Grant Site Update: Colorado Haiti Project
A well-known Haitian proverb advises, Sonje lapli a ki leve mayi ou, meaning, “Remember the rain that helps your corn grow.” The students and faculty of St. Paul’s School in Petit Trou share their gratitude for the gardens and the produce that are growing as a result of the support of the United Thank Offering.
Over the last eight months, the team at St. Paul’s has been supporting vital recovery after the devastation caused by Hurricane Matthew. Approximately 90 percent of community crops were lost, including thousands of mango, plantain, and avocado trees, which are essential producers of nutrition. While many disaster response groups descended on Haiti to help address urgent issues, it is programs like St. Paul’s agriculture education initiative that provide the support necessary to make the community whole again and to help it grow back stronger.
Our agricultural team worked with students at St. Paul’s to plant a garden capable of supplying the school lunch program. By February, tomatoes, onions, and cabbages were ready, and this harvest was followed by a March crop of melons, okra, and eggplants. The mango and lime trees will take a few years to start to produce, but crops of moringa and peanuts are providing nourishing food already!
Agronomist and teacher, Kenel Pierre, has ensured that his students take the agriculture lessons home to share with their families. He along with his partner, Jean Louis Smith, make regular visits to the students’ homes, checking on progress and answering questions the families have about the gardens.
In the past two months, Kenel and Jean Louis took what they had learned from the UTO agriculture program and implemented a peanut project to help address a need for protein at the school. This peanut crop was funded entirely by the community itself, after seeing what was possible through the previous UTO-funded efforts.
Kenel spoke passionately about the importance of UTO support:
“My feelings about the program are many, because we got so much done after the hurricane. We grew 50 varieties of vegetables in our gardens and we fed at least 3,000 people with the produce from the program. We are still feeding people today! We also made progress on our goat project, beginning with 14 goats – now we have 31 goats! We built a very nice, big peanut farm, along with corn, beans, cassava, and melons, and we have a chicken coop with 60 chickens. We planted 1,000 lime trees with a small community named ‘Lendo’ as well, and two weeks ago, we planted 250 moringa trees at St. Paul’s School. So as you can see, we work very hard and have made big impact in Petit Trou de Nippes!”
Sonje lapli a ki leve mayi ou! With the partnership of the United Thank Offering and all the church supporters around the country, a life-saving project in rural Haiti has been launched with the potential to grow for years to come. Thank you for the support and stay tuned for updates from our partners in Petit Trou.