Local Leadership is Key

In his fifth week in Haiti, Levo Field Scientist, Nate Heiden, began to turn the reigns of maintenance over to the our Hydroponics agronomist.  Kely is a brilliant and earnest worker, who quicker with a smile than almost anyone you will ever meet.  Local leadership will be the key to long-term success and Levo couldn’t be more pleased with our point person.  Nate’s full weekly reflection is here:


                Lots of planting happened this week! We planted 96 pepper plants into our larger systems and 16 pepper seedlings into one of our community members’ hydroponic system. This community member is named Dinerose and she works as a nurse at the hospital in Pignon. She is also a graduate of the Many Hands for Haiti agronomy technician program. I had a larger team helping me do all of that planting. Claudin came to Dinerose’s house along with one of Many Hands for Haiti’s agricultural interns, named Harry. He translated for me and worked to help set up the plants. We did some more review training for Dinerose about how to maintain the system. We also wanted to make sure she had a plan for when she could pump water through the systems. Woodson also was working with me that day. Per usual, he did a really awesome job helping to translate, taking pictures and video, and getting the plants ready for the systems. It took some real brainstorming to figure out how to get the seedlings to Dinerose’s house without disturbing them too much in transit over really rough roads. We definitely succeeded though!

Levo Field Scientist Nate and MH4H Agronomist, Kely

Kely has begun to take the lead on maintaining the systems here. He works really hard to help coordinate when systems will be pumped and we have gotten a good teamwork system down. He has quickly learned which data to record and what to watch for when we pump the systems and test the water. Kely introduced me to his mother and daughter who live at his house with him.

I climbed the mountain again this week with the group that was here and it was fantastic again! I’ve had the chance to play with a lot of the kids here in the evenings. It has been really nice to kick a ball around and goof off with some kids after a long day. I also enlist them to help me with different day-to-day tasks.  I also have begun to walk the “Peace Path” here on campus. It is a gorgeous trail around campus that takes a few minutes to walk through. It goes through the banana grove, congo bean plants, and over a small hill. The scenery is really great and with a light wind it’s a truly relaxing and focusing experience.

Every Sunday we go to church just down the road from the campus. It is a small structure with a tin roof and rickety wood and plastic seating. However, worship is done passionately and although I am unable to understand a great deal of the language, I can definitely feel God’s presence in the music and in the people there. After church we have been going to a really great restaurant in town on Sundays. We usually get the chicken, rice, and bean sauce when we’re there. It is so delicious! The chicken especially is incredible. The food here on campus is really great as well. The cooks do a fabulous job and I look forward to every meal. In a country such as Haiti where hunger is so rampant, I feel very blessed to have such good food.

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