December was a challenging month for HTRIP: the holidays at the end of the month have always put pressure on our monthly schedule of education sessions, and combined with disruptions following the elections a month ago, HTRIP was hard-pressed to accomplish the many things on its agenda.
Despite these challenges, we are pleased to say that we were able to make up many of the education sessions missed at the beginning of the month. We collected data on on of HTRIP Director Starry Sprenkle's ongoing experiments with tree growth, and began the daunting task of distributing hundreds of tools to communities for their 2011 nurseries (an important part of HTRIP's mission is to enable communities to practice agro-forestry on their own). We plan to conduct an inventory this month and finish purchasing and distributing nursery materials so that our communities can begin their nurseries earlier this year. We hope to improve on 2010's nurseries, which were delayed by last January's earthquake.
The year 2010 was full of many, many challenges, both for Haiti and for HTRIP. It started with the devastating earthquake of January 12, whose repercussions throughout Haiti were particularly felt in the Artionite Valley, where many people lost relatives and friends in the destruction of Port-au-Prince. The Artibonite received the highest numbers of refugees from the disaster, increasing the pressure on the land for agriculture as well as increasing the need for housing and the number of mouths to feed.
HTRIP and HAS were part of a large cash-for-work program that started after the earthquake, infusing cash into the local economy while improving infrastructure and the environment with public works projects. HTRIP was able to bring this prgram to all of its participating communities, and we supported improvement of mountain roads, the production of hundreds of thousands of trees, the construction of five water catchments, and the building of many kilometers of check dams to slow erosion in ravines.
We managed to function above average this year, in spite of flooding, hurricanes, a decastating cholera epidemic, and political unrest at the end of the year. HTRIP and HAS are still stoically soldiering on, drawing inspiration from the silent strength of the Haitian people. Thank you as always as we leave behind such a difficult year for Haiti, and we hope to continue our efforts with your support this year.
The HTRIP Staff, including Starry Sprenkle and Dan Langfitt