Food Insecurity: Our Response
In our last blog post, I shared a glimpse into our response to the difficulties our community is facing - particularly as it concerns food insecurity. As I summarized in that post, "This is how it all comes together. This is how we're helping our community combat hunger: one seed, one waterhole, one picture of hope at a time."
Last February, as the reality of impending famine in Haiti became clear to all those paying attention, Manis cleared a plot of trees on the main Lemuel campus and planted a garden. At first everyone was horrified! It had taken so much hard work to get those trees started and so many years for them to grow! If you have been following us for any length of time, you know that we have spent over a decade planting trees. Reforestation has been a huge part of our focus and it is still very important to us! But reforestation isn't only about having trees. It is also about what those trees do.
For the past 10 years, our trees have been:
... and more! Through all of this, the trees have nourished and restored the soil that had been so severely depleted before.
Now it was time to put all that work to good use.
In February, 2022 the land was cleared.
All the wood from the trees that were cut down was used either for charcoal for the school kitchen or for construction projects.
In March the plot was was tilled, prepped, and planted.
Manis and the campus staff planted new, fruit bearing trees like mango and coconut, as well as:
- plantain - papaya - pigeon peas - manioc - sweet-potatoes - peppers - melons, and more!
Manis watering in June 2022.
The garden in March 2023 (looking from a different angle), after a harvest of pigeon peas, peppers, peanuts, and papaya had already been taken out .
Watered from the waterholes using a pump and hundreds of feet of PVC, the garden flourished. The test plot had worked. It was time to expand.
Manis and his staff began clearing more of the main campus. Djephson took his cue and started doing the same on the DDL campus. More crops were planted. Irrigation from the waterholes continued.
Clearing more of the main campus.
Preparing land on the DDL campus.
Preparing land close to the newest waterhole.
Then the drought started intensifying. When I first started this "food insecurity" series, the waterholes were nearly dry. The question of whether our community really could produce more food hung in the balance. If the waterholes went completely dry and no rains came, everything would die, all that work would be wasted, and the idea that there is nothing they can do to combat impending misery would have been solidified in the minds of most people in our community.
And then the rains came.
It has been years since we've had so much rain in one month. The waterholes are full. Food production can continue!
And continue it has! Every day a new corner of a campus or yard is being turned into a garden.
I'll share pictures of all of that in the next blog post!