Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Wondering as I wander...


Palo Alto, California
From the hilltop you can see
the city, like Monopoly,
laid out on a paper board.

Little pieces far below,
plastic houses row on row,
holding little plastic folk
asking how the game is scored.

Little unseen plastic folk
driving through the city smoke,
Port au Prince, Haiti
following the boulevards,'taking chances, asking cards,
driving all across the board
asking how the game is scored.

Little busy businesses
laid out on the streets below,
waiting for the plastic folk
driving cars with the little wheels,
moving forward, making deals:
Park Place,
passing Go,
Reading Railroad,

moving all across the board
asking how the game is scored.

 “Monopoly,” by Alice Schertle

Sunday, September 7, 2014

WATER DOES NOT GROW ON TREES: But, Solar Panels pump Water in Rural Haiti

Amazing!  Astounding!

Folks in our rural mountain zone now have water coming out of a pipe!
Five-year old Nelinsky is still using water in the traditional way, ti gode par ti gode (cup by cup), to rinse the soap from his hair.

People here do not think that water grows on trees....

From design to implementation, resident and colleague Toma does the heavy lifting.

The work began last summer, with volunteer engineer
Rose Ashford "consulting" and learning with Toma.

Adjusting the angle of the panels, catching some rays

Testing the overflow from an intermediary tank!  Not a drop to be wasted.

Using the overflow, everyone takes advantage.

While relocating the tanks and panels and the intermediary dwom, residents make use of the overflow coming up from the Wash-Wash (Ouache-Ouache) spring.

Moving all apparatus to a safer, flatter, closer location.  Using gravity, Toma has the water from the Ouache-Ouache spring flow downward initially, and closer to hillside homes!  The new locations are well away from the possibility of falling rocks, and are flat terrains, so little digging out and scooping is need. to ensure the panels are standing sturdy.

The mid-level dwom will have a bamboo picket fence, to guard against bef and pranksters/
Meanwhile, we make use of the overflow.

All hands on deck! Toma's daughter, Zanda, age 10, carries cement.

"Men anpil, chay pa lou" Many hands make light work.

Vwala, yon lot mirak!
Toma merits a medal, in my book.  We hope to bring him to the San Jose in mid-October, for the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers' Global Humanitarian Technology Conference.  As he is a co-author of our paper about the solar pump project, he has been given a visa letter which, hopefully, will help him jump through ropes at the US Embassy in Haiti.

Our non-profit is reaching out for support for his travel.  Join this 21st century "Underground Railroad" and please let us know if you can help and/or click the Donate Now button so Toma can get this experience which he so much deserves.  Thank you!

Friday, September 5, 2014


Here's a photo-essay about a self-made person - one of many of our mountain residents who build on what they have, further their education and job skills one way or another.  

Klo built on the advantages - one of our project's sewing machines, and a short stint with a visitor one summer learning the basics up at Mon Bouton.  With support from us and her spouse and family, Klo has just graduated from a Level 1 program at a state-certificated program in Darbonne (Dabon) - now just a 30 min. "commute" by moto down our newly built road from La Tournelle.

Klo has 3 children; her Mom and older sisters are with us on Mon Bouton.  Klo hopes to hold training for others up in our mountain zone, and also make school uniforms and children's clothing.

On the way to self-sufficiency, along with other entrepreneurs from Zorange zone, where grass doesn't grow under their feet!
Kloteed, learning, working and
improving all the time
Klo displays some of her completed garments
for her graduation ceremony
A fine tailored suit
The finished, tailored work is
quite impressive!
The detail work

Ah, but...Indeed, there's a "but."  All students have their garments dry-cleaned !  Yes, I know: dry-cleaned?!

And the toll in trees - well, you can see it in this photo of Dabon's local dry cleaners.  It's not only students' work that must be dry cleaned, it's all the other suits, wedding gowns and dresses that folks need here, just like anywhere else.

But here is not like anywhere else.  This is Haiti, where, as I wrote, grass doesn't grow under any feet, along with much else that doesn't grow here either.

There's many griping about the use of chabon for cooking but never a mention of dry cleaning bills (the cost in terms of deforestation) among city folks posting on Facebook.  Hmmm...

We need to bring on the jeans and t-shirt couture to rural Haiti, non?