top of page

We are so happy to bring you Father Bruno's message, sharing with us the Haitian Independence Day/New Year's Day soup tradition, together with blessings for the New Year for you and yours!

Happy 2024!

The Bruno Family has shared with us how they make the traditional Haitian Independence Day Pumpkin Soup - Soup Joumou - a delicacy savored on New Year's Day/Haitian Independence Day! We hope you enjoy this recipe! We wish you and yours a very Happy New Year!

1 pound beef shank, meat cut off bones into 1" cubes

1 pound stew beef (preferably chuck) cut into 1" cubes

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (from about 1 lime)

3 tablespoons seasoned salt

3 sour oranges

1 butternut squash (about 2 pounds), peeled, cut into pieces

3 large potatoes (about 2 pounds), chopped

3 carrots (about 1 pound), sliced

1/2 small green cabbage (about 1 pound), sliced

2 medium onions, sliced

1 celery stalk, chopped

4 leeks, white and pale-green parts only, chopped

3 small turnips, chopped

1 habanero chile (optional)

1 1/2 cups rigatoni

2 1/2 teaspoons sea salt

1 pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)

2 parsley sprigs (optional)

4 tablespoons of unsalted butter

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Preparation: 2 ½ - 3 hours total

You will need two pots, 8 quarts and 12 quarts.

In a bowl, pour sour oranges (saving 1 tbs for the end of the recipe) on the beef shank and the stew beef for 5 minutes, then let it sit. Transfer beef to a colander and rinse with water. Stir in the seasoned salt and lime juice completely in another large bowl. Add beef, toss to coat, and let marinate for at least 30 minutes. In one pot, add marinated beef, cover, and simmer until meat is beginning to soften, about 40 minutes, then set aside. In another pot, add squash with water. Cook until squash is fork-tender, 20–25 minutes. Using tongs or a slotted spoon, transfer squash to a blender until smooth. Return to pot and bring to a simmer. Then, add in the pot: potatoes, carrots, cabbage, onion, celery, leeks, turnips, chile (optional), rigatoni, 2 1/2 tsp salt, a pinch of cayenne pepper (optional), and parsley, uncovered until pasta and vegetables are tender, 30–35 minutes. Afterward, add oil, butter, beef with the stew, and 1 tbs of sour orange to taste. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until meat is tender, 15–20 more minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Bon Appétit!

Serves 8-10 people.

Beef can be replaced by chicken or pork if needed.

Vegetarian version without meat.

I was at a place that makes cassava bread, when a woman and a horse with loaded saddlebags walked up. It was ten o’clock and getting hot, others were already at work. She unloaded the manioc her husband had dug yesterday and got busy scraping the bark off the woody roots with the sharpened edge of a spoon. I said hello and asked where she had come from. “Akilsamdi”, she replied.

Amazed, I asked, “When did you leave to get here?”, because I knew that village was on the other side of the mountain.

“Before sunrise,” she replied.

“Wow, you've been on the road for more than four hours!".

She didn’t reply, but the look on her face told me hours don't mean anything. Time for her is measured by what needs to get done, and right now that was getting her tubers ready before the miller called her to grind them into flour. When that's done, she'll spread the wet flour in the sun until it is dry enough for the baker to make her cassava on his hot steel griddles.

When the big flatbreads are done, she’ll fold and bundle them in a neat stack on her horse and head home. They are an important staple for her family. If she hurries she’ll get there by dark. Tomorrow she'll do the same. Poverty is the thief that steals her time.

Maybe when walking, she day-dreams what it would be like if her village had its own place to make cassava. A fanciful thought to pass the time.

Partner For People And Place builds cassava bread-making facilities in remote communities to increase food supply and give people the time they need and crave to improve their lives. Akilsamdi is on our to-do list.

The road to Akilsamdi.

I hope the summer finds you well. As always, take care and thank you for your interest in the work we do in Haiti.

Rob Fisher


Partner for People and Place

She led me straight up the mountain on foot from one little farm to another. When we got to hers, you could see the ocean and feel the wind. Her sons were disassembling a large smoldering dirt pile. They were harvesting the charcoal they’d made and next week

would be selling it. There were only a few trees left and cows tugged at threadbare sod. Not her cows, she could never afford one. They belong to a man in the city, who pays her a little to keep them.

We talked. She told me she loves this land, that it came to her through generations going back to when people like her threw off the slavers and broke up the land into little farms to support themselves, and that this land is her legacy to her children. It begged a question, “Why harm it with charcoal and cows?”

Jabbing her finger at me she replied, "I’m doing the best I can with what I have, where I am right now to keep my family going and I’m not letting up.” And I’m thinking neither is the erosion that is taking her land down to the rock on this dying mountain. I believe she knows that too. It is a tragedy of poverty that by doing what is necessary to care for your family kills the land’s capacity to sustain them.

To keep that from happening we are helping her plant fifteen hundred trees on her land to protect the soil and grow a woodlot she can selectively harvest for income.The cows will be replaced by cashew trees, which will earn more than the pittance she ever got from them, and yams will grow a supply of nutritious food she can count on. By Christmas, her family will begin reaping benefits. And maybe up on that mountain feeling the wind on her face, she’ll feel some peace, knowing the legacy to her children has been reclaimed and the promise of the slave revolution reaffirmed.

Her little farm is on top of this dying mountain. She owns two hectares 500’ above sea level. She and her family live in a village and each day hike to the farm to work. More than eighty percent of Haiti’s farms are in rugged terrain.

On the plane heading home the gift of her words stuck in my head, “I’m doing the best I can with what I have, where I am right now”. And I thought, am I?

Take care and thank you for your interest and concern.

Rob Fisher


Partner for People and Place

bottom of page