Today was a really significant day for Team Haiti. Not only did we immerse ourselves even more into the community, we finally got to meet a few of our community partners and have our first real look into the hard work and dedication it takes to keep KDB (Kafé Developmen Baraderes) up and running.
As usual our day began bright and early with a simple breakfast of eggs, coffee, and Haitian bread. Afterward we were able to help clean the dishes. This was a great opportunity to create connections between the group and the community. We all needed to work together to wash, rinse, and dry our plates and utensils. Afterward we were greeted very enthusiastically by the kids who again wanted to talk and play with us, regardless of the language barrier. This kind of openness to communicate and interact is apparent in all the Haitian people we've encountered.
As we played with the kids, our community partners as well as Joann, an agronomist partnered with Just Haiti arrived in Fond Tortue and greeted us warmly, despite our broken Creole. As the last of our partners arrived we made a small trek to a grove of sorts where we were able to sit and participate in the business meeting between Just Haiti and KDB.
Right off of the bat we were struck by the strong presence of the growers and the equal share of power present in all their interactions with one another. As stories were shared of life post Hurricane Matthew with the destruction of homes and their gardens, it was hard to miss the pain in everyone's voice. Although Just Haiti played a significant role in hurricane relief efforts there response was one of concern for relationship rather than charity for the other. Overall the tone of the meeting was one of hope for what's to come.
It was then that we got to do exactly what we had been waiting to do for months, help with coffee planting! All 8 of our team, plus Kim and the growers made our way to a patch of forest with enough shade for the plants to grow and got to work. The growers (and Arron) used a pick axe to break the soil and after watching the growers plant the first few trees we hopped right in. The growers would dig the hole, and a member of Team Haiti would take the trees from their plastic and transplant them into the ground, making sure to pack enough soil to keep them upright. We fell into an easy routine, the growers even trusting us enough to just move on after the hole was ready. This is something that resonated with me the most, the complete and utter trust that was shared with us when handling something so vital to their survival.
A common theme in our adventure so far is the sheer willingness of the Haitian people as a whole to put their trust and faith by allowing us to know them as fellow humans with varying cultures despite the stark differences. Be it the kids willingness to play with us, our hosts willingness to let us help with chores, and finally the growers complete trust in our intentions as partners is phenomenal. Cheers to another full day in Haiti!