All around Cazale, the mountains are bare, the soil is eroded, and the crops are decreasing. Decreased crop yield means less money and less food. The community group believes that planting trees and using other soil erosion techniques might help stop this cycle. Trees are needed to cooking fuel, caskets, tables, doors, and so much more. We can’t really say don’t cut them down – that would be like me telling you to stop using electricity. We can help them to conserve wood with better cooking stoves, but the fact is that most people use wood. Yes, we know about briquettes or “chabon pibon” as it’s called here. We’ve tried it and it didn’t go over well. I don’t think that most people were ready for it. Change comes slowly. We will work towards this change; but, regardless of when this will happen, Haiti still needs trees. The community group have 2 trees nurseries that have a variety of trees. There are two main groups – reforestation trees (to go on the mountainsides, don’t need lots of water, goats don’t like to eat them) and fruit trees (provide food & income, have to be planted near water source, need lots of protection from goats). We use plastic sacks that we buy here in Haiti, produce our own potting soil, collect local seeds, and plant them in the sacks.
We pay a group member to watch for bugs, weed, and water the seedlings. We repot the trees as needed. When the trees are big enough and the rainy season comes around, we take every Saturday and plant as many trees as we can until the rain stops (usually May to Oct). So, this whole process from seed to planted tree is quite simple and sustainable because we try our best to cut costs and use all local products and volunteers from the community group.
We have had some very special people working very hard in March to raise funds for the community development group to plant more trees. Jenna, Mariah, and James wanted to help. Jenna contacted me and wanted to know all about the program. I explained the trees that we use, how we work as a group, and what was needed. The group estimated that it would take 50 cents per tree to get it from seed to planted tree. Jenna and her friends took it from there. I got couple of updates telling me of their progress throughout the month. They cut out trees and made maps of Haiti. For every 50 cents a person donated, they would put up a tree with that person’s name on it. What a great idea!
They did this at an elementary school, their own school, and a grocery store.
They raised $700!!!!! Great job!!!!
We are so thankful to them and to all who support our reforestation efforts. Planting season is coming up so be looking out for photos of planting days soon.