Tuesday, November 12, 2013

WATER BLOGGED - It works!!

So, yes indeed, the pumps worked, the people worked, and the rocks came down too...But, our local bricoleur, Jack-of-All-Trades, man of many hats, Elisee Abraham, has his ingenuity working for us. Here's how things were when we left i9n August. Elisee's innovation is to rely on gravity to bring the water first DOWN, rather than up, to get it closer to the path where people ascend and descend to and from markets and churches. He'll use the pumps at 2 other, more protected locations, other than the sites you see here. Yes, a work in progress - but, yes, PROGRESS!

Look here, click here:

Solar Powered Pumps

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Enposib se pa Ayisyen! Digicel fek pwogre nan zon nou


Construction continues of our mountain school, block by block

Many thanks to Digicel, former CEO Elizabeth Headon, CEO Sofia Stransky, Elisee Abraham, Dieudonne Abraham,  Pwof Felix and everyone who helped make this fairly incredible project happen.

Needless to say, this project has created jobs and encouraged small businesses in the mountains to expand - note the open-air tin roofed structure in the center of the photo.  It is a shelter for yon ti machan, ki vann pate, banan frite, lot bagay.

Enposib se pa Ayisyen!  Se pa ti bel li bel!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Aux approches des élections municipales: Dimitry Romulus à Léogâne


Aux approches des élections municipales à Léogâne, Dimitry Romulus est pressenti 
pour prendre les règnes de la mairie de cette dite commune. À cet effet, 
j'envisage des gens ayant lumière comme vous en vue d'examiner de plus près les 
idées novatrices de Romulus qui est à l'unanimité le choix du peuple Léogânais. 
Sa priorité reste la canalisation de la Rivière Rouyonne qui est une menace pour 
la communauté. Son réalisme, son plan réalisable, sa volonté, et la 
détermination de son personnel, font de son cartel le plus chevronné à donner un 
nouveau visage à la cité de la Reine.

Dimitry Romulus, né le 26 janvier 1982 à Léogâne Haïti, est un descendant d'une 
longue lignée d'ancêtres de Romulus incluant Prima Romulus dite: Madame André 
Romulus native de la région d'Orangers, Léogâne. Dimitry Romulus a obtenu son 
enseignement préscolaire, primaire et secondaire à Juvénat Collège Sacré-Cœur. 
Après avoir déménagé aux États-Unis, il a terminé ses études supérieures, puis 
joint l'armée américaine où il devint un spécialiste en logistique.

Romulus est un vétéran de guerre; il a servi deux tours de service en Irak avec 
les américains. Il est maintenant, prêt à mener un nouveau combat, une bataille 
pour sauver Léogâne. Tout comme Henri Christophe a combattu dans la révolution 
américaine pendant le siège de Savannah et le général Toussaint Louverture qui 
avait servi dans l'armée française. Romulus émerge comme une version moderne de 
Toussaint, bien capable de ramener Léogâne vers ses jours de gloire.

Il est un diplômé de l'école sous-officier à Fort Drum New York, où il a 
maîtrisé en leadership développement. Pendant qu'il servait dans l'armée, il 
obtint un diplôme en gestion d'entreprise. Son esprit d'entrepreneur l'a incité 
à lançer sa propre entreprise aux États-Unis. Ses études à l'Institut de Gestion 
d'Urgences à Maryland l'a spécialement préparé à gérer tous les types de 
catastrophes naturelles et d'autres cas d'urgences que Léogâne peuvent 
rencontrer. En 2005, ses aptitudes en gestion d'urgence ont été mises en 
application lors de l'ouragan Katrina, qui a été l'une des plus meurtrières des 
ouragans et la plus destructive de l'Amérique.

En l'an 2010, au cours de l'horrible tremblement de terre à Léogâne, Romulus, 
encore une fois, s'est avéré d'être un atout formidable pour sa communauté. Ses 
pertinentes connaissances en gestion d'urgence étaient vitales à la réussite de 
la réinsertion des 635 familles qui ont perdu leurs maisons à Léogâne après le 
séisme. Avec un palmarès cohérent de succès dans la réalisation d'un large 
éventail d'objectifs tout au long de sa carrière, Romulus offre du leadership, 
de vision et de compétence, ce qui serait très bénéfique pour notre chère 
communauté. En résumé les valeurs qu'il apportera à la municipalité comprennent:

a) Plus d'une décennie d'expérience dans des rôles de leadership au sein des 
opérations complexes et dirige des tâches exigeantes aux États-Unis et dans des 
endroits internationaux.

b) Des compétences avancées en matière de développement individuel et d'équipe, 
incluant la formation, l'encadrement et l'évaluation des réalisations du 
personnel. Il emploie une approche pratique qui conduit à des performances 
améliorées.

c) De haut niveau d'adaptabilité et de flexibilité acquise en travaillant dans 
des missions extrêmement stratégiques et vitales, incluant les efforts de 
secours humanitaires et des opérations de conflit.

Ses distinctions et décorations comprennent une citation du Sénat et de 
l'Assemblée Générale de l'état de New Jersey. La médaille élogieuse de l'armée 
américaine lui a été attribuée pour son service méritoire exceptionnel au cours 
de l'opération Enduring Freedom. La guerre globale contre le terrorisme médaille 
de service pour sa participation en appui direct à la guerre globale contre le 
terrorisme. La médaille de la défense nationale pour son service honorable dans 
la défense du peuple des États-Unis d'Amérique. La médaille de la campagne 
irakienne pour son service en Irak à l'appui de l'opération Iraqi Freedom et de 
nombreux rubans militaires. Et maintenant que vous êtes familier avec l'origine 
de Dimitry Romulus, nous allons découvrir ce qu'il a fait au profit de Léogâne 
et de ses citoyens. 

En 2008, il a recueilli des milliers de signatures pour une pétition pour avoir 
la double nationalité inclut dans la constitution amendée afin que les Diasporas 
de Léogâne puissent conserver leurs pleins droits comme citoyens. Au cours des 
années, il a participé dans plusieurs événements et conférences toujours pour la 
promotion de Léogâne. Peu importe, si c'est la première conférence de Jatropha 
en Haïti, International Business Meeting, National Congress and Convention of 
Haitian-Americans, Association of Haitian Professionals Development/ Business 
Incubation, Invest in Haiti Forum ou Haiti Business/Investment Expo & 
Conference. Tout ce qu'il fallait, partout où il allait et avec qui il 
rencontrait, il s'assurait que Léogâne était bien représentée.

Pendant et après la catastrophe du 12 janvier 2010, il a aidé à distribuer de la 
nourriture, des abris et des médicaments pour les victimes du tremblement de 
terre. Romulus a utilisé son expertise militaire pour contacter et guider les 
forces multinationales. Il a fourni des zones d'atterrissage pour les 
hélicoptères de l'ONU, afin qu'ils puissent aider d’avantage les gens de 
Léogâne. Il a donné refuge aux victimes et a permis aux réfugiés de rester sur 
son propriété privé à Dampus, Fond-Sable, Vieux Coup et Nantimo. En mars 2010, 
sous son leadership, le premier camp des réfugiés en Haïti a été évacué et 
réinstallé avec succès. Cette opération était la première du genre dans le cadre 
des interventions menées actuellement en réponse à la catastrophe.

Romulus a collaboré avec la société américaine "Google" et le centre national de 
l'information géo-spatiale (CNIGS) pour pouvoir afficher les rues principales de 
Léogâne sur Google Earth/Map. Avant son intervention, la représentation visuelle 
de Léogâne sur Google Map était tout simplement un canevas vide.

Au début de 2011, il a coordonné et collaboré avec la chaîne de nouvelles 
américaines (PBS) News-hour pour diffuser Léogâne sur les actualités dans un 
effort pour obtenir plus d'exposition médiatique à Léogâne, car à l'époque les 
efforts de reconstruction à Léogâne étaient presque inexistants. À l'époque, il 
n'y avait absolument rien accompli à Léogâne mais l'implication active de 
Romulus dans l'affaire a beaucoup contribué envers la communauté internationale 
et l'état haïtien de se concentrer plus sur Léogâne. Ses efforts ont servi de 
catalyseur pour tous les travaux qui se réalisent aujourd'hui dans l'ensemble de 
Léogâne.

Il a déclenché son esprit d'innovation pour fournir à la population de Léogâne 
avec les moyens d'envoi et de recevoir des fax, avant ses efforts, les habitants 
de Léogâne devaient voyager jusqu'à Port-au-Prince pour envoyer ou recevoir un 
simple fax. Ceci est un autre excellent exemple positif de la façon dont Romulus 
a l'intention d'aider les petites entreprises à prospérer. Il est prêt à 
partager ses connaissances afin d'aider les propriétaires d'entreprise, afin 
qu'eux aussi puissent offrir de meilleurs services à notre communauté.

Romulus a convoqué l'assistance de l'ONU pour l'éradication d'un autobus de 
transport qui a coûté la vie de plusieurs Léogânais(e) en décembre 2011. Ce 
terrible accident avait pris la vie de Fabienne Fénelon une innocente jeune 
fille dont la vie était remplie d'espoir et de promesses lumineuses. Près de 
deux mois après cet incident, le véhicule endommagé n'a pas été retiré à 
l'intersection de la route de Darbonne et route 9. C'était seulement une 
question de temps avant cela provoquerait un autre accident. Il fut Romulus avec 
l'appui de l'ONU qui a finalement enlevé ce danger imminent dans la communauté.

Poursuivant sa collaboration avec la communauté internationale, il a réussi à 
identifier et coordonné avec l'ONU et d'autres organismes multinationaux d'avoir 
des gabions métalliques installés autour de la rivière Rouyonne dans le but 
d'empêcher celle-ci d'inonder la ville et ses environs. Après cela, lui et une 
équipe d'experts nationaux et internationaux ont visité plusieurs endroits 
stratégiques à Léogâne dans le but d'effectuer une étude plus approfondie de nos 
problèmes d'eau et d'assainissement dans la région. L'objectif fondamental de 
cette recherche était de mieux informer les processus décisionnels en matière 
d'eau et d'assainissement en pilotant un processus unique de participation à 
Léogâne qui pourrait être reproduit ailleurs. Il cherchait à caractériser les 
différents points de vue des acteurs régionaux concernant la façon dont les 
fonds de reconstruction pourraient être plus efficients et efficaces pour 
améliorer les conditions d'eau et d'assainissement à Léogâne. Les diverses 
méthodes de recherche appliqué ont contribué à la caractérisation de la 
profondeur et l'étendue du problème de l'eau et d'assainissement à Léogâne. 
Cette recherche exhaustive a également contribué à la provocation d'un large 
éventail de solutions à ces problèmes. Présentement, il y a deux stations 
météorologiques situées dans le bassin de la rivière Rouyonne en raison de ce 
projet. 

En 2012, il a organisé une des plus grandes et les plus ambitieuses campagnes de 
reboisement d'arbres indigènes à Léogâne. Bien que ce travail n’ait pas encore 
finalisé, c'est une étape cruciale dans la bonne direction. Dans l'espoir de 
restructurer l'image de Léogâne, Romulus a entamé une série de projets ambitieux 
pour relancer la valeur historique de la commune. Avec l'appui des anciens 
Léogânais(e), il a mis en place le drapeau, l'emblème et il a créé un nouveau 
sceau administratif pour Léogâne.

Il exalte les cyclistes de Léogâne en leur offrant l'occasion de diriger la 
première compétition de vélo de montagne (VTT) en Haïti. Le club cycliste de 
Léogâne (LCC), a fièrement représenté Haïti dans cette compétition où Jean Willy 
Joseph de Flon Léogâne, a remporté la première place dans la catégorie 
masculine. En janvier dernier, lors d’une rencontre avec le nouveau Ministre de 
la Jeunesse des Sports et de l’Action Civique, Mme Magalie Racine, Romulus a 
présenté une requête pour avoir le parc Gérard Christophe de Léogâne réinstitué. 
Après la grande victoire de Jean Willy Joseph, le Premier ministre et le 
ministre des Sports étaient si fiers des Léogânais, qu'ils ont promis de prendre 
le stade comme une priorité. En effet, le gouvernement a tenu sa promesse et 
maintenant le parc est en cours de reconstruction.

En Romulus, Léogâne gagnera un leader qui est bien équilibré - capable de 
résoudre non seulement nos problèmes sociaux et économiques mais également 
capable de lutter contre l'insécurité dans la commune. Une caractéristique rare 
qui ne peut pas être trouvée dans n'importe quels autres candidats. Plus 
particulièrement, les relations solides qu'il a établies avec d'autres membres 
de l'équipe, les organisations internationales et de la communauté régionale 
souvent donné lieu à des situations avantageuses et des fondations robustes pour 
les succès futurs. Sans aucun doute, son dynamisme, l'attitude positive et 
l'accent mis sur des résultats quantifiables seraient un ajout bienvenu à la 
municipalité.

This message was sent to mcsolaar@aol.com from:
Romulus Emprises Inc | 60 woodside avenue
60 | east windsor, new jersey 08520

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Caring Crosses Water, Pigs (and Goats) Fly

Caring traverses mountain paths; one partner helps one family make a fresh start after the hurricane season

Together with www.ifpigscouldflyhaiti.org , individuals in our Diaspora support life-changing projects in our mountain zone. Our mountain CEO (Chief Eternal Optimist) reports, "Foto ou we madam Marie ange ak sak diri, se premye voyaj li  te ale fe pwovizyon dabonn lot foto se pandan chapantye tap repare kay, epi mwen menm ki te ede pote planch palmis, ak pandan bos fini repare tet kay ak tol nef. Nou deja bali lajan pou achte semans pwa, pou plante jadenli."

First, our local CEO arrives with a Bos Chapantye, to try to salvage what can be recycled from Madam and Mesye Remon's home.  Our mountain had been hit hard by hurricanes Isaac, and Sandy - who knew?  The devastation, in terms of lost harvests, homes, animals and assets was, in a relative sense, as bad as hard-hit areas of the East Coast, U.S.A.  Who knew?



Never mind what big NGOs and governments did or didn't do with donations - we put 100% of all funds into the project pockets, directly to pay these workers, repair homes, and support families with a means to care for their families by raising project livestock - usually goats.
Rusty tin will still have its uses
Recycling, salvaging precious wood.

Bringing materials up up up and along trails like this is
no small feat.
Mesye Remon hefts a new sheet of tin with a grin.  All this was a pleasant surprise, even for me!
The family stands still for a moment for a photo: they are excited by the hubbub
and promise of a fresh start.  
  
The new roof will not leak, at east, not for a while.  Before, the children and parents stood in one corner when it rained, covering themselves with a bit of a tarp.  After a while, they gave up and stayed with Gran Dodo, which is where I spent considerable time with them this past summer.

The couple look out at their repaired home.
 They have received bean seedlings to plant and a goat (or two) to care for.  Things are really looking up!  

"M pa gen bouche pou di mesi," Mariange is rather breathless.
Ketlen's youngest sister, steadier now on her feet, is ready for a meal.
Her parents got a sack of rice and other "pwovisyon" with the support of  donations to "If Pigs Could Fly" - and especially, their unique sponsor.

Generally, If Pigs Could Fly supports work projects that involve the wider community.  In emergencies, we will step in, if we can and si Dieu vle, to help a family as here, and more generally, we help children and their families with gifts of livestock to raise.  With this support, and careful tending of their livestock, a family can pay school fees and pay for uniforms and tennis shoes so that some get to go to school.  If Pigs Could Fly runs a peanut butter "faktori" - production system, where local men and women roast and grind peanuts, and serve this as a snack at several mountain schools.  Our baker (new!) has clients and support for his business as well.

Myself?  As I write this, I'm about at a loss for words...Gratitude - I can't express this enough - and awe for the small miracles that can happen, that do happen, when someone is struck by an image, a photo, a video, and caring crosses the waters, traverses the paths and mountain trails, touching lives there - and here.  Thank you.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Lekol Digicel monte monte! Yon gwo kolaborasyon, vrèman

Mesi, Mesye Prezidan, osi Mesye Premye Ministre, Digicel, epi Mesye Denis O'Brien, Madam Sofia, Madam Elizabeth pou ede pep andeyo, timoun nan mon, nan zon riral, sezyem seksyon, Leyogan. Lekol preske fini!

Ak ed timoun epi tout abitan nan zon.  Men anpil, chay pa lou...

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Silicon Valley teams up with rural Haitians - to learn

Laugh and learn - we go to rural Haiti to learn from, and not teach to, our neighbors in these mountains.

Give a click, and the short music (Haitian!) video will pop up from Facebook, for your viewing pleasure. We're going for an Academy Award.

Double yer money back guaranteed!

Silicon Valley teams up with rural Haitians - to learn

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Marianje and her Neighbors of Mon Bouton


Mariange, stunningly beautiful even in worn rags, speaks her mind to me last year for a presentation at Haitian Studies Association, "What Woman Wants, God Wants." I tried to tell it, tell it her way. Words did not fail me, no sir-ee. Someday, I will tell you.

Mariange had been an orphan, and raised by Gran Dodo along with her sisters. Perhaps that explains why she married young? She had married relatively young, for a rural Haitian girl, in her late teens, to the much-older, but hard-working, church-going and capable Mesye R. They are a dedicated couple, and it does seem that love grows.  Then followed three girls, like stairs.
 





Magali's youngest (standing..er, tottering in bare feet) tries to put it together. The children watch and learn from each other. They have never seen materials like this before. Note the house Watkliffe constructed from the sturdy cardboard toddler books! What else would you do with a book, once you've looked at it, eh? 
Magali, adult on left, doesn't complain as every one tries to help. Never too young to work here. Her oldest is a skilled laundress and chief dishwasher; Watkliffe, at 8 (or 9? no one is sure) can earn his keep already, doing laundry.
Yes, she can!
First, scraping and scrubbing
Then, the rinse water...
Evline is 5 years old, or so. She has not been to school - yet. But with the family's new sponsor helping, (You know who you are, MG!) she and her younger sibling will be starting soon.
Time for a break  Hmm, what to do with these things?
Uh-unh baby!  Watkliffe admonishes the eager toddler.

A young assistant brings over some mashed gruel, as Meeta strives to wean her 3 month old. (!)
This infant will be left with Gran Dodo, for her to care for, and Mom will return to the capital to do...something. Anything. Anything to get by, and send food and what she can back up to the mountains. Do not weep for her; this is as good as it gets, and it has been going on for decades, centuries, as people try and get by.


Sewing Seeds of Revolution, er, Democracy: Constructivist Education in Rural Haiti


  
A Bit of Background: Popsicle Sticks, Lima beans, blocks and cubes  – Haiti, ahoy!
While the coffee is growing in nearby fields, we will be developing several exploratory, hands-on math concepts activities to share with children, Toma and teachers during the “d’ete” (summer school)

Like the classroom equipment and furnishings, the extent of rural education is minimal (Many teachers complete 8th or 9th grade, simply); teaching is all by rote and some can't write.  Learning is by oral repetition, like chanting or singing.  Interestingly, this approach is recently being reviewed by educators in the U.S. as a possible effective methodology with some learning styles...Hmmm.
Few students have any but stubby pencils...last year, I brought 100 small plastic pencil sharpeners (among other things) to replace the Gillette razor blades the 5 year olds were using!
And also: to piggyback social cognition and a child-centered, democratic classroom on top of the math curriculum.
In rural Haiti - as well as in the capital - even the smallest children are motivated to try to go to school and to learn.

This summer’s “clientele” are ALL ages and grade in school is irrelevant, as 11 years olds are as likely as 5 year olds to be in pre-school or first grade. Our goal is: to facilitate the learning/sharing of math ideas. That is, less to teach than to point some ways and see what they make (literally) of stuff.

Under girding all is the thought that even I don't have the chutzpah to revamp the minimal material that passes for "curriculum" in rural Haiti! Instead, I plan to do is share ideas with one or two teachers/head of school and see what they make of things...I am sure that there will be a lot of translation, and a lot lost in translation...But everyone, myself and student teams included, will learn something, no doubt.
Telling and re-telling a story, in Kreyol and English

We translated a summary of principles of child centered education - into French (for the older teachers) as well as Kreyol - to get the ideas across to teachers and parents, when I have the opportunity. So, some of the curriculum and ideas may hopefully morph into something, Haitian-style.

This summer, all we’ll be doing is sowing the seeds and guiding in the use of some manipulatives.  
If there’s interest, the exploration will continue managed by more Haitian teachers and parent volunteers, next summer and beyond.


The head of the nearby church "school" (yes, quotes are appropriate) is emphatic about learning about "Child-centered education" so...with all this, we are going to change the world, or a small bit of it, anyway...

The goal is not to teach mathematics, but to import some engaging methodologies to stimulate thinking, innovation and creative, "owner managed" learning...They may end up reinventing the wheel --- but, hey that's the idea! 
The teaching methods build on the Stanford model of Complex Instruction, in which the “educator” will present math conceptually, and piggy-backing social/interaction/communication skills/group work such that the teacher is more of a facilitator -- that is to say, there is less teaching but more learning going on.
Learning and development of the community of scholars happens in different dimensions along with math concepts.  Literally turning the tables in traditional Haitian schoolrooms, the summer school will set children to work in pairs and groups around tables (or church pews turned into a V-shape!). Talking to one another about math approaches and solutions will be a radical departure from the old sage on a stage paradigm of French, and Haitian, classical education. That authoritarian model, in which only the teacher is the arbiter of truth, can be slowly displaced/replaced as students are encouraged to talk with one another, share ALL ideas, respect ALL ideas and allow for differences, more than one solution, discrepancies, discussion.  Revolution!

There's lots of material (pie in the sky theory?) which could be a big move for sowing seeds of democracy, if not revolution, in what passes for classrooms in Haiti.  Once children have the concept that their opinion is valued by others, and they are in an environment where they can playfully take risks rather than be driven by need to quickly get the right answers, I think it will be an interesting. if small, step in a very small place towards more participatory...citizenship?
Retelling the story
Exploring a simple English text
So that’s the big picture.  That’s about it.
Importantly, the goal is not to prepare students for the French baccalaureate exam or the qualifying exams in the capital, nor for higher education in the capital, but for problem-solving, creative conceptual thinking in situ, that is, in their home zone, the rural area, the agricultural context. The current paradigm in rural schools is unrealistic and unreliable preparation for French education and a slow boat to Miami.  Better to engage students in novel methods of understanding place value, money concepts, geometry, fraction concepts, that they might derive from, use and build on the agricultural community’s knowledge and culture, and not in a mere "token" way...That is, we won't want to merely substitute counting ears of corn for counting plastic teddy bears, simply. We will work - as much as an outsider can - within the culture, with what we know and make of of it - and develop collaboratively with teachers (that in itself will be an education for both of us!) the seeds of a new curriculum, math curriculum that lends itself to problem-solving and innovation in rural Haiti.  
We will have literacy classes in Kreyol, and beginning English for some - I've resisted teaching English for 12 years, seeking rather to learn the language of the people, instead of showing my mastery of a language unknown to them. Now, there is a great demand for English, so I have to go with the flow, rise with the tide.  
We will "pilot" what we can this summer.  As they say in Kreyol, "Si Dye vle, so bon Dye vle."

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Rapò a jodi a soti nan 6eme sekson Leyogan

Grim, but not unusual. "Ane a sa a pi red pou nou,manit pwa vann 325 goud pwa nwa. yon gen tet chaje pou plante pwa."

What, if anything, should be done, dear readers?  Going hungry here is not acute, it's chronic.  Some of us tackle the erosion problem, the soil degradation; others take on Family Planning.  Still others try to come up with work-for-pay projects that even the illiterate might engage in; others build schools and talk about training teachers.  But it's food that's the issue  Food and fuel to cook it. I want to tell a better story, a happy ending story.  People are tired of the same-old same-old Haiti tragedies.  It takes an earthquake to really shake us to the foundations, to fund the foundations, shake those trees.
The land is not yielding enough, the hurricanes reduced the harvest.  Many cannot afford to buy beans to re-seed, for a next harvest, si Dieu vle.  No, not unusual in most of the world - but most of the world is not 90 minutes from Miami!  This is rural Haiti, land that I love.
Gran is always smiling, although Makilanje's red tinged hair is  the tell-tale sign of kwashiorkor.  Folks here will eat when there's food, and when there's not, they tighten their belts and make do.  When I'm there, everyone has more to eat being as I am a "paying" guest, but still, it seems there is never quite enough to go around.

Me?  I seem to be the only one with a decreased appetite here.  I'm more than willing to share.  Rice and beans, beans and rice, corn meal and beans - a small plate is more then enough for me.  I keep going on whatever - guzzling plenty of (treated?) water, coffee in my thermos and a bottle of hot sauce wherever I go.  The gong takes a lot out of me, but it energizes me as well.  I can't explain it, but after hiking all day and visiting folks, managing as best I can with my ever-more-proficient Kreyol...who needs to eat?  I'm too tired to eat, and anyway, there's more that way for everyone else.
 Don't let anyone tell you that girls and women do the all work.
Hunger is an equal opportunity employer.

Wonel gathers kindling, tends the fire, gets a pot going for rice with the occasional bean thrown in.
An even younger neighbor boy is chief cook for his siblings; they lost their mother recently; she was one of the few deaths from cholera - contracted in Lavil, the city, where she'd been a ti machand, schlepping banane from their small holding in the mountains.  But look - he's cooking!  They have some rice, provided by one of the church groups or neighbors.  But, still, he's not particularly happy, because all he has is a tomato bouillon cube for flavoring, and I of course carry none in my pockets.

Hard not to pity the dogs, cats, the tiniest kittens and chickens who all compete for crumbs, grains, that hit the ground.
Gran still smiles - she's 75 years old now and has armfuls of babies, toddlers and young ones to care for.  The young women who have work of some sort or another in Lavil, come to birth and nurse their babies here.  And then, they return to Lavil...Yes, some of the putative fathers visit some of the time.  Some manage to bring something to feed the children; it's not consistent nor sufficient, but most do what they can.  And grandparents on all sides pitch in - as best they are able.
 
Before and after the hurricanes, Ludya's family - her husband, kids and mother-in-law constructed a room from tarps, furniture and salvaged lumber and walls of their former home that had collapsed.  Ludya wishes she'd learned something, anything, she tells me.  She'd been orphaned as an infant.  She's had no schooling, she's very thin, not strong enough to work the land, and had no exposure to the buy-and-sell life experience that many rural girls - and boys - grow into.  

She tells me that she is sad that she doesn't feel she can do anything.  And her youngest child is listless and sick much of the time, and doesn't speak yet - the toddler is maybe  29, 30 months old.  What she does is take her down the mountains and into Lavil, and waits at some clinic.  But medicine is not the solution.   Nothing here that more food wouldn't take care of. Somehow, everyone here survives, one summer to the next.  I am always impressed.

Nothing new under this sun, this glorious sun.  The survival rate is the uplifting news.