We spent the morning visiting farmland in Guillem. It was the first time we got to see our old friends, Pastor Michel Cadet, who had been away for a family funeral. Pastor Michel had us help plant Okra and corn in a freshly tilled field. They explained that they had been waiting for rain to plant it, and since it had rained overnight, we would get to help. That basically consisted of following the Haitians down the row as they dropped seed and covering the seed with dirt.
We then visited several local homes to see their local gardens. They explained that 410 Bridge had provided some seeds to start a program where families grow peppers, tomatoes, and eggplant beside their homes to cut down on food expenses and avoid the long trips to the market.
We also learned a lot more about the steps to harvest rice. We saw rice being planted, and the method they use to remove rice from the stalk. We found out that the rice is then boiled for 25 to 30 minutes to soften it up and make it easier to remove from the shell, and then it is dried in the sun for 2 days. After it has dried, it has to be taken to the mill to remove the shells, which costs a little under 1 American dollar per bucket, but produces about 6 dollars worth of rice.
We also saw some of Pastor Michel’s pigs. Many of the local livestock were lost during the storm, but his pigs all survived. In Haiti, there are few people who have bank accounts or make investments, and we learned in the past that they often use livestock to save money, which are then sold when they need something. There were still two large pigs at the farm, and one of them was nursing 10 piglets. We were thankful, not only because of what it means to Pastor Michel and his family, but also because we know the impact he will have on his community because of it. When he has large liters, he has given pigs to other locals to raise. They take care of the pig, and share the litter with him when more are born. It helps him by taking away some of the responsibility of taking care of so many pigs, while providing the other home with a new revenue stream.