Letan Bosye

Letan Bosye is farming community a little less than an hour outside of Jacmel, it’s always had a lake but the farmers never took much interested in fishing up until a year ago. With help from a Spanish NGO, the community purchased Tilapia fish cages and constructed a building with solar panels to contain a freezer to store fish.

In it’s third harvest the fishing project has caught the attention of several small families who are interested in purchasing their own cages; the birth of a small fishing community. Costs and upkeep however are just now being turned over to the village; $20 a week for food and $600 for the cages, an investment that isn’t affordable for most of the the families in the area without the external help.

After being boated out to the the cages, shown the feeding process and then taken to the storage freezer, we met with the project leader and discussed the development of the project and took notes on their solutions.

The most expensive input was the feed, which is imported from Port au Prince. They have experimented with food for the fish; using bread fruit, a local fibrous hanging fruit and reeds. The fish ate it right up, but the community was worried about how healthy it was for the fish and if they could continue to feed them the fruit for long periods of time.

The biggest issue though was the expense of the cages. They are made of PVC and plastic mesh. In theory, they will last a long time, however their $600 expense is not sustainable in Haiti. A quick talk with hydroponics experts back in Port au Prince revealed that there are projects in South East Asia that use bamboo and sap.

The viability of the business model is not obvious from our discussions with the community, though they know there are issues. Taking a much more involved inspection of their involvement with the NGO they’re working with and the sale of the fish would be needed before any honest report of sustainability could be made.

It’s a good idea in theory, but if the cages require external construction, it might as well be a dead fish in the water.

Jacmel Joe

While briefly passing through Jacmel on our way to the mountains we stopped at Jacmel Joe’s guest house where he works on a Charcoal stove project.

By using coconuts rather than wood Joe is trying to reduce consumption of the local trees and use coconut, a product that most Hatitans have access to and is more dense, burning as charcoal 3 times longer and hotter.

Joe has been working on his stove for the past 2 and a half years, and is on his third prototype. He is selling the charcoal, the cook stoves that the charcoal fuels and is hoping to sell the presses to make the charcoal.

Joe was very busy while we were there and time was short. We plan to return and discuss his progress and stay at his lovely sea side guest house.

La Montagne

This past week, Sean went south to Jacmel and visited La Montagne. The community of La Montagne, devastated after the earthquake and realizing that it needed to diversify economically beyond farming, began experimenting and created a rural collaboration center under an almond tree (where they talked for hours into the night about their goals, projects, and problems).

La Montagne is producing Haitan Blue Coffee, endeavoring to convince local farmers to grow coffee rather than rice and beans. Discussions with French and American coffee distributors have gone well, and plans to purchase a roaster in the next year are in the works.

Tree Grafting:
Haiti has a major deforestation problem. One factor is housing and construction needs, another is charcoal for cook stoves. Stumps are found all over the county and erosion is rapidly becoming a major problem with heavy seasonal rains. La Montagne’s solution  is tree grafting. Mango tree stumps found all over Haiti are being mixed with other fruit bearing trees such as Bread fruit and Orange. La Montagne has situated itself as an expert in this field and has communities travelling form all over southern Haiti to learn from their work.

Gabion Wire:
Gabion wire’s are rock retaining mesh wires, similar to chicken wire but much thicker. There is currently no other source in Haiti for the wire and the community at La Montagne has put significant effort into building a production facility. 12 local teens work in the 50′ by 15′ wooden structure where they make the wire for 12 hours a day. The wire is used to produce schools, houses, bridges and retention walls. Stone is gathered by local groups (where construction is located) and the wire is much lighter and easer to transport than cinder blocks.

The wire is shipped from Port au Prince to Jacmel where it is then taken across the river and up to La Montage (a two hour journey by car when the bridge is washed out).

First the step was measuring and straightening the wire, which took two people and was an imperfect process. The wire is then set in 4 pairs of 2 and given to a two person team who weave the wire in and out of a nail bracket and a 2×4 brace. The process took 2-4 minuets per 4 inch section, most of the time put into setting up the brackets.

Our friends from Future Generations who were translating and coordinating the groups we were visiting, took us to a popular water fall in the area where we cliff jumped and relaxed before heading off to our next site in Jacmel.

Opportunity everywhere in Haiti.

Day 2: Setting Up

Met with Jeff today, talked about safety and made plans for the weekend. Took pictures of facites with Phil, learned about what equipment in the workshop, and what what up and coming projects are in line – also helped with the toilet.

Tomorrow I need to help with the shop, and gain ownership of it – meaning work in the metal shop and help with any laying and concrete initiatives- maybe houses.

certain roads in citie solie, off limits.
don’t go to the banc without a partner, and make sure you’re not marked with chalk when you walk out

none at the moment –
New Items

Took pictures of the compound : http://www.flickr.com/photos/silent0jester/sets/72157631794431928/
apparently so did Jeff

http://haiti.openstreetmap.nl/is the most accurate map of Haiti
Meeting with John from Haiti Partners http://www.haitipartners.org/ who has a bakery / school which is an A-b project

Action Items:

Work on Haiti communitere project – and figure out how to bring more people here.
– SH model
create calendar
make person database
begin media plan
Desk x 2 for room
Internet set up – an extrea line
get new Moz net

Thursday: citi solie
Friday : John with Haiti aid rustic
Sunday: clinque
Nextweek: country with Sabina