It’s come to my attention that we aren’t the best “updaters.” Without me processing through the last two weeks and trying to remember exactly what happened...I will just tell you about the last two days. This will help you guys out. I promise.
Monday morning. I wake up around 5 am. I am usually up around 5 am-6 am. I had a meeting at 10 with the UN, Haiti Hospital Appeal, Lakou Breda, and Carbon Roots International. Long story short...The UN supported a project for HHA, Lakou Breda, Second Mile with Carbon Roots International. We have been partnering with Carbon Roots International to receive training on bio-char and charcoal. This in shorthand is green charcoal. We are trying to make our own charcoal by going green. Everyone on board? By making our own green charcoal we hope to give the moms an opportunity to be able to sell this charcoal in the local markets as a means of commerce. Also, we can used the bio-char as compost for our gardens, and lastly we cook with this charcoal on our facility. Why is this green charcoal better then normal charcoal? We aren’t cutting down trees to make it. We are using a renewable resource, sugar cane. Luckily our village is filled with sugar cane. It’s better health wise. Did you know when an Haitian cooks an meal here using normal charcoal it’s the same thing as smoking three packs of cigrattes. Mind blown huh?
Before this 10am meeting I drove out to the land on my moto. I had to make sure everything was in order... Did I mention I had a moto accident 3 weeks ago. 3 stitches in the knee, black eye, and a nasty leg bruise that took 3 weeks to heal. Luckily, I live and work with a nurse that took excellent care of me. Oh, this particular nurse, Amy was riding with me during this crash. Luckily she didn’t get hurt. I guess that’s what happens when you fall on the driver. Ok, I’m fine...back to my day. Dadou and I had an hour meeting at the land. For everyone that hasn’t been following us the last year and a half...Dadou is our Haitian Director. He is my right hand man. We talk daily...we probably talk close to 3 hours a day. We have become the same person. I haven’t decided if that’s a positive or negative thing, because we sure do have our mood swings. I pray that our mood swings don’t happen on the same day. Well, yesterday was payday. Yesterday’s payday had me in a little bit of a frenzy. I wanted to increase our employee’s salaries. I wanted to show them that I respected all their hard work, but the numbers from our gardens didn’t add up. Which means I wasn’t able to give them raises. I vented my frustration with Dadou. I said, “I’m selling milk and eggs everywhere I go. Why aren’t you helping me. We need to make more money from our garden sells and you know it.” He responded, “I am doing the best I can. I went after work on Saturday to find vendors. I ask everyone I know. I am doing the best I can too.” My temper calmed because he’s right. My “right hand man” works hard. He works just as hard as I do. We both apologized to each other. It usually goes like this... “ I’m sorry Dadou. Are you sorry?” and he usually responds with a reluctant “I’m sorry too.” I am taking the time to write this conversation between Dadou and I because this is exactly how we act together. After this little argument we put our heads together to make a plan. We decide we need to encourage the employees to help our project out more and that there would be a staff meeting today after lunch. Okay, my work is done at the land. Back on my moto.
I head back to Breda (this is our apartment complex) to meet with the partners and Carbon Roots International. The meeting went well. There were even cokes and Prestiges (beer) that were passed around after the meeting ended. This is always a good sign of a very productive meeting.
Okay the best part. After the meeting I had another meeting with the Mayor of Cap Haitien. In case you don’t know...Cap Haitien is the second largest city in Haiti and it’s a city of over 2 million people. It’s a big deal to get the Mayor to come our to your project. He’s a very busy man. I originally met him the week before at a local restaurant. We hit it off. I think the conversation ended that I would personally be training him into better health and I would contract his next house. Not bad huh? Well the Mayor agreed to visit our site. I wanted him to visit our site so we could get a recommendation to become a registered NGO here in Haiti. When we become a registered NGO in Haiti we will receive on the ground funding and recognition that we are just plain legit in Haiti.
So...the Mayor came to our site. He loved it, and purchased a carton of eggs on his way out. Success.
The second part of my day was revolved around payday. We are currently paying 13 employees...awesome huh? This means the project is growing.
Okay, staff meeting. It went well. All the employees agreed about helping out more. They are decided among themselves that they should be given a certain amount of beans to sell each month and if they didn’t sell the beans then the money would be taken out of their check. I never decided this or did I mention this. They did. I might be biased but I would say we have by far the 13 hardest workers in Haiti. Hands down.
My goal was to meet with the MPCE. The MPCE is going to help us with our paperwork for our registration. My meeting got pushed back to 1, so I headed out to the land instead. While heading to land I have a couple thoughts in mind.
Irrigation system, Solar panels, Cows, and lastly chickens.
We received funding for an irrigation system in the back! Big News. We started drilling the well today. Dadou and I talked about logistics of the pipes and all the electrical components of this irrigation system. Praise the Lord the guys don’t have to water two acres of land by hand anymore. It’s a win win situation.
Next, Solar Panels. We received funding for solar panels, and as of last week all the money has arrived! I sent out an email to my contact in the States to get the ball rolling. By the end of the week we will have the panels ordered and they will be on there way to Florida. This process will take a week and then from Florida they will be shipped to Cap Haitien. This process will take closer to a month. The timing is perfect because I leave for a fundraising trip in 2 weeks and will arrive back in Haiti in a month. The panels should be here when I arrive! This is exciting news people. Are jumping up and down with me?
Cows. We need another cow. I have people threatening me if they don’t have milk tomorrow. Milk sales are that good. One more cow will allow us to make another $315/month. In the future I would love to have 4-5 more cows, but one cow at the moment will do. Plus, we only have funding for one more cow so it will just have to be one more cow. Did you know this....when you fund a certain project...Second Mile delivers.
Chickens. Holy Cow, we have eggs. Sorta of funny sentence if you think about it. ;) All of our chickens our laying. Eggs are in demand. Haitian eggs are particular in demand since there was a recent case of the bird flu in the Dominican from the Dominican eggs. So people don’t want Dominican Eggs anymore. Did you know 85% of eggs in Haiti are from the DR. Second Mile is hoping to lower that statistic. One can dream? So I envisioned/dreamed with Dadou of building two more chicken coops and purchasing 60 more chickens before we leave. So...if you are interested each chicken will cost $15 and this includes part of the construction of chicken coops, vitamins, and chicken feed for two months. This girl loves to calculate. That was also my one and only fundraising pitch for this blog post. ;) Gotta always throw them in there. Just so we are clear that’s $900 before I leave to go back to the States. Ok I’m done.
Finally, the meeting with MPCE. It was a good and well informative meeting. There is hope that Amy and I will be able to pull off this registration.
Whew. This is about all I can write. My attention span can’t handle anymore blogging. Just insert airport mail runs, working out at the local hospital, Grey’s Anatomy, making gluten-free brownies, 2 other meetings, planning for our 4th of July party (Brits and Canadians are attending so it has to be good), washing vegetables, and we can call it a successful two days of work!