Friday, February 7, 2014

A different kind of market day

Haiti Chronicles Part 9

I am in Desab, Haiti, on the last full day of my visit here as a volunteer with the non-profit Stone by Stone. And I'm excited. Because I've been promised a market day in Cabaret.

I've heard all week about the dirty, cramped conditions at market, about the animals sold as food. Well, I'm used to the ever present dirt by now. And I understand the animal-food thing. So I'm excited to windowshop on another people's culture.

I wait by the Toyota Land Cruiser ready to go. Silly, giddy. To market. To market.

Soon, others arrive for market day: Fenel, the medical clinic's administrator, is to drive. Three of the Stone by Stone board members -- Nicole and Adam Pitzer and Julie Rumo -- pile into the truck, too. They have business to attend to in Cabaret, a brief introduction to another non-profit then on to market. They promise.

Three other men pile in.

I didn't expect the three others. I've met them, but none are from Desab. They are all leaders from other mountain villages, all members of a cooperative designed to co-manage services on the mountain. I guess they're going to  market, too.

So we rumble and tumble down the road better suited for animals than trucks. We pass families waiting for a cock fight to begin, both people and donkeys overloaded with goods going to and from market, and goats and chickens scrambling to get out of our way.

We end up at Jason and Ginger Lovan's house in Cabaret, where we see four (maybe five?) more co-op leaders sitting on a wall at the entrance to a seriously tight driveway. We park, spill out of the truck and are joined by those other leaders who follow us into the house.

Unexpectedly, we're in the midst of a formal meeting of the mountain's nine-village co-operative. This is no meet-and-greet.

Ginger who, like us, expected five and not 12, scurries to provide more seating, reposition fans and offer fresh, cold water to drink.

We all settle in, for a very long meeting we didn't know was going to happen. And at that moment, I feel something big is about to happen. I sense Desab's world might be changing.

Because this ministry, called King's Cross Ministries, wants in. They want to work alongside Stone by Stone to ease the economic hardships of the mountain villages. They are just two people, but they have huge hearts for Haiti and knowledge of available resources. 

And they have great ideas to share, ideas that can bring more goats into the mountain villages, turn chickens into profits,  introduce a cash crop where food won't grow, and work cooperatively with the schools in Desab to offer much needed secondary education.

They even want to plow out a part of that treacherous road to stop erosion. Wow.

These two people, who live just down the mountain, have great plans. And, until this moment, until this very meeting, they had no idea the co-op of leaders existed. And now they can work with those leaders. And with Stone by Stone. I feel an undercurrent of excitement. I see village leaders smile, nod.

I sit, listen and take notes and accept there'll be no market day today. But that's OK. 
Final Haiti Chronicles Part 10: The hopes and dreams of Desab's people

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