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What I learned from my Permaculture Mission Trip to Haiti

Updated: Aug 28, 2020

So I've just returned from Haiti, actually Anse-a-Galets on La Gonave Island, which is a small island nestled inside the interior coasts of Haiti. Upon my return, rain has been the theme, for 3 straight days...RAIN.

We flew from Haiti to Fort Lauderdale and found there overcast skies and then found ourselves venturing to the beach amidst heavy winds and rain, thankful for a free trolley that passed to give us shelter for a moment. From Fort Lauderdale we returned late to Dallas to rain, then enjoyed our Sunday rest, with more rain, and today as Monday nears evening, it's still raining. But rainy days just aren't the same and here's why. I'm okay with the rain, in fact, the reason I'm writing is because I have a new appreciation for the rain, one that I pray will not soon fade. My new appreciation comes from two things, one my study over the past few months of Permaculture, and two, my recent trip to Haiti. (Check out my pics on Instagram Next to God being my source for life and giving me breath, the next most important thing is water. I do not consider myself a conservationist, a hippie, a naturalist, an environmentalist or a permaculturist...YET. All of these things appeal to me, but I'm a lazy, spoiled person who doesn't have to worry about water, food, transportation, electricity, disease, or much discomfort at all. I mean really...I don't. I hope you see I'm not bragging here, nor am I knocking anyone, I'm just admitting where I'm at today. And who knows, maybe you need to knock me, go for it, I'm learning and change is sometimes slow and hard. Today is not where I have always been, it's not where I want to stay, I WANT TO CHANGE! I'm a Jesus loving hippie at heart...stuck in a people pleasing flesh that is slowly learning to let go (Lord hear my prayer)! In fact, I haven't used my traditional deodorant in quite a few days and guess what, I don't stink, and all is well. HA! I've also taken a lot less showers in the last year or two, as I'm learning to live more freely and not utilize so many resources. Anyways, back to the rain...I ran home today looking for pots, buckets, anything in the yard that would collect this rain that was steadily falling down. As I did, I slowly got even more frustrated! I tipped over the pots/buckets we had in the back yard, and have watched them slowly start to collect some water, but more frustrating than that, was watching the water collect on the surface of the soil, puddling. Then, watching it flow effortlessly down the driveway and out into the street, gone... So why am I frustrated?  I'm frustrated because I was just in Haiti (the Caribbean) and it looked like a dried up desert, there was lack of water everywhere we went. It was the topic of discussion. Dust and erosion are evident, there's no systems set up to collect the water that does flow during the in 2 prevalent rainy seasons. And you would hardly believe that Haiti gets about 54 inches of rain a year (Dallas gets about 36 inches, just so you can relate). If I showed you the difference in climate, soil and look, you would not believe it. Haiti needs permaculture, heck we all need permaculture, just like we all need Jesus, we just don't know it yet (on either account).  I'm also frustrated because I have now learned there is a better way! I no longer desire this green grass in my yard, I no longer desire to have a pristine looking shrubbery, I want food, I want water catchment and harvesting systems, I want some ground cover in the front of the house that will actually add nutrients to the soil. I want to figure out a way to stop the run off! I dream of playing in my garden and got so excited to see today that the sheet mulching I did may have protected my plants from the snow and frost...Praise the Lord! I promise this is not a sales pitch, it's a lesson...for me. I write because I love it, and the Lord has told me to do it. I help others because he's told me the same. One year ago I did not have a clue what permaculture was, and rainy days were pretty much just an inconvenience to this sunshine lover. Today they are beautiful, frustrating and insightful. It's amazing what can happen in a year. Here's some pics of my yard, and the rain that's running away, at the end of the day, I have some work to do (on the inside and out!).

Written 3/9/15

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