Day 5. And, it’s Friday the 13th in Haiti.
I was initially a little wary of what this day could bring … but in some Asian cultures, 13 is actually a rather auspicious number. Our day began as usual – yoga on the roof (David, one of our Haitian guides, and Evelyn, one of the caretakers of the house, actually joined us this time) and a quick breakfast of oatmeal and the chicory-like coffee from the lady we dubbed Starbucks around the corner. The morning was pretty productive – Greg and I finished the kitchen shelves, along with the kitchen table. I always feel so accomplished after physically building something.
Yoga on the roof!
Kitchen Shelves, Greg and Betty Originals
By midday, our new friend Val came over to take Greg and I to this farm he’d been telling us about. I was so anxious to visit and see this place – just to see a more rural part of Haiti. And, I was desperate for fresh air! The stagnant air in the urban areas is so thick with diesel and dust, it was so hard on my body to process after a few days. Spoiled Americans, LOL.
Driving to the Farm
Greg and I didn’t know what to expect really. We weren’t exactly clear on what kind of “farm” this was. The drive out was of course riddled with drama – running out of gas, starter problems … but after about 45 minutes, we finally made it. By mileage, it was probably not even 10 miles away – but the roads are so horrendous, we were practically off-roading the entire way.
Off-roading to the farm we go!
But as expected, the land was beautiful! It was so refreshing to see the lovely, green countryside. The farm, Double Harvest, is owned by three American brothers of Dutch descent. And, yes, it was a large, industrial, American-style farm. For someone who supports her small, local farmers, it was a moment of humility, LOL. Now here’s a situation where this large industrial farm works and you really can’t argue against it. This farm employs and feeds hundreds of Haitians in need.
Chickens and eggs a-plenty at this farm
They produced everything from spinach, cucumbers, tomatoes, eggs to fish … and more! You place your order on arrival and wait as they pick everything fresh from the fields! And relatively inexpensive – I donated $20 worth of produce to Val’s orphanage. Twenty dollars got them: 90 eggs, 5 lbs. of spinach, 5 lbs. of cucumbers and 5 lbs. of tomatoes. Apparently that would keep his 40+ kids fed for over a week.
They called this Spinach but it was more of a variant of Swiss Chard.
We stopped by Val’s orphanage before our trip to the farm – it was a concrete building and so much nicer than the dingy plywood structures at Dr. Robert’s. The rooms were also better organized, clean and clearly under adult supervision. Val and his wife raised these kids like their own and lived on site with them. But don’t get me wrong — they were still total impoverished conditions.
Some of Val’s ADORABLE kids
I really appreciated the opportunity and graciousness of Val (May he rest in peace) to take us to the farm. It was a nice, much needed break to the week … and did my spirits much good to see a part of Haiti that was still arguably beautiful. There IS HOPE. It really crushes the soul to see so much misery, with seemingly no end in sight … Even on the farm, you could see the despair and destruction of the country. Off to the one horizon, you could see the mountains bordering the urban landscape. Mountains, totally barren, dusty and deforested. Val told us they used to be green and lush – but over decades, all the trees were cut down for charcoal. Right across the border in the Dominican Republic, the government supplies its citizens with stoves which eliminates the need for charcoal. Amazing how a simple program can save thousands of acres of forest.