Grant Site Update: Colorado Haiti Project
In a recent trip to Petit-Trou-de-Nippes, Haiti, I visited the grant site of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church and School for their first agriculture festival. The UTO grant gave the Colorado Haiti Project, in partnership with several local people from St. Paul’s, the funding to hire an agronomist/teacher and build a garden that was capable of feeding the entire school at lunch.
The agronomist, Kenel Pierre, has done a remarkable job of working with the students and nature to create a relationship between them and to foster an understanding of what it takes to build, grow, and care for a garden. Not only has he shown the students of St. Paul’s every step of creating a garden, from tilling the ground to pruning the plants to harvesting the produce, but also he and his co-teacher, Jean Louis Smith, have made regular visits to all the students’ homes to help them work on their own gardens. The students not only are learning how to provide food for themselves and their families for life, but also are recognizing that they are important enough to have someone care about them to make home visits and are gaining self-confidence in themselves and their work.
Teresa Henry, director of operations and development for Colorado Haiti Project, took a group of volunteers, and me, around Petit Trou and the surrounding areas to see some of the students’ gardens. The students were excited to have visitors to whom they could show their gardens and hard work. Seeing the delight and pride on the students’ faces was rewarding, and it clearly demonstrated that God’s work is being done in Petit-Trou-de-Nippes.
The agriculture festival was established as a way for St. Paul’s to sell its excess produce, educate the community about the importance of agriculture, offer an opportunity for local artists to display and sell their work, and provide a fun celebration for the community to come together and support each other. The festival was such a rousing success that the organizers decided to hold it every year!