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Did the peppers pick us?

Many have called to ask if gang violence has come to where we work. Thankfully it has not but its economic spawn has, i.e. the shortages and high prices that hurt people who are living on the edge in the best of times. Like the women in the countryside who can’t get their vegetables to market because they can’t afford a moto-taxi. Fares have jumped out of reach to cover the price of gas. ($15/ gal = three day's wages at the local blue jean factory)

The result? Farmers are losing income, guys with motor scooters are losing customers, and markets are depleted. School cooks aren't finding what they need to prepare good meals and children are eating piles of white rice to fill them up. In a place where half the population are children, where diabetes and high blood pressure are endemic, and where the chances of good health past fifty aren’t great, this is gang violence in slow motion.

What can we do to help I asked the staff. “Peppers,” they replied, "and beans, papaya, carrots, tomatoes, potatoes, onions, squash, yams, and plantain." So in January we cleared land behind our building and put in a big ‘truck’ garden, like the kind that used to supply America’s cities a hundred years ago.

We are now growing vegetables to nourish our town. It’s a small act in the face of things, but we had to act and we did what we could. Did we pick the time to act or did it pick us? Working in Haiti I’m never sure.

Take care and thank you for your interest in Haiti.

Rob Fisher, Exec. Director



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