Agriculture

Colminy is an agricultural community. When old-timers were young, they say their yards and nearby fields were flush with trees and melons – melons to eat and melons to sell. None grow there now. In fact, nothing of value does!
Over time Colminy’s trees have been cut for cooking fuel; the rains diminished and the temperatures rose. Air temperatures are now blazing hot and the humidity is oppressive. Rainfall is low, especially from December through March. So today Colminy’s tiny mud or block homes are surrounded by desperately dry, depleted soil that seems only to support cacti and short, scrubby vegetation.

Wind makes the temps a little more tolerable, but then the blowing dust becomes a problem. Once I left a small, opened baggie in the far corner of a windowless room. Two hours later, it was half filled with dust! Imagine all that blowing into their pots while cooking outdoors!

On the road just beyond Colminy, one can usually see smoke rising in the distance — this from natives eking out a living, making charcoal from the area’s few remaining trees.  And so, the environmental destruction continues!

With all these issues, how can Colminy be an “Agricultural Community?” 

Although money is scarce, Colminy’s farmers have been forced to rent gardens close to a water source. It takes them an hour to walk each way! Once they arrive, they toil with nothing but hand tools under Haiti’s brutal sun.

Collectively, local farmers dug a trench between community gardens. Water must be pumped from the river to fill the higher trench. Once it’s filled, it is piped to fill the space between their row crops.

What do they grow?  Veggies:  onions, okra, eggplant, corn, and peppers in two varieties.  They also grow papaya.

Their only complaint — they can’t get water from the river to the trench without renting a pump from another community, and then only when it’s available. That’s a biggie! They need a pump of their own!
This is where HHC comes in. We hope to provide the Colminy’s farm community with “a pump of their own.”

Therefore, HHC is equipping them with a Honda WB20XT3. This is a self-priming, commercial-grade water pump that starts easily and puts out 1,000 gallons/hour. Although we shipped it in mid-January, it hasn’t yet arrived.  Unfortunately, after several complications, it and it’s hoses remain in a Florida port. Shippers now believe it should reach the farmers before the end of May.

Last February (2018) HHC planted 11 fruit trees in a local school yard.  Although we’d included compost, protected them from wandering goats, and instructed the locals to keep them well watered, by November only one had survived… and that one, just barely.  We then planted 5 more saplings –3 in Groasis’ Waterboxxes© and 2 without.  After planting in Waterboxxes, no additional water is needed.  Locals were to keep the other two watered.

Even so, by March, those without Waterboxxes had perished, while all 3 in them survived. Two really thrived.  Below are comparative photos of the same young moringa taken just 3 weeks apart. This convinced us that Waterboxxes deliver! We now seek funding for 400 of the biodegradable version, along with saplings, sufficient compost, and barbed wire to protect the young trees from wandering goats.

HHC [recently] sent 2 young Colminy farmers for 3-weeks of intense agricultural training. “We had an amazing time. We saw so many things we never knew before!” one commented. ASAP they hope to start a demonstration garden, where the entire community can’t help but see its success and ask how they can get the same results.  Success with replication …that’s exactly what Colminy needs to increase their incomes and end food insecurity!  Four hundred fruit trees will provide a great start to a magnificent “food forest!” 

HHC also sponsored 3 farmers to attend a day-long Food Forest Seminar. We are looking forward to hearing how this also enlarges their vision.