Monday, September 5, 2011

Matènwa - Haiti's Home Gardens - Final report

Date: July 11, 2011

Final report for the Proposal to facilitate water access for Matènwa, Haiti’s Home Gardens

On site we called this project, “Gardens For 10 Families”. It was a project we felt we needed to do considering how much we have been encouraging families to make home vegetable gardens.

Matènwa has about 100 families. We started with 10 families that were committed to making this project a success. Each family received 2 water drums, 2 gutters with installation, kandelam plants for live fencing of a 10 square meter space, and wire fencing to keep out goats and chickens until the live fencing grows to a secure height and width.

All gardens are already in place. This project has required the gardeners to meet each week, allowing them the time to sit and talk together to deepen each other’s knowledge. For example, they share their understanding of how to conserve water by reusing dishwater and bathing water.

This project has permitted them to reduce the amount of money used to buy vegetables in the market. The realization of these gardens has ignited a desire in others to be part of this movement. We hope all 100 will eventually have home vegetable gardens, because almost all families cannot afford to eat properly. The community recognizes that working together on these gardens will diminish malnutrition in Matènwa.

Ten families of our students in LKMPD were chosen. We began a dialogue with them to hear how they felt about the project and if they were ready to fully engage in it. We laid out our goals, objectives, and timeline. We then brainstormed together what it would take as a team to assure success.

is to empower our parents rather than make them dependent on us. We help them gain confidence in their own capacities, their strength, their personal experiences and volunteerism.

Many times people in need appear to those helping them as people who don’t think about what is best for them. The person or organization that is helping doesn’t give the people the chance to express themselves. They do not allow them to put their own ideas into the project. They are treated as if hungry people, people in need, are not full human beings. They are talked at, not with.

LKMPD believes in self-determination as the road to dignity and success.

The 10 family leaders that received assistance from Pacific Rim Voices are:

Celila Ariyis
Loretha Derilus
Carole Dorisca
Nini Florvilis
Wilson Geffrard
Zaza Geffrard
Madam Lesame Joseph
Louinise Pierre Louis
Maude Sainvil
Walter Succés


Zaza’s Kandelam live fencing.

People cannot make successful vegetable gardens if they cannot secure them from animals. Kandelam is an excellent plant to fence out all kinds of animals, such as chickens, goats, and cows. Here families are setting up their live fences.


See the goats! When there is a drought some children let their goats escape as a strategy for their survival. The goats will eat what they can find, wandering into people’s gardens until they are caught and tethered.

Carole’s family has put in their live fencing. After planting they have covered the sprouting cabbage with branches of leaves to protect them from the burning sun.


People were very happy to get water drums and gutters on their homes. When the rains finally do come the water comes off their roofs with such force and in high quantities that it often washes away gardens and top soil.

Holland Riviere cut the metal roofing to fashion the gutters, made the wooden gutter supports and then installed them.

The photos below are of four of our 10 families the received gutters and drums: Celila, Luinise, Carole, and Nini. Drums could not be found for sale on Lagonav in such quantity so we had to go all the way to Port Au Prince to buy them. This added to our timeline and cost.


Families helped each other to make their vegetable beds.

First they measured them and staked them. Then they prepared them by digging out the rocky limestone beds beds and putting in donkey poop they had collected in the fields and other compostable material.

After that they covered this layer with topsoil dirt that they had sifted to get all the rocks out.

Here the women are working together to measure and make rows to plant their carrot seeds.


It took longer than expected to get wire fencing because we had to go all the way to Port Au Prince to buy it. Our port town of Ansagale did not have it in stock.

Families were happy to receive it. They put it up as soon as it arrived. Now their gardens are secure.

Once the kandelam grows into a full-fledged fence, they can move this fencing to enlarge their vegetable garden or use it to protect newly planted fruit trees from hungry goats.

Walter’s fenced garden

People worked together to put up the wire fencing.

Loretha’s garden of tomatoes, lettuce, corn, eggplant, beets, carrots, and spinach.

The gardens seem to be growing even faster now that they are fenced in and it is raining regularly enough to keep the ground moist and the barrels full for regular watering.


I have already benefited from my garden. We have eaten from it and sold from it. I live close to the water pump so even though the rains were not coming I walked to the pump and carried buckets of water to my home each day. When I got the drums I could store the water there.

This is how I was able to get my garden to flourish. It is tiring to pump the water and then to have to carry it [on your head] uphill to your house. I will go help some of the other families in their gardens so they can also be successful. If one of us in the group doesn’t succeed then we all lose out.

The proposed timeline of the project was as follows:

Week one: May 17, 2011
1. Pacific Rim Voices will send 5,210.00 US dollars into the Friends of Matènwa checking account at Cambridge Savings Bank, PO BOX 380206, Cambridge, MA. 02238-9906 Tel: 888 418 5626. Router number: 211371120: Account number: 56487057 2

Week Two: MAY 23, 2011

1. Project director Abner Sauveur will meet with Matènwa staff to determine who will be the first 10 families to receive this gift. The list will be generated according to how self motivated students and/or adults have been over the past couple of years to implement what has been taught on the practice of vegetable gardening.
2. Send money via FONKOZE bank into the Lèkòl Kominote Matènwa Pou Devlopman account on Lagonav. Entered on May 23 rd
3. Meet with the families. Describe the project. Invite them to join. Explain why they have been chosen. Talk about time line expectations and the ability to repeat this grant for others if they succeed. Decide on who will be putting up the fencing at each home and who will be planting the live fencing.

Week Three: May 30, 2011
1. Take pictures of these families’ homes and present vegetable garden plots.
2. Meet with individual families to measure their roofs determining the length needed for their home.
3. Measure and mark where they will fence a part of their land for a home vegetable garden.

Week Four: June 6th, 2011
1. Get the measurements to the guttermaker, give a down payement to make the gutters.
2. Buy fencing materials, buy 20 barrels, garden tools and seed.
3. Destribute these materials to the families. ( Take pictures)
4. Begin fencing.

Week Five: June 13, 2011
1. Continue putting up wire fencing.
2. Start planting live fencing.
3. Take pictures.
4. Produce BEFORE Photo report pages with captions of the ten homes.

Week Six: June 20,2011

1. Bring gutters up from the town of Ansagale.
2. Put up gutters.
3. Finish planting live fencing.
4. Take pictures of gutters and fencing.

Week Seven: June 27, 2011

1. Finish putting up gutters and fencing.
2. Begin planting.
3. Take pictures.
4. Produce AFTER photo report pages with captions

Week Eight: July 4, 2011

1. Produce BEFORE AND AFTER photo report with captions.
2. Finish Financial report.
3. Email for review to Friends of Matènwa (Chris Low)

Week Nine: July 11, 2011

1. Email to Pacific Rim Voices.


All 10 families are content with the progress they have made so far on their gardens.

They are confident that their gardens will bear lots of good food, helping their households in several ways. They will be able to eat healthier meals, which will make them stronger and reduce hospital bills. They will be able to sell vegetables in order to pay for school fees and other needs. They will be eating organic produce. They will have more access to water not only for their garden, but for washing, reducing the number of hours spent fetching water. More water access means ability to clean one’s body, ones, dishes and one’s clothes.

The timeline was respected except for the delay in getting drums, gutters, and fencing. These items were still received and utilized within the two month project period so we feel that we still managed to respect our timeline despite the unforeseen obstacles.

The project manager was very focused on working with the 10 families. He sent pictures periodically via email instead of doing a mid term report. Not having the knowledge of how to resave downloaded photos in a size that can be easily entered into a word document he was unable to send full reports via internet.

In mid-July,Chris Low compiled the project director’s photos and information, as well as visited the families’ gardens to take additional photos and informal interviews.


There were a few adjustments to the budget.

The price of drums, fencing, and gutters, and their transportation costs were more than expected. We managed to stay within budget by cutting costs through getting donated seed, having the families pay for or cut their own tree poles for the wire fencing, and some donated labor to put up the gutters.

We had to go with a cheaper type of gutter because the sturdier ones we wanted were quoted at 90,000g or 2250 US. This was 968 dollars more than we had budgeted.

We also realized that the amount of fencing we asked for was half of what was needed. We also did not budget the transportation cost of getting the agriculture books. They came from Jacmel.

We feel that having the training that they offer with these books would be beneficial. They will come train us for The organization brought them to Port Au Prince for us, but then we had to get them to Matènwa and did so by asking a volunteer to bring them at their expense.

Travel from PAP to Matènwa requires an hour and a half bus ride, a two-hour boat ride, and another hour and a half taxi ride on unpaved roads. The exchange rate was 40 gourdes to 1 US dollar so that helped us get a little more for our money.

We are looking forward to your questions and comments. We hope that we can renew this grant using the proposed Phase Two Project Budget of 5549.95 US dollars. We are thrilled at the results of this project. We hope that you are too.

We will send you additional pictures as the gardens grow. The rains have started to come so these families are feeling a lot of hope and satisfaction from their hard work and your willingness to provide the monetary resources it takes to make successful vegetable gardens.

At some point we would like to get the Djakout Peyizan training so we can better utilize this binder of 22 booklets on agricultural techniques. The have sent us a proposal that will cost 2400 US dollars to train 22 people over a 3 day period. I can send you their proposal upon your request.

In behalf of the families of Matènwa,

Chris W. Low

1 comment:

  1. Excellent! The wire fencing will help a lot. I can't wait to visit and see the gardens in person.

    Chapo ba!