Haiti Update, Program in Gros Morne

The agronomy team prepares to deliver sweet potato cuttings

This week United States ambassador to the United Nations, Kelly Craft, met with president Jovenel Moïse in Haiti, in what most saw as a gesture of support for his government. This was not a gesture welcomed by the majority of Haitians.

Though Haiti’s Moïse remains under intense pressure to resign, there seems to have been little movement in the positions people have staked out. Moïse refuses to talk about stepping down, and the opposition refuses to sit down with him and negotiate anything but the terms of his departure. As protests continue [five more people were killed this week in demonstrations] and the resulting lockdown on the country’s economy goes on, people are living under increasing stress. Food shortages have been endemic in recent years. However, the current crisis is threatening to create even more hunger as transportation difficulties and fuel costs send food prices up – when food is even available. Estimates are that up to 4 million people out of 11 million will lack access to adequate quantities of food by next year. 

In Gros Morne, as in the rest of the country, children are unable to go to school. Over the last week the primary hospital in the city was facing closure for lack of supplies. As of now, the hospital is holding on with limited resources.

For our partners at the Jean Marie Vincent Formation Center the work of reforestation and environmental renewal continues. There is no doubt that the cost of fuel, frequent blockades, and general instability are making the work more difficult. But the agronomy team is still delivering workshops and supplies – via pack mule when needed. The mobile veterinary clinic is still visiting to care for animals – if on a reduced schedule. And trees are still getting planted. While we remain concerned about the broader instability of the country and increasing political tensions, we do want to pause to celebrate the incredible work that goes on in Gros Morne – especially in these difficult times.

Through the first nine months of the year, here is a taste of what has been achieved through work at the Jean Marie Formation Center.

50,000* trees distributed from nursery at Grepen Center.

25,000 Haitian gourdes earned from the harvesting of 1,000 pounds of weevil free sweet potatoes by farmers in Baden during spring.

18,000 trees distributed from Satellite nurseries.

15,000* trees planted in Perou in coordination with the Lorax Project.

1,000 families received seeds at subsidized rate from seed bank (January through April).

800 eggs a day produced at the hen house in Campeche, powered by solar technology.

305 farmers took part in trainings. 

174 goats treated by mobile veterinary clinics (April-September).

75 farmers join the sweet potato program from June through September.

17 base communities participated in an environmental conference with local officials to deal with plastic waste.

15 episodes of the radio program “The Earth is Our Mother” produced (April-September) to educate the local community on environmental issues.

Being witness to the work in Gros Morne over the last fifteen years, and visiting other grassroots organizations during these years as well, I know that there is a deep spirit of cooperation and incredible ingenuity, wrought from years of struggle, among activists in Haiti. The Haiti we read about in the news is not the Haiti that lives and breathes, resists and strives for independence. Our work in Gros Morne touches one small part of the possibilities that exist. We thank you for joining us in supporting our friends in Gros Morne.

*In the newsletter we had slightly different figures. While the total number of trees planted remains the same – there more trees planted through the Lorax partnership than we originally reported, and fewer trees delivered directly from the Grepen Center.

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