is 21 and full of positive energy. She has been here for 10 months and will be here til February. She’ll then return home to Buenos Aires, Argentina. She didn’t speak any Creole when she arrived and very little English. Now she is fluent in both. It was fun to share an American meal with her—or is it Italian? I also introduced her to the wide world of podcasts. She was totally geeked!
Today I was introduced to Prestige beer. I was hot. It was ice cold. It came along with a couple of slices of pizza. And I was totally geeked!