Saturday, April 30, 2011

On Caged birds, Now and then

What the caged bird feels - Haiti Today, 
Dunbar Yyesterday

Minooche  is one of my neighbors up in the mountains. She shared good times with our visiting student teams and made herself indispensable, helping with camera equipment, school tasks and running errands up and down to La Tournelle.  Her mother could no longer feed her, so, with her reputation for industry and skills, Minooche was able to find a place with a relative, a family nearby.  She can see her mother and siblings all the time.  She lives rather like an "au pair," an older sister and not a "slave" sharing family life in a small busy home with 3 younger children and helps her uncle's various enterprises - charging cell phones, and heading up development in behalf of the mountain community.  She does laundry, carries water, cooks for and feeds the children. She gets to go to school.  You will see her in our various photo collections and films. She's just a little girl. And she sings and dances anyway.  And I applaud.

Minooche is a bird who sings. And I understand why.  And I applaud her.

Paul Lawrence Dunbar

I know what the caged bird feels, alas!
          When the sun is bright on the upland slopes;
When the wind stirs soft through the springing grass,
And the river flows like a stream of glass;
          When the first bird sings and the first bud opes,
And the faint perfume from its chalice steals--
I know what the caged bird feels!

I know why the caged bird beats his wing
          Till its blood is red on the cruel bars;
For he must fly back to his perch and cling
When he fain would be on the bough a-swing;
          And a pain still throbs in the old, old scars
And they pulse again with a keener sting--
I know why he beats his wing!

I know why the caged bird sings, ah me,
          When his wing is bruised and his bosom sore,--
When he beats his bars and he would be free;
It is not a carol of joy or glee,
          But a prayer that he sends from his heart's deep core,
But a plea, that upward to Heaven he flings--
I know why the caged bird sings!

Friday, April 29, 2011


In this summer program for the truly disadvantaged kids in our mountain zone - many who have not been to school at all - we share math concepts and discovery math principles with hands on problems and discussion, dialogue.  Children talk - to one another and to facilitators - as they experiment and explore.   Answers are not provided - they are discovered.  Noisy?  You betcha!

Yes, you can join in the discoveries this summer.  Contact Randy Mont-Reynaud on FB and plan on a novel learning experience up at 3500 feet in rural Haiti.

More annotated photos at this link:



Thursday, April 28, 2011


Environmental Education at 3500 feet and climbing

Our summer program featured the science of the great outdoors.  We endeavored explore the diverse habitats and wildlife.  The "Bug Club" set out to identify bugs, beetles and butterflies.

Here, 10 year-old Sonel shows off his prize, a praying mantis.  

Later, some of us make the climb to the pinnacles of Fort Kampon - and had hands bitten by red ants to prove it!

The Bug Club students and visitors took a hike to the Niagara Falls of Zoranje, the most splendiferous source of water within a rage of 30 kilometers.  Hiking there is no walk in the park, believe me.  But it is very rewarding once you arrive.

Afterwards, Dieulifait draws in his sketchbook. Below is our friendly neighborhood tarantula, making an unexpected house call.  oops!  Of all the diverse habitats, the tarantula is most at home...with us!

Where does all this learning take place?  Our outdoor laboratory is located at 3500 feet, gorgeously overlooking the plain of Leogane.  Here is one view from the school.

We continue to explore local habitats for some of humanity.  Join us? Support us at

Call to Diaspora Action! Your mission, should you choose to accept it...

Call to Action! Your mission, should you choose to accept it...

All fall down! One school has tumbled, the other did not have much to lose. Yes, we know there are needs toupatou Ayiti - but we can probably only do one mountain school (or two?) at a time - with your help.

The fallen school (shown here) was once funded by a relative of Ms. Edwige Danticat who was among those lost on Jan. 12, 2010.

Many children - indeed most - in this remote mountain enclave of some 2000 people have never been to school. Our summer hands-on math camp has been a small effort pioneering schooling for this zone. This summer, si Dieu vle, we will promote literacy through ti liv nan Kreyol - a sample volume, Ranje Kouve, is shown here. If Pigs Could Fly Haiti has already posted these stories on the website - next step might be bringing small laptops to the zone....They can be charged by solar power - If Pigs Could Fly Haiti will be shipping equipment for solar power, with your help.

Mon Bouton/La Tournelle is an ideal community for an "incubator" of development ideas. Bring yours! Give a little, 'cause it helps a lot, RIGHT HERE: or even here:

Saturday, April 23, 2011


National Service, anyone? In Haiti, the government has been a private industry, a business. A good move now could be for unemployed, underemployed and languishing university grads IN HAITI to take themselves to the hills, andeyo, to share and learn with rural Haitians, implement literacy and use some of that pricey education that their families (and others) paid dearly for.

National Service component would bridge the gap of understanding, build unity, and perhaps, sow not a few seeds of democratic discussion, representation and literacy.
Educated elite are far too cloistered, and the masses of people,disenfranchised, distant and disillusioned.

People make peace, make mistakes, make war, make love, make babies, share knowledge, transfer technology, share and reject ideas, cooperate or is this synergy that has been stymied by class bias and discrimination --- in the ABSENCE, largely, of whites ---- and an ideology of caste that is a ...carry-over from pre-18th century Europe ---in Haiti, relatively isolated during some 200-300 years(and still so).

Got to get those boots on the ground, yes? If not YOU, who? If not NOW, when?

An Army would be more palatable (and yes, to replace MINUSTAH!) if re-construed as National Service, which I believe is in the Haitian Constitution if I am not mistaken ---- how do you get this implemented, Haitianos?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


It has arrived:  everything, panels, pumps, tools.  Needed: some intern/volunteer/local pay scale  expertise to team up with our rural community.

This apparatus will work so she doesn't have to work so hard or walk so far.  Solar coming soon to a mountain zone near you!

The apparatus will have a component that can charge other items as well.  We plan to ship at the end of the summer, si Dieu vle.


One of the glorious huge solar panels to be shipped to Haiti;

Bos Eric gathering data;

the pyrroheliometer, gathering sunlight;

one of the two pumps that will go the distance.

APRIL 18, 2011 - Eric writes:

I recorded voltage produced by the solar panel and insolation (energy in sunlight) while the restricting valve increased pressure on the pump, simulating various heights. I also should have recorded current and voltage at the pump (on the output side of the controller); maybe next time. The attached graphs show the values for a 15 minute period. As load increases, voltage drops down to the 24 volts set by the controller. I suspect a 180 watt panel would still have a voltage above 24 V, where this 150 W panel can't maintain a higher voltage.

The voltage graph has a text box showing pressure values, and volume output measured by the old-fashioned bucket and watch method (no electronics!). At 80 psi, volume is still above the rated 1.4 gallons per minute. At 100 psi, the volume is only about half the rated output, meaning the pump has slowed down (but not stopped!). I tested it to 110 psi (where the hose bulges enough to show we need higher quality materials) in a later data set but didn't measure volume. The equivalent heights in feet are:
psi ft H2O
10 22
40 90
80 180
100 225
110 247

The pyrheliometer measured wide changes in solar energy, corresponding to clouds and people passing by and shading it. At one point (around 850 seconds into the test) I asked some visitors to block the sensor with their hands, which reduced insolation to zero (no surprise). In space, the sun provides about 1000 watts per square meter; air is not as transparent as we think, so at Earth's surface it is typically 750-800 watts/m2. Most of our measurements were between 200 and 600 W/m2. A few were over 1000, probably because extra light was reflected off something shiny into the sensor.

David was concerned enough about wind loading to ask me to tie the tripod legs to the cement blocks, which I did. This helped keep it upright in today's earthquake, as well as wind. I calculated the pressure and force of various wind speeds on the panel, and the moment, or tendency to tip over. A Sharp panel is rated at 50 pounds per square foot, which a 140 mile-per-hour hurricane just reaches. I suspect the bolts have a safe limit around 300 pounds, or a 70 mph wind speed. To keep the tripod from tipping over, a ton of weight is needed on the upwind leg at 140 mph. If 70 mph is taken as a reasonable maximum with the tripod upright, 500 pounds weight per leg is needed; this can be done with well-made footings covered with stones or packed dirt. If the wind is over 70 mph, they should fold the tripod and lay it flat.


For sustained wind speed: Force = A × P × Cd A = projected area of the item P = wind pressure (lb/ft^2) = .00256 x V^2 (V= wind speed in mi/hr) Cd = Drag coefficient = 2.0 for flat plates. For a long cylinder, Cd = 1.2.
A, ft2 12 height 11
Cd 2 base 6.5

speed P F moment, lb-ft anchor weight, lb
10 0.256 6 68 10
20 1.024 25 270 42
30 2.304 55 608 94
40 4.096 98 1081 166
50 6.400 154 1690 260
60 9.216 221 2433 374
70 12.544 301 3312 509
80 16.384 393 4325 665
90 20.736 498 5474 842
100 25.600 614 6758 1040
110 30.976 743 8178 1258
120 36.864 885 9732 1497
130 43.264 1038 11422 1757
140 50.176 1204 13246 2038

APRIL 20, 2011- Notes from Bos Eric

I measured voltage at the panel output and at the pump input, and current flowing through the pump (graphs attached) with pressures from 0 to 120 psi. There is still water being pumped at 120 psi (264 feet rise) but not a useful amount. Voltage X current = power in watts. The panel produced up to 120 watts (vs. its rated 150 watts); some loss could be from clouds, but David Coale had said it might have a small defect, which would account for some or all the 30 watt difference. The graphs look funny at 80 psi, with the pump consuming more power than the panel put out; this is because of a 5 minute time difference between the two voltage measurements; a cloud covered the sun during the panel voltage measurement. The same happened measuring no-load "off" (open circuit) voltage, which was 41 volts before the test and 38 volts afterward. After this test, I disassembled everything and brought it home. All in all, I think we tested it well enough to be confident it will do the job.

Randy asked about shipping weights. Each system will ship in 2 boxes of 40 - 50 lbs each: the panel in one, and everything else (except pipe) in the other. Here are the requirements for buying EMT pipe locally:
3 each 1 1/2 inch (actually 44.2 mm diameter) EMT, 10 feet (3.05 meters) long
2 each 1 inch (29.6 mm diameter) EMT, 10 feet long (cut into 5 foot lengths)
6 each 3/4 inch (23.4 mm) EMT, 10 feet long (cut into 7 and 3 foot lengths)

If the panel does not have to be on a tripod, but can be lower to the ground, I have a design for a simpler 4-leg A-frame structure to hold it. This would use 2 pieces 1 1/2 inch EMT, 1 piece 1 inch and 2 pieces 3/4 inch.

April 20, 2011: Randy Writes
You can see the light blue painted fasteners Eric made at the Tech Shop especially for the tripod. I tried to insert a close up photo of them in this blog, and it started throwing all other photos out. But: these are original, home-made, hand-made and...pretty neat!

So one non-technical task remains: All this sophistication, and all this technology and still a problem. How to ship these to Haiti, efficiently? Anyone got room in their private plane or...?
Please send your ideas and contributions to the Cause at
In God we trust...and hope! Thanks!


Monday, April 11, 2011

Music by Boukman Eksperyans and Stanford alum's Film "My Mountain"

The film that started it all!

I always thought of Marie Josee's award-winning film, produced during her freshman year at Stanford, as a cross between Anne Frank's diary in Haiti and Gidget goes to Haiti. The 22 min. film has moved thousands of audiences and was the impetus behind Stanford's student organization Moving Mountains. This group developed into our small non-profit --- we put the "non" into "non-profit," believe me!

ANONS: Pomp Solè pou Zoranje zone - Demo pou jou Latè

Pomp Solè Demo pou jou Latè
"Si Kochon kapab Vole-Ayiti" pral demontre yon ponp dlo solè ki mache fèt pou yon kominote nan mòn peyi Ayiti nan Fwa nan Jou Latè, Full Circle Farm, 1055 Dunford Way a Sunnyvale, Avril 17 yo de 10 am a 3 pm evènman an se gratis.


Solè Pump Demonstrasyon nan Jou Latè nan Sunnyvale nan
SI kochon KAPAB vole: Ede Ayiti Hillside

Riral Ayiti gen bezwen anpil. Menm dlo a difisil vin pa.

pral yon ponp dlo solè ki mache pou yon kominote nan mòn yo an Ayiti ap demontre pandan Latè Jou Fwa a nan Full Farm Circle a Sunnyvale, Avril 17 yo de 10 am a 3 pm. Sa se yon egzanp ekselan sou kouman teknoloji solè ofri yon solisyon ki ba anpil-koute yon pwoblèm egi, ak enèji libere fanm nan pou lòt pwojè pou amelyore lavi yo.

Volontè gen envante yon mwayen ede kominote a nan seksyon riral Zoranje jwenn dlo pou bwè pou kwit manje, ak benyen. kounye a, dlo a te pote nan bokit sou tèt yo nan rezidan-anjeneral fanm ak timoun - depi sous dlo ak rivyè, pran otan ke 60 minit wonn-vwayaj. tranbleman tè a 2010 chanje koule dlo anba tè, fè sous enfidèl fin vye granmoun. Yon senp, fyab ponp solè, fif ak tank depo pral pote anpil dlo pi pre pwen nan itilize (men pa nan kay endividyèl)

Dr Randy Mont-Reynaud te gen enspirasyon la dèyè "Si Kochon kapab Fly - Ayiti", etabli an 2001, avèk sipò nan Palo Alto Friends reyinyon. Li se kounye a yon òganizasyon taks sou-egzante, avèk yon anplwaye tout volontè nan 3. Nan liy ki gen kounye a re-reflechi sou ajenda a èd etranje, sant filozofi l 'sou devlopman imen olye ke charite, ak sipò nan lidèchip ayisyen ki kapab òganize pwòp pwojè devlopman yo. An kolaborasyon ak lidèchip sa a, objektif yo te pote nouvo teknoloji ak enfrastrikti nan zòn mòn, relativman izole depi 1804. ki pa Peye-a konsantre sou nan kominote youn nan rejyon an, Zoranje, anwo plenn nan Leogane. lavil ki pi pre a, Darbonne, se yon vwayajè èdtan twa desann tournan chemen Rocky; pa gen wout moute mòn yo. Darbonne limenm se kèk 30 mil nan kapital la Ayiti, Port au Prince.Darbonne te sitou pote nan tranbleman tè an.

Sunday, April 10, 2011


Young Evins, who has previously read through and translated the illustrated text into Kreyol and French, now shares the story with some children of our neighborhood. Most have little or no education. Evins' father is a school teacher; Evins has been sent to school in Kafou. He has assisted with visitors to the mountain zone since 2002. And is daily growing...