a la pwochenn – until next time when we meet again

IMG_0292I always leave Duchity with mixed emotions.  Sad to leave my friends, so much work to be done yet, exhausted from long day, sun and rain, yet anxious to be back in my own bed again, and my home with running hot and cold water which you can drink straight from the tap.

I return on the eve of Passover, the Jewish holiday that celebrates our liberation from slavery in Egypt over 2000 years ago.  It is one of the ways I have long felt a bond with the Haitian people, the first successful modern slave rebellion in 1804.  But in so many ways are we not still slaves?  in the US many are slaves to fashion and materialism, to cars and homes and jobs that claim too many hours. In Haiti, too many people are slaves to a life struggle to eek out a living from the earth.  Yet we meet in a common ground of gratitude for the strength to make each day count and together to make a difference.

The ride from Duchity to Port au Prince is long, hot and dusty.  Despite major improvements in the road, it still took us over 7 hours to arrive as we entered the traffic of Port au Prince in mid-afternoon.  The contrast between the clean air of the mountains of Duchity and the stench of diesel fuel and garbage in Port au Prince is overwhelming.  Everyone from Duchity that has migrated to the capitol for hopes of work dreams of going back to a life centered on family and farming and less stress.  Yet the promise of work tears them away from their roots.

One of the aims of Youthaiti’s new Center for Sustainable Development is to help create the possibility of new enterprises for young men and women that will keep them in their communities.  Sustainable gardening is just one way.  There are many micro-enterprises that we have discussed and dream of, such as ecological charcoal briquette making, and ecological cook-stoves and simple bottle lights for people with tin roofs.  And working with other partners such as our engineering friends from the University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez, we hope to find sustainable energy resources that can help promote agricultural production and preservation.

There was much excitement in Duchity for the Center.  Already our compost site is started, and our Arborloo is almost finished (it awaits the door).  Some gardens are planted, with more to come.  But without your help, we will have a site but not a building where people can stay to learn and to teach.

I am already starting to plan our next visit in July (dates TBD) and would love to have your help!  We need carpenters and schleppers, gardeners and solar electricity experts. We need folks with strong arms and backs, and also folks with hearts waiting to be broken open by the people, and especially the children, of Duchity.  If you any skill or none but a willingness to work, please contact me so we can figure out how you can fit in!

Be willing to have your life changed, as mine was 7 years ago…

as we say in Kreyol, ‘a la pwochenn’….until next time when we meet again!




Leave a Reply