It’s been several weeks since I returned from Haiti and I’m still processing. I could write a book on what I’ve absorbed since starting this journey in January, but I’d rather just do something about it. I will try to get a few articles up in the next few weeks about what occurred, what we saw, what the future holds.
The main thing I’d like to share right now is our plans to bring some people from the SE division of the Ministry of the Environment to Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota to get training on Keyline Design and other permaculture techniques and principles. They are very interested in using permaculture to revitilize their economy and rehabilitate the eroded and denuded hillsides and mountaintops of Haiti.
There are many differences between Pine Ridge and Haiti – they are two very different worlds culturally. But the similarities are haunting, especially in the sufferings of poverty and oppressions, so much so, that when the idea arose, it made perfect sense to bring this contingent to Pine Ridge to see the permaculture “revitilization” program ongoing there. Many elements of that program would also work in Haiti, and some of them are already being implemented under this Ministry.
While you may have heard negative things about the Haitian government and no doubt some of them are true, they are most definitely not true 100% of the time, in 100% of the government. There are sincere, competent, and passionate people working in the government who are in a position to do something about their country and we feel the people we are working with in the Ministry fall into that category. They have recently created a vermicomposting program, they are researching sustainable polycropping, agroforestry, they gave full back up and support to our permaculture team, providing an office and connections which enabled them to “teach the teachers” in their limited time there, and have continued to provide support to those of us still involved.
In turn, we’d like to bring them to Pine Ridge to give them the knowledge of keyline design. This is a highly appropriate technology to remediate the denuded hills of Haiti, and it will dovetail with a program the government is already running, teaching women to run heavy machinery like tractors, doing earth moving. There are many ways in which keyline design can dovetail with ongoing energies and create really positive results.
If you’d like to assist us to bring this to fruition, please contact us via our site. Please also let others know that participation in our keyline class or other classes at the rez will help fund this project as well as the Pine Ridge project.
Haiti – Donate Now…
AND/OR Purchase Books and Products. Portions of the proceeds allows us to reach out to communities such as these.
We have three sanitation experts who want to go to Haiti to set up safe sanitation systems, and we are gathering equipment to go there as well. They will teach Haitians how to set up sanitation systems from existing resources (even rubble from collapsed housing can be helpful) while they are setting up systems. One of them has set up systems for thousands of people.
We plan to use a variety of systems including trench systems which separate liquid and solid human waste – the urine can be used as fertilizer for crops which can accelerate growth in badly degraded areas and the solid waste will compost safely much faster than if mixed with liquids.
We are working on putting together a team of water filtration, capture and reuse experts as water is the #1 issue there right now that is life threatening. The wells have been compromised by the quake and many of the pumps are down as well, so they need pumps.
We continue to work with groups in Little Haiti, Miami, to raise funds for sustainable relief efforts.
Your donations will pay for plane fares, equipment and food for the rescue workers.
We have created a database for volunteers for both now and future rebuilding efforts and are in planning stages for long term rebuilding, including education, building, planting sustainable food (food forestry, agroforestry, polycropping, etc. We have gotten a number of offers to donate seed and equipment to help create food and water security. Haiti used to be a major rice exporter and had enough food to feed her people. Politics and economic manipulation destroyed their food industry and we want to help bring it back.
An international web site has been set up to coordinate activities at permaculturehaiti.org. If you’re interested in volunteering, donating equipment or other things, please see the blogs and email list at that site, as it is now the central hub for permaculture solutions for Haiti.
To a much brighter future for Haiti,