The Moon

The moon is a perfect half-moon tonight and we, all of us that are home, are sleeping under it. Eight of us on the second story balcony, were we can catch every gust of breeze. The house is unbearably hot, even if we had power the fans would only move around the hot air and perhaps dry the sweat that we sleep in. Tile on concrete is not very forgiving to sleep on, but to be cool and not sleeping in my own sweat makes it tolerable!

It amazes me how quite it is out here! Even at 10:30 in most big cities there is a lot of noise. Here we are 10 minutes from the airport and I can sleep to the hum of the distant generator of the UN apartment building across the road and now and then sound of barking dogs in the distance. There is also the comforting sound of crickets and some far off compass music playing. There is no traffic, no airplanes landing and taking off, to be heard. Around 3 am I know that the roosters will start to crow and since we are on the eastern side of the house the sun will undoubtedly wake us. The sun’s rays slowly kissing our skin as she slowly peaks her way through the huge mango tree and reaches through the fronds of the coconut tree that stands tall next to my resting place on the balcony.

The western side of the house has a deck as well, but even at this late hour with the sun long since set, the tiles are still warm. So here we lay, three men, three women, and two children segregated by the architecture of the house, lying on a mix of mats, rugs and towels with cotton sheets to ward off the mosquitoes, sleeping in the cool breeze of the night. I know I should be asleep, as soon as I saw the moon in the sky words just began to pour forth from my mind longing to be put down, and perhaps shared. It is moments like this, which make the heat of the day bearable and bring a sense of peace to my soul. I know that here in Haiti, perhaps very near to where I rest my head, there are people living in much worse conditions, maybe homeless or unable for safety reasons to enjoy this night-time breeze. I am hopeful that there are answers to the problems of others.

Life is by far not always easy here for me, or others. Do not take my words of the moon and breeze and let them lull you into a sense of security, a job done, or peace. Instead let my words offer hope, not just for my wellbeing, but hope for those who feel hopeless. Done in the right way HOPE can become reality. It is moments like this, after an evening of missing my children to the point of tears; that I find myself comforted by my choices. Not easy choices by far! A sense of belonging and of direction comes into my heart and soul. I know that my children are sleeping under the very same perfect half-moon, though in chilly NH, where jackets have already come out of storage and granted they are inside, out of a chilly breeze and perhaps a frost. They are though sleeping under it, and safe, secure and loved from near and far.

Morning after note:

I slept outside until 3 AM. I was woken by the roosters crowing and the mosquitoes biting, as my OFF had worn off. The power had been turn on and the house cooled enough so I took my self to my bed, finishing my slumber, with the fan blowing a different type of comforting breeze.

This morning it is back to the frustrations of no car, work issues and simply trying to figure things out. Already I am praying that tonight there will be no rain so I can again sleep outside. I am also hopeful that I will make it to the store to buy more OFF. As I sit here typing this after note I am sweating with more water pressure than a shower head and longing for night to come!  But there is so much to be done, so many hurdles to overcome, for myself and for others who are in worse conditions.  It is over whelming to consider it all at once, as I am often asked to do while in conversations. Surly there must be steps, an orderly way to wade out of the depth of these problems. I simply must focus on what I can do, what I think is right. A stroke at a time, swimming towards an end goal that isn’t fully realized yet, but instead is a watery Impressionists painting of a beam from a very distant lighthouse. Keep swimming, keep moving… for the moment you stop drowning is imminent. But also I have to be reminded that at times it is necessary just a float, to not think, relax and take it all in. The problems are not going away on their own, nor can I solve them all myself.

 

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Marchand Dessalines

I was to put it mildly, surprised! I expressed to my friend, who took me on this trip, that I didn’t even feel like I was in Haiti. The lushness, the green, and the amount of water was so different from the Haiti I had come to know! I saw a lake, Acre after acre of rice paddys, and children enjoying an afternoon swim in clean fresh water! I was transported back in time while in the town of Marchard Disallines and the surrounding country side. Houses made of wood, the older buildings in Marchand Dessalines reminding me of the old American west. Watched over by no less than five fortresses, perched on the mountain peaks, with the majestic statue of Dessalines keeping an on eye on them.

I find my self embarrassed that I didn’t take even more pictures! Here I share with you some of the ones I took. Enjoy!

Lake

Marchand Dessalines

Marchand Desallines

In the mountains above city of Marchand Desallines are five fortresses. Often they appear to be just part of the rocky mountain side. The translated names for three of them are “Make a decission” “Little woman” and “End of the world” I was unable to learn the names of the other two.

make a decission

Little woman

End of the world

The statue of Dessaline looking up at three of the fortresses.

Catching a little shade, outside of Marchand Dessalines

Cart Wheeling

Moriga, The Tree of LIFE

On a Saturday morning, several weeks ago I had the extreme pleasure of visiting a USAID project here in Haiti, regarding the moringa tree. The moringa is an amazing tree, one that after much research, I hope to plant in several locations throughout Haiti. When I say plant I mean, forests of them. I truly hope that I with a group of concerned people can see this dream become a reality! Not only is moringa wonderful for the human body, it is also beneficial for animals and for erosion control!

I have stolen writings (below) from other web sites regarding the benefits of the moringa tree. Please jump to their sites for further information.  All the pictures in this post were taken by myself, here in Haiti.

We are currently doing a grass-roots campaign to raise money for these moringa “forests”. As the moringa is already growing in Haiti, we are not introducing a new species of tree. Last weekend I visited our “forest ” location in a province outside of St Marc. I have already lined up a source for many moringa saplings and I have been taught how to grow them from seed. If you are interested in becoming involved please let me know.

 

Moringa Oleifera is commonly known as the most nutrient plant ever discovered.  The nutritional content of this amazing tree is astounding! The Moringa Tree is native to the southern foothills of the Himalayas in northwestern India.  It has been used to combat malnutrition and also to provide nutrition for nursing mothers in poverty stricken areas.  All parts of this tree can be eaten or utilized in a way that is beneficial make this one of the world’s most useful trees. –http://www.moringatreebenefits.com/information/moringa-tree-the-miracle-tree/

 

 

 

 

Moringa Seed Pods

The Moringa tree has more Calcium than Milk, more Vitamin A than Carrots, more Protein than Yogurt, more Potassium than Bananas and 7 times the Vitamin C of Oranges.  Many people are starting to discover the amazing benefits of this amazing tree as more and more testimonials are surfacing all over the internet.

Some of the benefits of consuming this plant…

  • Nourishes the body’s immune system
  • Promotes healthy circulation
  • Supports normal blood glucose levels
  • Natural anti-aging benefits
  • Anti-inflammatory support
  • Promotes healthy digestion
  • Heightens mental clarity
  • Increases energy

http://www.moringatreebenefits.com/information/moringa-tree-the-miracle-tree/

 

Young Moringa Trees

Moringa holds tremendous promise for benefiting humanity. Initial studies in Africa and Nicaragua have shown the following benefits:

Human health

  • Rich in disease-fighting nutrients
  • Essential amino acids to prevent protein malnutrition

Livestock fodder

  • Increases daily weight gain up to 32%
  • Increases milk production by 43-65%

Plant growth enhancer

  • Increases crop production by 20-35%

http://www.treesforlife.org/our-work/our-initiatives/moringa/moringas-potential

 

Moringa leaves with blossoms

Moringa – also called
Drumstick tree
Horseradish tree
Ben oil tree
The Miracle tree
Benzolive tree
Malunggay, Ma Rum,
Marungay, Kelor…
among others.
Worldwide, Moringa is known by many names. No matter what you call it, Moringa is a one  valuable tree.
Rarely can you plant anything that grows so fast, packs so
much nutrition, eye appeal, and soil retention properties, as does the humble Moringa.  I
t usually takes just one encounter with Moringa, to feel
“love at first sight” or “love at first bite”.

Dry moringa leaves

 We ate dry leaves right out of this basket!

  • The leaves can be eaten as salad greens. They mix well with any other salad ingredients. They can also be cooked, as any other greens, or combined with barley, wheat, brown rice, wild rice, rye, buckwheat, spelt, corn, quinoa, millet, or amaranth. Use them creatively, you won’t be disappointed. Moringa leaves have a distinctive, delicious taste that’s all their own.
  • The flowers & buds have to be cooked. Pluck as many as you can eat; the tree will produce more.  People say they taste like mushrooms – we say they just taste –wonderful!
  • Pick the very young pods, and cook them. The consensus is that they taste like asparagus.
  • Shell the young pods, and use the seeds as you would peas or fresh beans.
  • Cook the mature seeds, or fry or roast them. They taste like popcorn, to us! Just go easy on them, as they are VERY cleansing!

http://www.ilovemoringa.com/eatingmoringa.html

(DO NOT EAT THE ROOTS OR BARK)

 

 

 

 

 

I Shall Call Her

MORINGA

Yesterday I maybe went a little crazy! I got a puppy, a Haitian puppy! I have decided to name her Moringa, which means I really need to follow through on a post about Moringa trees! She receives this name not just because of the trees, but in memory of the incredible day I had going to visit said trees. Every time I say her name I smile, not just because she is such a character. She is a little overwhelmed here, with planes flying over head… but she is fitting in well.

Me on the day of the moringa tree visit!

Red Wine for Breakfast

Red wine for Breakfast

 

The bread has mold

one to many days old

not that it matters but the Nutella is gone

its all right I am know longer fond

the lone apple is soft, I will feed to the pig

who has just finished consuming the rest of the figs

the cupboards are bare

filled with ants and air

so this morning to break my fast

I will have grapes of the fermented variety

though not so much I forgo my sobriety!