Spring 2007 The Sower Newsletter, Floresta


Published on

Spring 2007 The Sower Newsletter, Floresta

  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Spring 2007 The Sower Newsletter, Floresta

  1. 1. Spring 2007 A Publication of Floresta USA, Inc. Director’s Corner: Unpacking Floresta’s Trans-Border Project Update Mission Statement, By Scott Sabin, Executive Director Part 4: “We plant”It is only eighteen miles between our southern Floresta, a Christian nonprofit organization,Trans-border office in the Haitian village of Terre reverses deforestation and poverty in the worldFroid and our northern Trans-border office in the by transforming the lives of the rural poor. WeDominican village of Sabana Real. Eighteen miles as teach, we plant, we create enterprise, and wethe crow flies and nearly nine hours travel. You can share the gospel.almost see one village from the other, looking out across the enormousvalley that splits the southern half of Hispaniola with its chain of salt In the last issue of The Sower, we looked atlakes. In the middle, still half buried by tons of boulders and silt which the first of Floresta’s four tools, “we teach:”came down the river near or office on horrible night in May of 2004, lies the process of community development.the town of Jimani. This quarter’s feature article, the fourth in It is two hours down the mountain, a half an hour being searched by a series of discussions designed to acquaintthe Haitian police during a traffic stop, an hour at Haitian immigration, Sower readers with Floresta’s mission andfollowed by a motorcycle ride between Haitian and Dominican immigra- vision, discusses the second of the four toolstion. (All your luggage goes on the motorcycle with you – you learn to Floresta uses to reverse the vicious cyclepack light.) It is another hour in Dominican immigration warding off of poverty and deforestation. The wordsa swarm of corrupt touts charging false fees, then a two and a half hour “we plant” reflect the tools of Innovativedrive up the Sierra de Neiba mountains to the twin towns of Sabana Real Agriculture and Forestry, techniques thatand Savane Bombe. An hour for lunch and a couple of stops to col- help impoverished rural communities tolect supplies, including mattresses rented from a Dominican army post, restore and replenish their depleted naturalrounds out the trip. resources. Innovative Agriculture and Forestry are tools that enable farmers to make the best possible use of two assets they already continued on page 2........................................... In This Issue: DEPARTMENTS: Director’s Corner ................................. 1 Faces of Floresta ................................. 3 Volunteer of the Quarter ...................... 4 For Our Seedlings ................................ 5 FEATURES: Mission Statement Defined/Pt. 4 .......... 1Traffic on the road to Terre Froid Village Spotlight .................................. 4 Coupled with the language and cultural challenges, and the history Breaking Floresta News ....................... 6 Vacation Bible Schoolers ..................... 7of prejudice and violence, these logistical difficulties make the closecontinued on page 4.............................................................................................Call 800.633.5319 THE SOWER Spring 2007 | 1
  2. 2. ......................................................................continued from page 1 cultural practices from around the world as well as teach- possess: land and water. As discussed earlier in this series, ing the farmers themselves to continually experiment and large-scale deforestation has left many of the areas where create their own innovations. In addition to cover crops Floresta works barren and denuded. The resulting absence and soil conservation barriers, we also teach agroforestry, of plant cover makes hillsides and their farms vulnerable bio-intensive gardening, seed selection, natural pest con- to severe erosion, leaving behind poor soil that lacks vital trol, fish farming, animal husbandry and the production of nutrients and cannot retain water. alternative crops. • Forestry: Planting trees in deforested areas is an easy, cost-effective, and sustainable way to quickly and efficiently restore barren hillsides and replenish leeched soil. Trees provide a multitude of benefits to farmers and their land: they act as a sponge by enhancing the infiltration of water into the ground, prevent erosion by stabilizing soil, sup- press weeds and pests, slow evaporation by providing shade, and add nitrogen and nutrients to the soil, making it more fertile for farming. To maximize the restorative benefits of trees, Floresta teaches a unique type of agriculture that is particularly suited to steep hillside farms: agroforestry. Agroforestry involves planting trees alongside more traditional agri- On a Floresta agroforestry farm in the Dominican Republic, pepper culture, enabling crops and trees to thrive in mutually plants are grown at the base of trees, which give shade and provide beneficial relationships. For example, some Floresta farms essential nutrients. in the Dominican Republic are growing trees alongside pepper plants. The trees provide shade and pull nutrients While deforestation and subsequent soil erosion are out of the air and put them into the soil, providing better complicated problems, their solutions are relatively simple nutrition for the pepper plants. They also produce fruit and highly effective. Floresta addresses both issues in tan- and wood, multiplying the income derived from the farm. dem, with two interrelated solutions: Agroforestry systems such as this make it possible for hill- side farms to produce more and be productive for a much • Innovative Agriculture: In the areas where Floresta works, longer period. most farmers practice subsistence farming: growing crops primarily to eat, rather than to sell. Their sustenance comes directly from the land, and their daily survival depends on that land’s ability to produce food. Yet as their land becomes depleted from deforestation and years of toil, they are able to produce less and less to eat. By teach- ing innovative agriculture, Floresta introduces farmers to new, more sustainable farming methods, incorporating techniques that help farms work more efficiently and ef- fectively – with the land, instead of against it. For example, Floresta shows farmers how to utilize cover crops which fix nitrogen in the soil, as an inexpensive way to enrich the soil and sustainably multiply their output. We also teach farmers how to construct natural soil erosion barriers by strategically planting vegetation along hillsides to help keep soil in place. Schoolchildren in Oaxaca visit a Floresta tree nursery to help with As Floresta grows, we are constantly pursuing the best agri- reforestation activities.2 | THE SOWER Spring 2007 visit www.floresta.org
  3. 3. To encourage agroforestry, Floresta helps members ineach community where we work to set up a tree nursery, in Volunteer of the Quarter:which seedlings are planted and raised by volunteer farm- Ryan Byrnesers. These seedlings are then replanted on farms or along Ryan Byrnes knows his way around a market. Thedenuded hillsides. Some tree nurseries also function as 22-year-old college student works at El Pescador Fishclassrooms, in which Floresta conducts agriculture experi- Market in La Jolla, an occupation he calls “the best jobments or teaches farmers how to graft fruit trees, making ever!” An avid, hard-working volunteer, Ryan has alsothem stronger and able to produce better quality crops. generously given his time and expertise by helping promote Floresta at a number of events recently. After noticing that our Oaxacan pine needle baskets would make a great addition at several local farmers’ markets in San Diego, Ryan began to set up stands at these markets, selling baskets and telling interested shoppers about Floresta’s work. Not content to stop there, Ryan then decided to spread the word about Floresta at his church, Flood San Diego. Over the holidays, he represented Floresta at Flood’s Christmas market, and raised over $1,400 in coffee and basket sales and general donations. In fact, Ryan was only limited in the amount raised by the fact that he sold out of supplies! Ryan is now working with several members of Floresta’s staff to create more opportunities to market Floresta at local events, and to build a stronger partnership between Floresta and his church community. Ryan’s interest in Floresta is rooted in his compas- sion for the poor and his love for the outdoors. “I like to rock climb, run, and basically love being outside,” A farmer in Haiti shows the trees he has planted to help retain soil on his hillside farm. he says. “I am also interested in learning how we can be better stewards of our resources, as well as how we can Through innovative agriculture and forestry, Floresta help restore the planet and the people of this planethelps farmers shift their focus from day-to-day survival in to the way they were when God created them.” Whenorder to create long-term plans for utilizing the land in a asked about his experiences with Floresta, Ryan says heway that will preserve it for future use and increase crop has learned that “development work is just that: work.yields. When yields improve, farmers are able to grow not It takes time to make changesjust enough food to eat, but enough to sell. Improving happen in our own lives andtheir agriculture, restoring their land, and making their in the world around us. I’vefarms sustainable over the long term radically improves the also learned that it is impor-entire community’s diet, nutrition, health and income. tant not to underestimate the As a result of Floresta’s work in reforestation, over 3 Flood Church, and to bringmillion trees have been planted by participating farmers, enough coffee for the nextand crop yields on hillsides have dramatically increased. Christmas market!”Farmers in Haiti have told us that they are getting up tothree times as much corn and beans as before! Thanks, Ryan! In the next issue of The Sower, we will look at the thirdof Floresta’s four objectives, “we create enterprise,” andexplain how Floresta is using microcredit, the world’s Ryan Byrnesmost effective solution to poverty, to create sustainableeconomic growth and opportunity in rural communities.Call 800.633.5319 THE SOWER Spring 2007 | 3
  4. 4. ...........................................continued from page 1 cooperation between Floresta Dominican Village Spotlight: Mshiri, Tanzania Republic and Floresta Haiti even more re- “It’s like walking into a garden,” visitors say about markable. Mshiri, which lies at the foothills of the amazing And already we are seeing fruit. Floresta Mount Kilimanjaro, where exotic flowers give a Haiti and Floresta Dominican Republic are beautiful contrast to the fresh green of the local learning from each other and strengthen- plants. Though rich in natural beauty, however, many ing their work in the older project areas as people in Mshiri are poor. “40 years ago the streams a result of this collaboration at the border. used to flow endlessly,” laments an old man. Now, many of them only flow Floresta Haiti is adopting some of the very occasionally. The area’s soil was eroded, making it difficult for families in successful discipleship outreach techniques Mshiri to grow enough food. That is, until last year, when Floresta began that the Dominicans are using, and Floresta work with the villagers. Dominican Republic is learning from the Mama Rogat, a woman in Mshiri, is thrilled about the work of Flo- Haitians how to work more effectively with resta’s staff. With their help, she has been able to improve the quality of loan groups. life for herself and her whole family. Mama Rogat tried new agriculture techniques she learned from the Floresta staff and as a result was able to produce 10 times more vegetables than she had before! Such good news can hardly be kept a secret, so Mama Rogat’s neighbors have already asked her to teach them these new methods. In addition to maintaining a successful farm, Mama Rogat is also active in caring for the environment. With Floresta’s help, she now has a tree nursery of more than 200 seedlings, and has been involved in planting over 100 trees in reforestation efforts. Mama Rogat has also experienced firsthand the benefits of the improved stoves supplied to her community by Floresta. These stoves use less firewood (to help conserve wood and trees), produce less smoke (to improve respiratory health), cook faster (to make better use of time), and stay hot longer than older, less efficient stoves. Late night meeting in Sabana Real Mama Rogat Yet I think it is the commitment of our displays some leadership to making this a truly collabora- of the seedlings tive project – a true vision of the Kingdom she’s raising in her new tree of God – that makes me the proudest. Staff nursery. members are making an effort to learn one another’s language and customs. People are cheerfully putting up with the effort it takes to attend regular meetings at the halfway point in Jimani and to visit the work on ei- ther side of the border. The team at Sabana Real will soon be bi-national. Against the odds, we are becoming one team, united in In Floresta villages, we often see many benefits stem from just one our commitment to heal the land and its simple change. Mshiri, one of Floresta’s newest villages, is already making people and to serve Jesus. great strides in improving the quality of their life through the assistance and training provided to them by Floresta and enthusiastic community To read more about the remarkable border members like Mama Rogat. area and to see photos, visit our blog at Floresta village sponsors can make a difference in the lives of many http://www.floresta777.blogspot.com other rural farmers. For just $30 a month, you can support a village of farmers like Mshiri. You will receive regular updates and photos of your vil- lage along with stories from farmers like Mama Rogat. First time sponsors who sign up with our automatic payment option will have their first year’s donation matched! To learn more or sign up, please fill out the enclosed envelope, visit our website, or contact us at floresta@xc.org.4 | THE SOWER Spring 2007 visit www.floresta.org
  5. 5. For Our Little Seedlings!Earth Day 2007 is Coming!The Earth is not just our home, it is God’s amazing creation! like recycling yourBecause of that, it’s especially important to take good care of trash, carpooling,it. April 22 is Earth Day, a special day when people all over and cutting downthe country take time to celebrate our awesome planet and on your water andto think of some ways we can better care for our environ- electricity use.ment. How are you planning to celebrate Earth Day? Here • Work on your green thumb by planting a tree or a feware some ideas: plants in your backyard, school, or church. Trees and plants don’t just make the earth more beautiful, they actually help• Do some “spring cleaning:” Grab a few friends and orga- make our air cleaner, too!nize an Earth Day cleanup! Pick a local spot (the beach, a • Get crafty by finding some creative ways to use items youpark, even your own neighborhood), grab some trashbags, would normally throw away, like the bird feeder we madeand spend a few hours picking up litter. from a used milk carton below. Send us your own ideas• Hold a family meeting to brainstorm ways you can make (and pictures) for Earth Day crafts, and we just might useyour home and lifestyle more earth-friendly, by doing things them in a future Sower issue! Make a Milk Jug Bird Feeder:  Rinse and dry an empty milk jug.  Insert pencils or sticks for perches and fill the bot-  Using pointed scissors (you might need an adult to tom of the jug with bird seed. help you), cut a window in the front of the jug, and  Use string to hang feeder from a tree branch, and make two small holes for the perches. enjoy watching to see who comes to eat!  Use paint, markers, paper, magazine cutouts, colored leaves, or other materials to decorate the birdhouse. Use your imagination! . . . the birds will love it!Call 800.633.5319 THE SOWER Spring 2007 | 5
  6. 6. Breaking News: Faces of Floresta: Guy ParaisonWhat’s new at Floresta This year, Floresta’s Haiti Program will beTaking the World (Wide Web) celebrating its milestone 10th anniversary.By Storm Guy Paraison, Director of Floresta Haiti,We’re working all over the world…and has been an instrumental part of the pro-now, all over the Web! For the latest gram since we started there in 1997. WithFloresta news, program updates, pictures, quiet strength and perseverance, Guy is al-and discussions, visit Floresta online in the ways searching for new ways to support andfollowing places: empower Floresta’s staff and farmers as they work toward transformation. Thanks to Guy and his team, Floresta’s program in Haiti has become a bright spot in an often turbulent nation. Guy Paraison Birthplace: The 10th county of Leogane, Haiti Number of years working with Floresta: I’ve been working with Floresta 10 years now; I started as a trainer and administrative consultant, moved on to become credit director, and in August 2000, God led me to accompany the team as its director. How you came to Floresta: I started working with Floresta at the request of my friend Jean Marie Desilus, a former colleague, and I was brought on to start cooperative training in the communities where Floresta was beginning• Join the discussion on our blog, “The work.Trees,” at www.floresta777.blogspot.com.Recent highlights include an account of Reason for working with Floresta: There’s always something new for me,the impact Floresta’s microcredit program and I’m given the opportunity to develop my talents and new ideas. Atis having on the life of a Dominican wom- Floresta, we are truly a team: everyone is involved and equally respected.an, and a link to “Where is Bob?” where Floresta provides learning for a lifetime!you can track the work of our TechnicalDirector Bob Morikawa. Favorite part of Floresta’s work: The belief and determination of the whole international team in working for a better life for the poor.• Visit our myspace page at www.myspace.com/florestaheals to send us a friend Favorite Floresta memory: The solidarity and support of the Floresta teamrequest or to read what others are saying when my wife had complications during her pregnancy last year. (Note: Guyabout Floresta! and his wife Marie welcomed a healthy baby boy, Guy Mike, last fall!)• Search “www.floresta.org” on Hobbies/interests: Soccer, hiking to visit farms in rural areaswww.youtube.com to watch, rate, orcomment on our powerful music videos Favorite book: The Bible, and books about management and communityhighlighting our work in Haiti, the developmentDominican Republic, and Mexico. One or two unique/interesting facts about you: I am always calm even inAs always, check for regular updates and new difficult situations. I think that when your mind is calm, you can make thefeatures on our website, www.floresta.org best decisions. I am against violence because violence destroys more than it builds. I suffer every time I see someone in extreme poverty.6 | THE SOWER Spring 2007 visit www.floresta.org
  7. 7. Vacation Bible Schoolers are “making change”for Floresta!Several months ago, we received some exciting news from one of the simpleMarcia Daugherty, a new Floresta friend in Akron, Ohio. reasons that trees areMarcia contacted us after helping organize a Vacation essential to a village,Bible School at Montrose Zion United Methodist Church. such as producingShe found Floresta’s website while searching online, and food (bananas, coco-“adopted” Floresta as the VBS missions project for a week nuts, etc.), firewood toover the summer. We were blessed and delighted by the cook with, wood forgenerosity of Marcia and her VBS kids, and inspired by building homes, andher story: preventing soil ero- sion (we talked about VBS participan t Mar y Cartwrig “We selected Floresta for our Vacation Bible School the farmers’ dirt and shows the money ht she raised to he plant Floresta tre lpchildren’s missions project because we were interested in baby plants sliding es.doing a project that could blend with our Caribbean is- down the mountain-land theme for the year. We always choose an evangelical sides when it rains). The children got very excitedorganization which seeks to spread the good news of Jesus about buying ‘baby trees,’ and each day they brought theirChrist as well as aid the needy of the world. coins and dollars for the offerings. One little girl brought all the money she had in her piggy bank to VBS in a little black purse! The kids talked to their parents and got con- tributions, and some did jobs at home to earn money for the offerings. As the offerings increased, we moved a stuffed monkey up an inflatable palm tree to show progress toward our goal. Along with the contributions of parents at our eve- ning festival and our Sunday morning presentation, the children collected over $1500! They were thrilled to have gathered enough to begin THREE new tree nurseries for villages in the Dominican Republic!” What a wonderful story! Thanks to the hard work and enthusiasm of Marcia and Montrose Zion’s Vacation Bible School kids, Floresta will be able to plant and grow thou- sands more “baby trees!” The Sower Issue #76. The Sower is published quarterly by Floresta USAMontrose Zion’s monkey reaches the top of the tree! 4903 Morena Blvd., Suite 1215 San Diego, California 92117 I was excited about the fact that the children could Ph: (858) 274-3718, (800) 633-5319.easily understand the idea of raising money for trees--they Fax: (858) 274-3728know what trees are and can easily remember the con- E-mail: floresta@xc.orgcept. Each day during the VBS opening I would explain www.floresta.orgCall 800.633.5319 THE SOWER Spring 2007 | 7
  8. 8. Earth Day is coming! Find out how you can participate. (page 5)Floresta farmers in the Dominican Republic pause before planting pine seedlings. Floresta’s New project is breaking down borders (page 1) ADDRESS SERVICE REQUESTED floresta@xc.org (858) 274-3718 San Diego, CA 92117 OCEANSIDE, CA 4903 Morena Blvd., Suite 1215 PERMIT NO. 236 PAID U.S. POSTAGE NON PROFIT ORG.