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.
Partner for People and Place