Our last post was about the progress of the children currently at Second Mile with their moms. But what about the people behind the scenes? Second Mile is made possible because of 12 dedicated individuals, present at the land 6 days a week (plus another 3 who come just one day a week). Jenn and I are deeply grateful for these kind and caring people. We've watched them grow into their roles. Most of these people have been around in one way or another since the we first began clearing the sugar cane field to start this project 22 months ago. But enough of the mushy stuff...
I'm just here to tell you what an amazing job the staff is doing handling day to day operations. Here's a quick look at what they've been up to lately.
Our two cooks have begun using more Moringa in the daily meals. Moringa is loaded with important nutrients. It has a high protein content and is touted for it’s many benefits among malnourished children. Magoul and Gigi cook 3 meals a day. It's the best when they can just walk back to the gardens for the food they need for meals. The Moringa trees are flourishing. They simply walk to the back, snap off a few branches and add the leaves to the soup.
Joslin and Verdieu still handle all-things related to the goats and cows. They take them out to pasture every day, make sure they are eating and drinking well, and bring them safely back to the property at the end of the day. One of my favorite moments during the day is when the cows come home... Joslin milks the cows each morning. And Verdieu often delivers the milk to customers.
|If you think the cows are looking scrawny-- they were-- we experienced a 52 day drought which killed a lot of the cow's foraging material. This picture was taken shortly after a good rain. The cows are looking much more plush now.|
|Joslin and Verdieu|
Dadou is still responsible for the business program. He teaches daily classes covering topics that range from managing family dynamics to basic savings and investment to “what to do when your neighbor asks for your help.” He teaches with wisdom and patience. I try to pay attention when he speaks to people.
He still oversees all employees and works with Jenn to manage operational issues that arise. He’s responsible for all follow-up with moms and dads and their businesses. Many of the women are single mothers, but whenever a dad is involved, Dadou has a way of quickly building a relationship with these men, young and old.
Kerline is still responsible for everything that falls under the domain of health, including admitting children and mothers, monitoring their health and weight gain, and teaching the health education component. She’s a friend and a mentor to the mothers and is responsible for advising them both while they are at Second Mile and while they are in follow-up. She sets follow-up appointments for the mothers so that she can continue to monitor the children's health and progress. And makes decisions based on how the children are doing at home. More often than not the women want to talk to her about things unrelated to health. And that's fine too. She is a great listener and wants what is best for these women in all areas of their life, their emotional and spiritual well-being as important as their physical health.
|teaching a health class|
Joseph is still managing the gardens. Not only is he in charge of four other garden employees (Ama, Wesley, Wilsner, and Jean Marie), but together, the garden employees have an extra special responsibility. For the past four weeks, 3 young men (teenagers from Cap Haitien) have been coming out to the land to participate in what we are calling, the “garden internship.” We are partnering with a magnificent organization, Streethearts, to offer a paid internship to some former “street kids” who reside in the Streethearts safe house. These city boys are learning to garden while also learning what it means to show up for a job every day. They are being mentored by some exceptional men (our employees) and they are getting to see the fruits of their labor as they watch food emerge from the land. We’ve enjoyed watching these boys take pride in their contribution to the gardens. It’s an incredible opportunity for these young men and a very special partnership for us.
In the last blog post I wrote about Errod’s involvement with the chickens. Whenever he is not busy running errands or managing our food supply, Errod helps out with projects around the land. A few weeks ago all the guys, (Errod, Joslin, Dadou, and Verdieu) teamed up to hang mosquito nets above the moms beds. And for the past two weeks they have been working to create these pathways. They are quite lovely...and a good safety measure. It's much harder to twist an ankle when you're walking on solid ground. The paths should help both pedestrians and vehicle avoid the mud sinkholes that used to form after heavy rains.
The beadmakers (Dorothy, Louisemene, and Rosenie) are still producing beautiful jewelry. Dorothy, broke her leg last month in an accident. We thank God that she wasn't more seriously injured and that she's having an uncomplicated recovery. We love her for the joy and fun she brings to the team. Her beading sisters, Rosenie and Louismene have been visiting her regularly at home. They bring her paper and sometimes stay to roll beads with her. They even roll beads on her behalf to make sure she can still make the weekly quotas. Of course we would have made sure that she was taken care of regardless, but it was sweet to see these women step forward with the confidence that she would do the same for them. The women still roll beads from home and come to the land once a week to complete the other steps in the jewelry making process.
Last week the bead makers also taught some of the young “Streethearts” how to make a paper beads. The culture of teamwork is incredible and it’s amazing to watch them give back.
Well, I started yesterday's blog post by saying that we had a busy week. One of the events that made it so, was a visit from 3 outstanding guys from Minnesota, and one outstanding young lady. The group’s leader had been out to see us once before-- back before our doors were open, before construction was even complete. This time he brought with him some of his friends. Jenn had been introduced to these guys during her last fundraising trip to Minnesota. She sat with them in board rooms and spent time with their families. It was a joy to be able to reciprocate their hospitality and to show them Second Mile and some of our favorite organizations.
They said that one of their favorite things about the trip was watching the employees confidently working in their respective areas. Hearing them speak about what they saw in our staff -- is probably what prompted me to write this post. These men and women are doing incredible things day in and day out. They're the best. We don't say it enough.
Early Friday morning our guests joined the staff’s prayer and worship time and saw how important prayer is among the employees. It’s the glue that holds us all together. We know many of you are praying for Second Mile. As our visitors can attest, we’re praying for you too.
|Ama tends to the cabbage seedlings|