Tuesday, March 12, 2013

HAITI MISSION 2013 - LaVallee de Demain 

Team members from Traverse Bay UMC:

            Ann Konczal

           Jerry Konczal

           Sheryl Kay

          Carla Windover

         Michael Windover

Host:  Living Media International and local community group, LaVallee de Demain.

link to Living Media Facebook Site:



a. Improve well site area for a community well.

b. Teach classes in gardening, nutrition, and use of Moringa

The well turned out to be a spring known as souse banann.  It was located in a rural spot at the base of a large hill.  The hillside was sheer and encroached on the spring.   It is likely that during the upcoming rainy season, the spring would be filled in by mud.

The solution chosen by local leadership was to build a wall around and over the spring to protect it.

Also the pipe leading from the spring to a cistern was broken and the cistern needed cleaning out.

Also needed was a way to keep animals out of the water source.

Jerry worked at the beginning and later throwing rocks downhill.

Our role was to help move rock, sand, and cement from a drop point down a long path then down the hill.  The Haitian workers would then build the walls.  The material was moved by hand, wheel barrow, and mule.  The rock was thrown down the mountainside in several stages to reach the bottom.


Sheryl starts the rock's journey.

Ann take two rocks.

Carla on first leg of carrying rock

Add caption

Angelica on second leg of journey.

Roberto helped

Serg was one of the leaders in charge.

Sheryl on second leg.  Rocks were carried in stages from point to point instead of all the way each time.

Buckets carried sand.  Wheelbarrows carried rock.

Angelica going back for more.

Rocks were deposited here for throwing down the mountain.

Carla and friend check out the pile

The first of several tosses starts here.

It's a slippery path even in dry weather

There is more than one route but all are bad

The rocks need a lot of coaxing

Again and again the rocks are thrown further down

This is the bottom of the path.

The creek from the spring to the cistern

Another route up

The spring

Mike, Carla, and Sarah near old small cisterns

The walls looked like this when we left.

View of the top of the two big cisterns.  Only the second one is used.

Mixing cement to build the walls.

Ladies getting water

This view looks up the creek from cisterns to spring.

Ladies prepare to go back up for more sand.  Sand is carried in bags which are placed in saddlebags.

Four mule owners get nail polish.

Fun to watch these neighbors work in synchronization

Tired and dusty but with fresh nail polish

In addition to the rock carrying project, we also gave classes at the Living Media Gallery and on the porch of a  local clinic run by H.A.P.I., Haitian Artisans for Peace International.  We have worked with H.A.P.I. in the past.

link to H.A.P.I. Facebook site:



Carla speaking at Living Media

Ann and Jerry wait for their turn

Participation was enthusiastic

Men and women participated


Pulverizing Moringa
Carla speaks on nutrition
Ann talks on Moringa
Jerry talks on container gardening
Sheryl helps a participant with her very new baby. (such a chore for Sheryl)

 While at the Media Gallery, Jerry led the group in preparing the land to plant coffee trees and avacado.  He also started a compost source.  We left money to buy 150 coffee plants and 3 avacado trees.

Clearing the yard for coffee plants

Local men are excited to get this help

Several Moringa trees were planted too.

Working out details of the plan

If the coffee trees at the gallery are grown successfully, we may support a local nursery expansion too.

Nursery is on the other side of the man-made lake

Team members visit the nursery

While we were there, we helped paint at Angelica's and put up shelves at Tigo's.   Angelica is one of two missionaries in residence at Living Media along with Sarah.

Angelica added woven mat for decoration but found it to be excellent as insulation and noise barrier.

Angelica's house

Mike helps raise shelf

Neighbor supervises shelf construction
The area we went to is Mizak (or Musac).  It is up the mountain and west from Jacmel.  This is where H.A.P.I and Living Media are located.  It seems to me that the years of community development assistance by these two groups and by local leaders is paying off.   The community is at the leading edge of growth.   A new clinic is being built.  The Merlot center is coming along well which will house several activities.   Digicel has located a cell phone charging stand there.   Tigo has built (almost finished the building) a restaurant with art showroom.   Daniel has plans to build a wi-fi cafe and internet research center.  Community leadership is coalescing and engaging in several projects.  These people have vision, hope, and the will to do the hard work necessary to improve their lives and the lives of their neighbors.
Last Sunday Pastor Jane at Traverse Bay talked about the difference between charity and justice.  Both are important and necessary.   But Mizak needs not so much charity as it needs justice.  Justice will blossom when this community is given the  opportunity to grow into a future defined by its own vision and the labor of their own hands.  It is a privilege to play a small part in helping part of Haiti achieve Justice.