Wednesday, August 1, 2012

HTRIP July Highlights

Dear Supporters,

Technician Ironce Pharèlus gives the first lesson
to a new group of participants in the
community of Didye (participant since 2009).
The farmers we work with all seem to agree this is the worst drought they can remember. We can still rejoice a little in that July brought more rain than June and tree and crop mortality is not as high as feared.  As for HTRIP, we returned to our normal routine of monthly education sessions in old and new communities alike.  The first session, entitled “Enpotans Pyebwa Yo” or “The Importance of Trees,” discusses the many uses of trees and their importance to the soil, water, and people.  It was also a mix of emotion for all parties when HTRIP bid adieu to two incredibly beloved interns, Jack Devine and Angel Hertslet.
Jack Devine with Mathurin Dorcéus
reflecting on the future of bee
production within HTRIP.
These two incredible individuals integrated themselves seamlessly into Haitian life and left behind no small group of friends who will await their inevitable return. Angel will return in March 2013 and will likely be the teaching assistant for the next round of Yale students and no one will be surprised if Jack comes down his next break from school.  Although we recognize it will take some time and organization, technician Mathurin Dorceus is eager to help lead the trial of bee management to the HTRIP repertoire.  Angel Hertslet operated more independently of the HTRIP staff conducting individual and group interviews along with tree measurements in six HTRIP communities to compare management ideas with tree growth.  She plans to synthesize the data into a thesis project which will hopefully shed new light on HTRIP community participation.

Angel Hertslet posing with a group
of young people in the community
of Anje (participant since 2006).
Petit-Noel "Gérard" Alvarèz
showing off his final product
of dried mangoes.
A solar mango drier introduced by the Yale School of Forestry really sparked the interest of Nursery Technician Petit-Joel “Gerard” Alvarez.  The abundant yet short mango season makes preservation seem an obvious response, but there is little knowledge of drying mangoes in our area.  Without any firsthand knowledge myself, I was clear with Gerard that we could proceed by trial and error.  After working together on the first dozen mangoes, Gerard’s interest carried him to cut and dry at least 100 more.  He was invited by a friend to a regional meeting of pastors sponsoring agricultural products from around the Artibonite.  We worked together to put them in bags with a simple label.  After the meeting, he happily remarked there were not enough mangoes to meet demand.  Hopefully next year we will be able to take even greater advantage of the short and sweet mango season.
Ironce Pharèlus with the leader of 
Savonet, Pharissaint Pharius in the 
community tree nursery.

The rains have finally been consistent enough that tree distribution and planting is well underway.  More than 45,000 trees have already left the central Deschapelles nursery.  While this is a substantial amount in its own right, the HTRIP model focuses on local production within the communities where we work.  The most recent count of community tree nurseries found the number of trees produced around 245,000.

Aside from the drought which could prove more painful a few months down the road for the rain-dependent HTRIP farmers, we are happy that 2012 has been very kind to us thus far.  As always I would like to thank each and every HTRIP supporter for making this work possible.

The HTRIP Staff

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