On his T-shirt, “Always Hungry.”
Nelinsky doesn’t know what it says,
but he knows what it feels like.
Barren gardens show the effects of the drought all over Haiti.
It wasn’t simply the loss of a cash crop, like almonds in California, it
was the loss of corn, beans, and more that families grow to feed them-
selves. But in other ways, Mon Bouton improved this year.
If Pigs Could Fly—Haiti
318Tioga Court, Palo Alto, CA 94306
IPCF NEWSLETTER, NOVEMBER 2015
We have good news on many fronts! This has taken 13 years of effort
by Dr. Randy Mont-Reynaud and the In-country Director, Elisée “Toma” Abraham.
Enjoy the story in pictures!
Learning by doing
The older boy, Onel, shows Nelinsky how to clear the
terrain in preparation for seeding.The youngest children
learn from the adults and older siblings around them, as
in most traditional cultures.
Seeds are planted.
Five-year-old Nelinsky helps without even being asked,
by observing those around him. He brings bamboo.This
will be needed to fence the plot and keep the amimals
Farming in Mon Bouton
Nelis uses traditional slash and burn techniques.
Burning not only clears the ground, but provides
potash for the crops.
We are often asked for a list of specific needs to continue the collaborative work we do with the
community in Mon Bouton/La Tournelle, Haiti. Please read our blog http://www.Haitinextdoor.com.
Below is a list of current project needs; note the Donate Now button on our web site
• Trees: With the new road now up to the base
of Mon Bouton and the school, our families are charged
with planting trees to protect the road. Fruit trees will
retain the soil and provide cash crops and food for the
region. Cost: $25.00/month will kick start this.
• Housing Repair and Rebuilding: Rural homes
and schools, subject to hurricanes and vagaries of
weather, need repair and replacement of tin roofing. El-
derly folks, such as our beloved Gran Dodo and Maman
Nelis, have homes in need of repair and protection from
rodents (e.g., they need a cat, and food for the cat!).You
can support all, or part of family housing/shelter needs.
Sponsor a child or a family by donating to the Shelter
Fund. Photographs and names provided on request to
sponsors. Cost: $25.00/month.
• Solar Panels: Solar panels are the best way to
provide power for our remote rural families.We need
one solar panel for Toma’s work space/communication
and to provide power for visitors (like you!). Please
mark your support for solar panels and storage batter-
Food: The situation is chronic. Since this year’s
drought, loss of crops lead to food shortages, and the
cost of imported food skyrocketed. We have collabo-
rated with local volunteers and started a model garden,
using the runoff from the solar powered pump system.
We planted seeds (tomato, beet, spinach) and fertilized
by slash and burn. We provide a snack at 3 schools
through Pwojet Mamba, serving Patay” (fried dough with
anchovies); we also support salaries for cooks. Cost
for Mamba project workers, fuel and supplies: $200.00/
• Water: Your contribution to the Water Fund
will support our “Water Master” and team to maintain
the solar equipment we installed. Cost: $50.00 per
• Medical Supplies: Our “barefoot” veterinary
doctor is hoping to purchase a small refrigerator to
keep veterinary vaccines for pigs and goats. Please mark
your donation “veterinary supplies.”
Don’t let the light go out!
I am always asked,“Haiti, eh? Is it any better there since
the earthquake?” And my answer always is:“The earth-
quake WAS the tip of the iceberg.” My many photo-
graphs include dozens of pictures of city streets piled
high with trash, broken cement, garbage and animals
(and humans) rifling through it.And those are the BE-
FORE photographs, prior to 2010.
In our mountain zone, there have been many, many im-
provements: Thanks to Dr. Eric Sabelman’s ingenuity, and
Elisee Abraham’s DIY adaptations, our area gets water
pumped up from a clean, reliable spring. Elisee’s efforts,
coupled with my own never say never energy, got an
earthquake-proof school constructed and furnished by
Digital (Haiti’s equivalent to AT&T). Digicel and Samari-
tan’s Purse were moved to construct a road - in order
to get equipment up for the school.These spin-off proj-
ects have also provided paid work to the community. If
Pigs Could Fly - Haiti has its own small school feeding
program - which employees a team of workers. This
team starts before 5 a.m. to prepare a small nutritious
snack for the local school children. Given the many con-
straints (lack of wood or other fuel; crop failure; poor
soil; vermin), children will not get anything to eat until
noon or later. Often, this is the only meal in the day.
Somehow, though, the children mature, bear children
themselves (albeit, some weak and sickly); the mountain
folk survive. We have supported teachers in the school.
Over the years, we have helped some get training in
tailoring and cooking. One of our young women is now
running for a local political post!
Yes, in a way, it’s small change for small changes. www.
If Pigs Could Fly-Haiti.com manages on a shoestring, and
a hope and a prayer. Please join us this season in any
small way to provide for this remote community in the
mountains of Haiti!
Toma, Our in-Country director
We acquired huge bags of seeds, out of date,
from a fellow in LaVille (Poprens).Toma
scoops them into paper cones we made to
distribute to families throughout the zone
Our example inspires other communities
Jack from Au Pak, a neighboring community, scopes out
their spring for adding a solar pump like ours.To repli-
cate our success was our long-term dream.
Toma also is the town veterinarian, another vital skill in pro-
tecting the town food supply. Here, he and his friends corral
a pig so that Toma can remove maggots from a sore.To keep
vaccines and medicines for livestock on hand, he needs a
about the size of a small safe, one that runs gas, or even on
electricity generated by his solar panel.The one he had for
many years was appropriated by its owner, a visiting Ameri-
Caring for the animals
The drought — and help
All of Haiti was hard-hit.This is tough for
people and communities that live on what
they grow. Below, Randy and Onel hold
compost donated by Haiti Age Interna-
tional, a non-profit that also provides
tools and training, targeting elderly people
(but classes open to all.
Because of our new solar water pump
at the all year spring, the “Wash Wash,”
our zone had water when surrounding
areas did not.
Bethony reads aloud from one of Randy’s little
Kreyol books, engrossing translations of Aesop’s
fables and science vignettes from non-Western
as well as Western sources. Sadly, few books ex-
ist in the easy-to-learn phonetic Kreyol.
There have been many
improvements in the past
6 years, but one thing
we can’t get enough of
is food. Children here in
these photos show that
they have the capacity
for empathy and shar-
ing, even though they
are merely 5 or 6 years
old – they still share
their small portion with
siblings and cousins.
As for homes, the homes of
Mme. Kaolin’s family of 10,
and also that of an elderly
woman, Mme. Gran Dodo,
are in disrepair. Wooden
planks and paint are needed,
and funds to pay to feed the
volunteer laborers who will
step up from the community.
The mural was a recent addition to one wall of the
new school. Digicel contributed materials for con-
struction.This multi-year effort was completed this
Onel shows off his good marks, which earned him
a prize.The curriculum is taught in Kreyol and
French.The daily snacks from our project go to
his school.The Mamas Makin’ Mamba project goes
to three schools.
A drought-stricken tree.
A Note from our Founder
It’s been heartening, with the news full
of gloom from the four corners of the globe,
to witness the goodness and achievement that
grows in rural Haiti – thanks to the support
of friends from different religious communities
in Palo Alto. I’ve been at this for – what, is it
–14 years– and, indeed, it’s all too easy to get
discouraged. Between hurricanes and droughts
and political coups – the earthquake was just
the tip of the iceberg.
Here in our mountains, where the price
of a Palo Alto latte represents a generous daily
wage (if, indeed, there is paid work to be found),
contributions from you go a long way. IPCF–
Haiti volunteers cover administrative costs and
travel;100% of donations serves the mountain
communities.Thanks to you all, I can maintain,
stubbornly, my dedication and belief that a small
good thing is not for nothing in our world.
If Pigs Could Fly—Haiti has a NEW ADDRESS:
318 Tioga Court, Palo Alto, CA 94306
HOW TO DONATE:
Donate Now button on the website http://www.ifpigscouldflyhaiti.org
Read our blog,
Checks made out to If Pigs Could Fly—Haiti
can be mailed to us at: 318 Tioga Court, Palo Alto, CA 94306
Your donation is tax-deductible.
If Pigs could Fly – Haiti’s
Elisée (Toma) Abraham,
prepares the soil,
the projects’ founder,