Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Wine Label Benefits Lambi Fund

After producing some of California’s most highly sought after cabernets from its vineyards on Sonoma Mountain for twenty years, Patrick Campbell of Laurel Glen Vineyards took an exploratory trip to Chile in 1995 and liked what he saw. Making limited production (and hence, relatively expensive) wine had its charms; but Campbell, whose lifetime fascination with Che Guevara reveals a stubborn egalitarian streak, yearned to produce a more populist wine. He realized that the Colchagua region, in the shadow of the mighty Andes, could produce a delicious and lively cabernet.

The result was Terra Rosa, which has gained a well deserved reputation for honesty, affordability, and environmentally conscious farming practices. While Patrick was searching the farther reaches of the Chilean and Argentine wine worlds, one of his daughters, Maia, was engaged in setting up legal mediation centers in the Guatemalan highlands, and through her work had encountered the Lambi Fund.
Patrick was intrigued. Why not draw on his Terra Rosa contacts to develop a wine that not only tastes good but does good? Patrick ran the idea past his old friend and business partner Tim Chegwidden, an economist with broad experience in the international wine trade. Tim was as excited as Patrick.
Thus was born Chévere, a modest contribution to wine lovers with a social conscience. A portion of the proceeds from the sales of this rich and deep cabernet will be donated to the Lambi Fund to support their vital work. Salud! 2003 Chévere!
In the southeast corner of the Colchagua Valley lies one of the few actual hillside plantings in all of Chile; the 2003 Chévere! begins here on its steep and rocky slopes. While Chévere! is full with the soft and delicious texture we associate with Chilean cabernet, its higher level of color, tannin, and fruit concentration underscore its hillside origin. This is a delicious wine to serve with pastas, meats, pizza, robust cheeses, and with any other hearty foods. Purchase here.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Information on the Kidnapping Incident

By the Lambi Fund Advisory Board and Haiti staff

Note: Some of you may have heard bits and pieces about an incident that happened to four Lambi Fund staff and board members in April. Here is a brief factual account of the events.

Every other year the Lambi Fund of Haiti (LFH) holds its annual board meeting in Haiti in different locations. On these occasions, LFH staff and board members that live in the US always have the opportunity to visit nearby LFH projects and meet with members of its partner organizations.

This year the meeting was scheduled to take place on April 14-18, in a seaside hotel on the Cote de Arcadins. LFH staff (both US and Haiti), directors of the board and advisory board members planned to visit four projects in the Artibonite Valley, one of the LFH’s geographic areas of project concentration.

LFH US staff and board members arrived in P-a-P on April 14. The LFH Haiti team met them at the airport and the group headed directly out of the capital on National Rd #1 in 3 rented cars.

On that road, specifically in Tamarinye after Bon Repos, a group of four armed bandits stopped the rented car. Inside the car were the LFH Haiti Project Director who was driving the car and four female staff and board members of LFH USA. The bandits blocked the road, held a gun to the LF Project Director’s head, made him get out of the car and then drove the car away with the four LFH USA staff and board members in the car.

The LFH Project Director immediately borrowed a phone and called the other LFH staff and board members that were ahead in the other two cars. After re-uniting, they analyzed the situation in order to determine what to do next.

Meanwhile, the bandits drove down a remote road with the four LFH women in the car they had stolen. After terrorizing them with cocked guns and deadly threats and taking all they owned --money, jewelry, laptops, and personal belongings-- the bandits released them on Blanchard Road in the Cul-de-Sac plain. They did, however, return the passports to their victims.

Local residents directed the kidnapping victims to a nearby church where they sought help. From there, they were able to phone LFH staff, who rescued them. The LFH Haiti staff found the four women a secure place to stay the night.

Crimes such as kidnapping and highway banditry are happening everywhere, at anytime and to anyone in Haiti now. In this context, we remain convinced that LFH was not specifically targeted in this attack. We also have no idea who the bandits were or if they claim any affiliations.

Lambi Fund takes this opportunity to thank everyone who aided them in this difficult situation: the staff of the church run by the Oblates in Blanchard, who gave them refuge and much consolation; the staff of the Faculty of Agronomy that permitted LFH members to gather at the faculty to discuss the incident and make decisions; and the Sisters of Hospice St Joseph who took in the Lambi Fund women in their place that night.

The goal of telling this story is to correct mis-interpretations and erroneous accounts regarding what happened. LFH staff received many solidarity calls, especially calls from organizations that LFH has supported. People asked Lambi Fund to not be discouraged…to continue the good work it is doing, to continue to support them. The Lambi Fund assures people it is continuing to support their struggle to obtain a better life for people in Haiti.

Letters of Solidarity

By Karen Ashmore, Executive Director

As one of the Lambi Fund of Haiti team that was kidnapped while traveling through Haiti, I want to say that although this was a terrifying incident, it in no way deterred my commitment to the struggle of the people in Haiti. We escaped with our lives when they released us with just the clothes on our backs on a remote rural road. But it was the grassroots people, the honest hard-working peasants of Haiti, who rescued us and delivered us to safety. Once again, the grassroots movement proved its strength in Haiti.

We returned to our homes in the U.S. traumatized, of course, but more committed than ever to the Lambi Fund of Haiti. This is because we were clearly reminded of the huge need that the Lambi Fund is filling. Kidnappings and murders by lawless people are increasing each day as Haiti struggles for democracy. As devastating as our kidnapping was, Haitians live with this fear and violence each and every day. And, unlike us, they cannot board an airplane and leave.

This is why the board members, the other staff, and I, although narrowly escaping death in Haiti, will continue to dedicate ourselves to the Lambi Fund. It is the best way we know to ensure that not one more person in Haiti dies of violence from the anti-democratic forces, of hunger, or of neglect.

We know that you, too, care about the people who are left behind, who have no option but to continue surviving and fighting to turn their country’s fate around. We know that you will share with us our delight in how the peasant-run projects that Lambi Fund supports are continuing to flourish. And we believe that you will keep funding our work, because the Lambi Fund is one of the best ways that you, as one who cares about Haiti, can help.

One of the most heartwarming aspects of this whole incident is the letter of solidarity I received from representatives of 18 peasant organizations in Haiti. I share this letter with you:

De: Organizasyon Rejyon Latibonit
From: Organizations from the Artibonite Region

Pou: Fon Lanbi
To: Lambi Fund

Objè: Lèt de solidarite
Re: Letter of Solidarity

Dat: 15 Avril 2005
Date: April 15, 2005

Zanmi kanmarad nou yo bonjou

Greetings to our comrades and friends,

Kijan nou ye? Eske nou repran moral nou?

How are you? Is your morale better now?

Nou menm òganizasyon patnè ki nan rejyon latibonit lan, nou te chita ansanm pa zòn pou nou te reflechi sou sak pase a. Dapre refleksyon nou yo, se yon aksidan ki rive, tankou sa abitye rive anpil nan manm nou yo sitou ti machann ki vwayaje Pòtoprens yo. Se ka ensekirite Global peyi a. Se vre se yon kou di pou LF pou chofè ki tap kondwi machin nan, lè li pa konnen ki bò yo fè ak kanmarad li yo. Sa yo pral fè ak yo. Se te pi di toujou pou kanmarad yo ki livre nan men kidnapè yo, kap sibi presyon, e yo pa konnen ki sò yo. Se te yon kou di tou, pou rès manm Lanbi yo, ki tap viv moman pak la tap rive. Bon Dye te la. Bagay yo pase jan yo pase a, konpliman pou Bon Dye.

Members of our partner organizations from the Artibonite sat down in our respective areas to reflect about what had happened. Based on our reflection this incident that occurred is what our members experience, especially the little market women who travel to Port-au-Prince. There is a global insecurity problem in Haiti. It is true it was a blow to Lambi Fund, especially to the driver who did not know what had happened to his colleagues and what their fate would be.

It was even harder for those kidnapped that were under pressure not knowing what their fate would be. It was a hard blow also for the other members of Lambi Fund who had to experience this with Easter around the corner. God was a witness and things happened as they did, thanks to God!

Nou menm ki se òganizasyon patnè LF travay nan latibonit lan nou endiye devan aksyon revòltan sa a, kòm pèp ki reve yon chanjman, kòm moun kap batay pou yon lòt sosyete, aksyon sa yo revòlte nou anpil e se konsekans move pratik politik ki trennen peyi a nan lawont ak desepsyon li twouve l la a.

The members of LF partner organizations in the Artibonite are indignant with regard to this revolting action; as people dreaming of change, as people struggling for a different kind of society, actions like this revolt us very much and are the consequence of bad political practices that drag our country down in the shame and deception it finds itself in today.

Zanmi nou yo kouraj, fòk nou kontinye lite pou chanjman reyèl la. Pa dekouraje òganizasyon baz yo makonnen fòs yo ak fòs pa nou pou n rive kwape fòs fè nwa yo bloke wout chanjman an. Kenbe pa lage!

Courage our friends because it is necessary that we continue to struggle for real change!

Do not get discouraged for we of the grassroots organizations join our forces with yours to overcome the forces of darkness that block the road to change. Keep the faith!





Friday, September 02, 2005

Rebuilding After Hurricane Jeanne

Many of you responded to last year’s pleas to help re-build communities destroyed by Hurricane Jeanne. Thanks to your support, thousands of Haitians are on the road to recovery! Here’s how you helped:

Collaborative Rebuilding.

First, the Lambi Fund staff met with the impacted organizations to determine together what was in most need of repair or replacement. Working collectively, peasant groups prioritized what needed to be done.

Jump started the bean planting season.

Several organizations decided to focus their efforts on an Emergency Bean Planting project to jump start the planting season. Beans grow quickly in the area and it was the upcoming season for beans. It was critical that the fields were sowed and planted immediately. The Lambi Fund helped organizations purchase seeds, tools and materials to push the process forward. Eight peasant organizations planted black, red and white beans and got a viable crop started immediately. The organizations successfully harvested and sold the bean crops at the local markets. During a recent meeting with the Lambi Fund staff, the farmers stressed the importance of this effort and gave credit to the Lambi Fund for saving their lives following the hurricane. With your help, hundreds of farmers reclaimed their hope for the future and support for their families.

Provided Working Capital to Market Women. Your support helped the market women from ten peasant organizations purchase anew their market goods lost in the floods. They were quickly able to resume their market activities. These small investments made huge impacts. At an organizational meeting, the women expressed their gratitude, “You helped us get back on our feet.”

Replaced Farm Animals.

Lambi Fund gave seven peasant organizations small grants to buy 50 female goats for those families that lost goats in the floods. Lambi also provided grants to buy two billy goats to improve breeding quality. Lambi Fund staff met with representatives of each of the organizations to strategically plan how to best purchase and distribute goats to the community members without problems. Three committees have formed in each area to supervise the operation.

Repaired Irrigation Canals.

Your support enabled the Lambi Fund to repair irrigation systems for three organizations, permitting groups to continue essential farming activities. One peasant organization encountered difficulties when a large international aid organization began repairing the irrigation canal that Lambi Fund had helped construct without consulting either the local peasant organization or the Lambi Fund. As a result, they began work on the irrigation canal with improper specifications. Community members’ concerns prompted a meeting between the Lambi Fund engineer and the aid a recent meeting with the Lambi Fund staff, the farmers stressed the importance of this effort and gave credit to the Lambi Fund for saving their lives following the hurricane. With your help, hundreds of farmers reclaimed their hope for the future and support for their families. Collaborative meeting Harvesting beans A small market in Haiti organization to develop the proper approach to the canal repairs. Working in tandem with the aid organization, the Lambi Fund staff negotiated an estimate using the proper specifications and work recently began under Lambi Fund supervision to repair the canal in the correct manner. This story makes a great case for the grassroots collaborative approach that the Lambi Fund uses in everything it does Repairs and rebuilding are still underway in ravaged parts of the Artibonite Valley. We will give you progress reports as time goes on.

Thank you Lambi Fund donors for making a difference for the Hurricane Jeanne victims in the Artibonite Valley! Special thanks go to Public Welfare Foundation, Share Our Strength, American Jewish World Service, Christ Church, Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, First Data Western Union, Beyond Borders, Tides Foundation, Share Foundation, St Robert of Newminster Church, and Dougherty Foundation.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Weblog July 2005

By Josette Perard
We are living in an exceptional situation in Haiti, especially in the capital, Port au Prince. Each day, armed gunmen kill in many areas downtown and also at the same time in the residential areas. There are a lot of instances of kidnapping and many scary situations. The international community asks for a resolution or they will leave and not return to the country. Evidently, it seems they will overtake the Government and MINUSTAH. In this deep insecurity, the members of CEP (the committe charged with organizing the election) is talking with something like the Devil to see who will benefit if they put some voter registration stations [in some areas].
N ap viv yom sitiyasyon eksepsyonél nan peyi DíAyiti, prensipalman nan Kapital la Pótoprens. Chak jou, zam ap tire nan anpil katye nan ba lavil lan menm jan ak katye rezidansyél yo. Gen anpil ka kidnaping k ap komét, anpil sitwayen pé. Kominote Enténasyonal la, mande resótisan l yo kite pótoprens osnon pa rantre nan peyi a.... Evénman yo sanble depase Gouvénman ak MINISTHA .... sou fon ensekirite sa a, Manm KEP yo ( biwo ki chaje pou óganize eleksyon ) ap debat tankou Dyab nan benitye pou wé si yo ta mete kanpe kék biwo enskripsyon elekté....
As bad as this situation has been described, the Lambi Fund office in Port au Prince opens their doors each day, the staff and personnel support the office and come to work. The staff has not gone out to the provinces to visit organizations, but through the grace and presence of two Lanbi monitors in the South and Artibonite, they are able to contact members of organizations there and help with problems. In the rural areas, the insecurity is not as bad as in the capital. Tijo and St Cyr continue to visit groups. When it is necessary, delegates from organizations come to Port au Prince for a delivery of equipment and material or Lambi Fund organizes transport for them to get it to their place.
Malgre sitiyasyon nou sót dekri a, Biwo Lanbi Pótoprens louvri pót li chak jou, estaf la ak pésonél soutyen biwo a, ap travay. Estaf la pa rive ale an pwovens pou vizite óganizasyon yo, men, gras ak prezans 2 Monité Lanbi yo nan Depatman Sid ak Latibonit kontak ak manm óganizasyon yo fét san pwoblém.... Nan kominote riral yo ensekirite a poko pran ekstansyon li genyen nan Kapital la. Tijo ak St Cyr kontinye vizite gwoup yo menm jan. Lé gen nesesite, delege óganizasyon yo rantre Pótoprens pou pran livrezon ekipman ak materyél osnon Lanbi óganize transpó pou ekipman yo ale jwenn yo sou plas.

Wednesday and Thursday of this week, Ferry and Paul plan to visit the AGPGM plantain farm and the ODEPRIB tree nursery. But they forgot to cancel their trip, due to an army troop who spread panic in the town. It depends, a visit or a meeting can happen due to the presence of TiDjo in the area.
- Mékredi ak Jedi semen sa a, Ferry ak Paul te pwograme ale vizite plantasyon bannan AGPGM ak pepinyé ODEPERIB. Menm yo te blije anile vwayaj lan, akóz bann ame ki t ap simen panik nan sóti lavil lan..... Sepandan, Vizit/Reyinyon yo ap fét kanmenm gras ak prezans ti Djo nan zón nan.

The staff foresees handling the Corn Mill project for Fanm TK in the northwest in Jan Rabel, all is set for the staff if the condition of insecurity permits.
- Estaf lan prevwa pou lanse pwojé ti-Moulen Manyél FanmTK- Nódwés yo, 28/29/6/05 nan JanRabél... tout dispozisyon pran pou deplasman estaf lan.... si kondisyon ensekirite a pémet sa a.
Meanwhile, the staff is in constant contact with the monitors, in regard to financing and which activities will be done. People come to Port au Prince with reports and withdraw some money for activities.
- Antretan, finansman pwojé ki an aktivite yo ap pouswiv, Estaf lan an kontak konstan ak Monité yo.... moun yo rantre Pótoprens ak rapó epi jwenn dekésman kób ki alwe pou aktivite yo.
Lambi Fund is all finished planning the training for Women’s Environment, Hygiene and Health conference to start on July 31 and finish on August 6 in the South, the only thing which would stop us is if it is impossible to leave Port au Prince for the South.
- Lanbi fini tout planifikasyon pou Fómasyon Fanm ìAnviwónman Ijyén ak Sante Fanmi î k ap fét 31/7 rive 6/8/05 nan Sid.... sél sa ki ka rete n, se si li enposib pou nou kite Vil Pótoprens pou ale nan Depatman Sid lan.
Since the week began, Jean David he cannot come to the office as there are large guns where he is so he can’t report to the office.
Depi semenm Jan David nan kómanse li paka vini nan biwo a...... gen gwo zam k ap tire kote li ye pa rapó ak biwo a.
Truly, we work in conditions that are not easy, but we work to manage the situation. We suggest that the US staff intensify contacts and meetings with donors to explain the situation. The heart of Lambi is to work in the rural communities, not in Port au Prince where it is insecure and unstable. With the monitors in the various areas, the work is advancing contrary to what we had believed.
N ap travay nan kondisyon ki pa fasil se vre, menm n ap travay nou jere sitiyasyon an.
Nou sijere.. Estaf USA ... entansifye kontak ak rankont ak doné yo pou esplike yo...ke Lanbi travay nan kominote riral peyi a, pa Pótoprens kote ensekirite a entenab.....ak prezans Monité yo nan zón yo.... travay lan ap vanse kontréman a sa yo te ka kwé.
Ti Nouvèl
2 Mas 2005, byen bonè nan maten, Estaf Lambi, yon manm Komite Konsèy Lambi ak yon Zanmi Lambi, yon Enstitisyon ki te ede nan pwojè "Ijans Jàn" Lambi a, te ale nan Latibonit pou yon vizit 2 jou.
Early in the morning of March 2, 2005 Lambi Fund staff, one member of the Advisory Board and a friend of Lambi Fund, an institution which had helped with the "Hurricane Jeanne" emergency project, traveled to the Artibonite Valley for a two-day visit.
Premye jou a, delegasyon an, te ale nan Inogirasyon Moulen Kann òganizasyon OPT7M, ki lokalize nan Tach 7tyèm Seksyon komin Moulen.
On the first day, the delegation attended the launching of the OPT7M sugar cane mill, located in Tache, in the commune section of Moulin.
Plis pase 100 moun te reyini nan lokal moulen an, Manm òganizasyon an ak lot moun nan Kominote Tach, pou ansanm yo fete evènman sa a. Se te yon bèl Seremoni, moun yo chante, pale sou travay yo te founi pou mete moulen kann nan kanpe, pale sou nesesite moulen an nan zòn nan, paske prensipal aktivite abitan Tach yo se plante kann ak transfòme kann nan, fè siwo pou ale vann nan mache lokal. OPT7M, pwofite remèsye Fon Lambi ak lòt zanmi nan USA, pou sipò finansye ak ankadreman òganizasyon an jwenn bòkote yo pou yo te reyalize aktivite sa a.
More than 100 people, including members from different organizations and members of the Tache community gathered to celebrate this event. It was a beautiful ceremony — people sang, talked about the labor involved in installing the mill, mentioned the important role the mill is playing in the area, because the main activity of the peasants in the area is to plant sugar cane which is later turned into syrup for sale on the local market. OPT7M took the opportunity to thank Lambi and other friends in the USA for their financial support and technical assistance without which this activity could not have been carried out.
Man kominote Tach ki te la jou sa a, bat yon gwo bravo pou inisyativ OPT7M ki pèmèt yo jwenn yon Moulen Kann ak Motè, 3 Chodyè pou kwit Siwo mache, yon Bak pou kwit siwo endistriyèl pou fè kleren. Moun yo di aktivite sa ap fè lespwa refleri nan Zòn nan. Members of the Tache community who attended applauded OPT7M's initiative which brought them the sugar cane mill, 3 cauldrons to make syrup and the equipment for making clairin. They stated that this activity is bringing back hope in the area.
Inogirasyon a te dewoule byen, sa ki te pi orijinal nan pwogram lan, se koutim zòn nan, pou òganize "Batèm Senbolik" moulen an. Manm ak Envite yo konstitye tèt yo kòm Parenn ak Marenn ekipman yo; 2za2, yon Fanm ak yon Gason ak yon bouke fèy, beni moulen ak motè an epi fè yon ofrann ( ba tikòb - 0.50cts ,1gd...) Yon jès yo di k ap pòte chans pou aktivite moulen an rantre bon jan lajan pou òganizasyon an.
Everything went very well with the "symbolic baptism" of the mill being carried out, a custom proper to the area. Members and guests were de facto godfathers and godmothers for the equipment. Couples carrying a bouquet of leaves blessed the mill and made a small financial donation (1 gourde) in the hopes that this gesture will bring luck and generate lots of money for the organization.
Apre anpil Diskou, Remèsiman, Batèm enstalassyon yo, Kòdonatris OPT7M lan, mande Lambi di 2 mo, Estaf ak Manm Konsèy Lambi yo pale yon apre lòt, mande manm òganizasyon yo kontinye fè bon travay, kondwi aktivite a byen nan benefis tout manm yo ak kominote Tach lan. Apre, òganizasyon an mande tout moun pase nan lakou, kote yon bifè cho t ap tann yo. Envite yo pa t manke goute bon pla òganizasyon an te prepare, kabrit, salad,diri ak pwa.
Following many speeches, baptism of the equipment, OPT7M's Coordinator asked Lambi Fund to say a few words. Lambi staff and the member of the Advisory Board took turns to speak, encouraging organization members to continue the good work for the benefit of all members of the community of Tache. After the speeches, the guests were treated to a hot buffet of delicious meals prepared by members of the organization - goat meat, salad, rice and beans.
Delegasyon Lambi a dòmi nan Gwomòn.
The delegation spent the night in Gros Morne.
Landemen nan maten, Lambi te rankontre nan Lokal APS, nan Sèl -Gwomòn ak gwoup Plantè ki te patisipe nan Pwogran "Ijans Pwa" Lambi te mete sou pye nan Mwa Desanm 2004. 7 òganizasyon te resevwa yo chak 100,000.00 gd.
The following morning in the APS office, Lambi met with the farmers who had participated in the "Bean Urgency" program that Lambi had implemented in December 2004. Seven organizations had received 100,000 gdes each.
Jou 3 Mas 2005 lan te gen 5 òganizasyon ki te reprezante, APS - OPHAT - OPB - ODEPERIB - OPG, AFKB ak APCE lokalize two lwen pou yo te patisipe nan rankont lan). Te gen plis pase 60 Plantè ki te reponn prezan.
On March 3, five organizations, APS, OPHAT, OPB, ODEPERIB, OPG, were represented. AFKB and APCE could not participate in the meeting because of the remote distance. More than 60 planters attended the meeting.
Plantè yo pale sou jan aktivite plante Pwa a te dewoule epi yo di ak pwogram sa a, Lambi sove lavi yo, paske apre Siklòn Jàn, yo pa konnen ki jan yo te ka pwofite sezon pwa a.
The farmers described the activities and stressed how Lambi had saved their lives because prospects were very dim after Hurricane Jeanne.
Plantè yo pwofite remèsye reprezantan ki te apuiye pwojè Lambi a epi felisite l akòz li fè deplasman pou rankontre ak yo. Christy, pran lapawòl pou di kontantman l pou la jodi a.
The farmers took the opportunity to thank the representative for their support of the project and for making a trip to meet them.
Ekip Fon Lambi a pwofite rankont ak Plantè yo pou motive yo sou kesyon anviwònman nan peyi Dayiti, nesesite pou chak grenn moun fè yon jefò pou amelyore anviwònman kote l ap viv la. Lambi mande chak manm yon òganizasyon plante yon peye bwa nan lakou lakay li osnon nan jaden l.
The Lambi Fund team used the meeting to visit Haiti's environment problems with the farmers, to motivate them on the need for each individual to work towards improving the environment in their areas. Lambi Fund asked each member of an organization to plant a tree in their yard or in their garden.
Avan Lambi kite Latibonit pou tounen Pòtoprens, pandan ekip lan te Gwomòn, li pwofite ale nan Pepinyè Bannann AGPGM lan, pou wè ki jan aktivite a ap mache. AGPGM deja resevwa resevwa preske tout plan bannann yo (35836 plan). Nou remake distribisyon plan pou Plantè yo pran tan pou fèt; anpil nan plan yo toujou nan Pepinyè a, nou pale ak teknisyen ki sou pwojè a pou distribisyon an akselere.
Prior to returning to Port-au-Prince and while in Gros Morne, the team made an evaluation visit to AGPGM's banana nursery. AGPGM has already received all the banana trees (35,836 total). We noticed that distribution is progressing at a slow pace; many of the trees are still in the nursery. We asked the technician in charge to speed up the distribution.
By Ferry Pierre-Charles
October 12, 2004 - Lambi Fund field staff went to the Artibonite Valley on Oct. 1 to evaluate the damage done by Hurricane Jeanne, particularly in the areas where Lambi is supporting grassroots organizations. We reached Gonaives with great difficulty around noon. The standing water on the Savan Dezole (the savanna immediately southeast of Gonaives) had not gone down and the odor by then was very rank. We could barely see the hoods of cars sitting in some places in the water. It still takes people around 25 minutes to drive through this water.
There were 24 people at the meeting with representatives from nine peasant organizations. It was not at all easy getting to Twou Sab where the meeting was held. The area is a poor neighborhood with no drainage system and was covered in mud.
It was very sad to see people still living in the mud. They weren’t yet able to remove all of it from their houses. In many places, people continue to sleep on their roofs.
When we reached the meeting place (a small school), it caused us great sorrow to see all the school materials ruined, benches broken, nothing left inside. We were able to reach the school thanks to a small path they created especially for us.
The organizational representatives took turns explaining how this was the first time in their lives they had seen this kind of disaster. In all of the komins represented, Hurricane Jeanne did severe damage.
The roads are completely destroyed in many places. To have access to this area we calculate that more than 50 kilometers of roads would have to be repaired, by putting in drains, filling up holes, clearing away debris etc. For example, the road into Geren (12 km) is completely destroyed.
The representatives present at the meeting said they lost many people too, but especially their relatives who were in Gonaives at the time Jeanne went through. In Tach, OPT7M counted 35 people from the area who died. OPG lost three members and ODEPERIB lost eight from its membership. From the Enry area, the SOFA members lost 22 relatives and friends, not counting those for whom they are still searching and haven’t yet found. APCE lost 12 people in the area.
As for destruction of houses, the members said they couldn’t give a good estimate. Many houses were destroyed. In some areas people lost all their possessions. The organizations suffered the greatest material losses in their farmlands and farm animals. The representatives said that in each area, some 150 to 200 people at a minimum lost their crops. In Geren for example, the members estimated that the crops on more than 50 kawo of land were lost. In one area alone, they counted more than 10 kawo of land planted in sugar cane that was totally destroyed.
The water carried farm animals away, according to the members of the organizations. They had more than 2,000 animals (cows, pigs, goats, donkeys, horses etc.) that were swept away. The big worry members have concerning their farmland is how they will re-plant, because much of the land is completely changed, covered with large gullies filled with rocks.
Following are damage summaries from some of the affected projects:
APMR: The capping of the spring is demolished. Sand has washed into more then 500 meters of the canal. The bottom of the canal has been eroded and more than 100 meters of the canal are destroyed.
AGPGM: 1650 plants in total have been lost. An additional 545 which were just planted were covered in water. We don’t know if they will survive. All of the irrigation canals in the organization’s fields have sand in them. They need to be re-built. The wells need a lot of work too because two of them are filled with sand.
ODEPERIB: In the nursery, where the water created the most devastation, the members think they may have lost 6500 plants. One thousand of those were for a model agro-forestry garden they created for the project.
OPG: The mill in Geren sustained a lot of damage. The roof of the mill depot is nearly off. The chimney is also damaged.
APCE: The spice field, which was well protected, did not sustain major damage. However all the fields belonging to individual members suffered great damage. In a meeting held in the area, they counted 888 fields that were lost, most of which belonged to members of the organizations. According to the members, they won’t be able to repay their loans.
In all the mill projects, members lost merchandise they were storing in the depots. Market women who had purchased merchandise on credit, now have no money to pay it back because the goods they stored in depots were swept away in the water.
At the same time, there are projects in the area that weren’t too affected, such as OPB and OPT7M. However the general damage done by Hurricane Jeanne will have a major impact on the way the projects function. For example, in all places where agricultural production has been wiped out, the mills will face problems functioning and the processing of products in some zones will be very difficult because the roads are destroyed, etc.
All the organizational representatives present at the meeting believe that the actions that should be taken quickly are:
Repairing the roads, that is, accessing a large amount of tools (wheelbarrows, shovels, hoes, etc.) and money to organize the work
Providing direct help to the projects with large amounts of damage
Helping the organizations remove the debris from their fields so they can begin to replant for the next bean season, which begins in October
Accessing a credit fund for all the women who are victims of Hurricane Jeanne’s damage (all of the organizations insisted on this)
Accessing an agricultural credit fund for the farmers for the upcoming bean season

The representatives of the organizations were very pleased with the meeting. It’s true, they need help, but they said they also need people to come speak with them, to raise their spirits and to see what they most need during this time. They know that Lambi will never abandon them and will help them to start their projects over again one way or another.
We ate with them. We brought the food from Port au Prince for this meal. We gave them money for their round-trip expenses as well.
This report is an initial summary. We will continue to work to create one large budget of needs to rebuild after the storm. Money raised for Lambi Fund's "After the Storm" Emergency Fund will help re-build these community projects so that families can start earning an income again and become self-sustainable. To donate to the "After the Storm" Emergency Fund, click here.
September 23, 2004
The Situation in the Artibonite
Yesterday afternoon, TiDjo finally called the Lambi office in Port au Prince. We hadn't had any news for him for four days.
He told us that for the last four days he, his family and his neighbors were living on the roof of his house. They lost everything they possessed. They're all alive, but don't have food or potable water to drink. He called us on a portable phone he'd borrowed.
As for Ferry, he hasn't heard anything from his family in Gonaives (his father, his brother and other close relatives). TiDjo promised to try to find out news from them, if possible.
At the office, we feel frustrated. We would love to help then, but we don't know how. The route to Gonaives is still impassible.
This morning we heard a Gonaives city official talk about what he had seen. It was enough to make a person cry. He said there were dead bodies everywhere, and the stench was unbearable. There is no electricity, so the hospital morgue is not functioning. Even if it were functioning, the body count is already in the thousands. The hospital could not deal with this situation.
He said that there were several outlying districts that had practically disappeared. For example in Passe-Reine, not a single house remains standing. He didn't know how many people were washed away by the water. The official figure of 700 being announced should be multiplied by 4 or 5. He finished by saying, "Help, help."
As you know, most of the projects Lambi supports are in the Artibonite. We have no news from our partners there. We don't know what their situation is, or the situation of the projects. We hear on the radio that Gwomon and Krepen, places where we have projects, are under water. It is a catastrophe.
When we are able to go to the Artibonite, perhaps at the end of this week or the beginning of the next, we will have more news. We are sad, cut to the quick. We feel powerless.
Much of the devastation of the flooding is due to the soil erosion and deforestation that has occurred in the area. When heavy rains fall, there is nothing to stop the torrents and the waters sweep away anyone in its path. All the more reason to support Lambi's projects for sustainable agriculture and reforestation!
In response to this crisis, Lambi is starting an emergency fund to help the projects get back on their feet. The Lambi Fund of Haiti, dedicated to supporting democracy and rural development in Haiti since 1993, has launched an emergency relief fund to help get their self-sustaining development projects back up and running in Northern Haiti and the Artibonite Valley. Donations can be made by mail to:
The Lambi Fund
PO Box 18955
Washington, D.C., 20036.
Or you can donate online
Please respond now with a donation to the Lambi Fund of Haiti.
September 20, 2004
All the rivers in the North, Northwest and Artibonite Valley have flooded as a result of the rains and winds from Hurricane Jeanne. Tidjo, our field monitor in the Artibonite Valley, had to flee because waters flooded to the top of his house. He sought refuge with family members and we have not heard from him since. The TV and radio says Gonaives is 1 1/2 meters underwater, the rivers have flooded peasant farms, people have lost animals and belongings. There are several strong Lambi projects in the Gwomon area:
organic plantain farm
ODEPERIB environment project
APS and OPHAT mill projects
BIGE farm project

We do not know how the people are doing. We are trying to see if we can reach Tidjo or someone in charge from the projects. We will let you know when we have more news.
Please donate to help families and projects who suffered losses and damage from the floods.
Karen Ashmore
August 2004
In June, the main activity that the Lambi Fund focused on was the Environmental Training Conference that Lambi organized for women's groups in the South, in Laskawobas and in Port au Prince.
This conference expanded their knowledge of environmental issues and how to protect the environment in their local areas, as well as their knowledge of energy in general and solar energy in particular, and how to use it. The women built their own solar ovens and practiced cooking food in the ovens.
Each group at the conference returned home with a solar oven they had made and with tools and materials to construct another oven with the rest of the members of the organization.
During the month of July, the Lambi staff scheduled many investigative visits to new groups and projects, and also follow-up visits to current projects. Here is some news from APCE's community farmland project, OPT7M's sugar cane mill project, and AGPGM's organic banana/plantain project.
APCE/ Community Farmland
APCE's chive, scallion and thyme fields are in good shape, but the organization continues to have problems with planting the peppers. The pepper plants aren't producing. Agronomist Paul, who made the follow-up visit, took the opportunity to give the APCE farmers good advice on this.
OPT7M/ Sugar cane mill
The construction of the workshop for the mill continues and is almost finished. The organization has already bought three large kettles to use for boiling the cane juice that is being processed into cane syrup. The organization has contributed considerably to the construction process; members hauled rocks, sand and water, dug holes and cooked food for the work crew.
AGPGM/ Organic plantain/banana production
This project definitely is running behind schedule.
The political events that occurred in Haiti in February and March of this year hit the Bio-Rekot laboratory very hard. This laboratory is providing the banana seedlings to the organization. In July, the Lambi staff held many meetings with Bio-Rekot and set up a revised delivery schedule for the seedlings. Three deliveries have already been made. AGPGM has already received 6000 seedlings which they have planted in the organization's fields.
The AGPGM farmers were somewhat discouraged by this delay. The Lambi staff organized a big meeting with them to explain the delay and how we were trying to deal with it, and to discuss the future of the project.
As for general news from the country, the CCI (Cadre de Cooperation Interimaire) dominated the news in July. The provisional government prepared the CCI to present to the international community in Washington, DC. This document was prepared "in secret," if we can say it that way. Not all the sectors of society were aware of what was really written in it. Only when the document was finished and sent did the government speak about it, but always with a certain sector.
Several human rights organizations and institutions working with peasants organized many meetings in July to analyze the document. (Although this document had already been presented in Washington and approved.) People in the agricultural production sector remarked that this document did not recognize the peasant sector's true place in society since the document did not ascribe the country's agricultural production its full importance.
Another point that is being widely discussed in the country is the contention which exists among the members of the KEP (the Provisionary Electoral Council). The nine members of the council cannot collaborate. There's tremendous division.
In the midst of all the insecurity, the organizations and Lambi continue to work the best way we know. We continue our mission and objective of helping the poor majority and the peasants improve their lot.
We sent via the post a letter that APS sent to Lambi after receiving the emergency support that Lambi gave to the organization, as it had undergone a great deal of damage during recent events, particularly the flooding in May. This letter gives strong witness to the importance of Lambi's work in supporting the organizations.
Here is an excerpt from the letter:
"Nan Manman nou jwenn son M
Nan Espwa nou jwenn son E
Nan Sense nou jwenn son S
Nan inyon nou jwenn son I
In manman (mother) we find the letter M
In espwa (hope) we find the letter E
In inyon (union) we find the letter I
That is, for us in APS, the Lambi Fund is a sincere mother who brings hope to all people who unite together to advance development in their community.
This is the word that the APS market women use to tell all the Lambi Fund staff thank you for the recapitalization that Lambi provided them.
Thank you, thank you, thank you!
For the APS leadership,
Emrio Etienne
Lucie Saintilien"
That's all for now!
-Josette Perard
June 7-11, 2004
This week, the flood continues to be a topic of discussion, overflowing waters are still making news. Electrical service is improving. In the city of Port au Prince, there are 18 hours of electricity. We hope this progress lasts.
During this week, we are preparing for a big meeting that we are organizing on June 18 for 4 groups in the Central Plateau that receive assistance from Lambi. At the same time, we are preparing once again the training about the environment for women's organizations in the South. This training is conducted during a week in Camp Perrin June 21-27, 2004 (we previously canceled that seminar two times before because of the insecure situation at the end of 2003 and too much rainfall in the South in Feb 2004).
AGPGM organic plantain project is continuing in spite of delays with little problems we find. Today Friday June 11, we organize transportation to send two water pumps to Gros Morne, which will improve the organizations' harvest by irrigating their crops, 1800 organic plantain seedlings we gave that organization.
This week we receive visits from several new organizations that are requesting assistance. Many other organizations that previously received assistance from Lambi come to the office to meet with us about damages they experienced after the floods.
Thursday June 10 was a holiday — it was "Spirits Festival". Unibank and Nouvelliste (this is a newspaper) organized a book festival which is getting very popular, it was held at a club called "Cercle Bellevue". Despite the Spirits Festival holiday, Paul and Ferry on Wednesday went to the Artibonite Valley to investigate a new project. They will return tonight."
June 4, 2004
The big news story in Haiti as well as overseas is the flooding in Fon Vèrèt, the Southeast and the South. Each day the number of people who have died and the number of people who have disappeared grows. What a terrible thing!
However, if everyone focuses on those regions, they will forget other areas that, even if not flooded, did experience a tremendous amount of rainfall and continue to get heavy rains which are causing considerable damage.
For example, the projects that the Lambi Fund is supporting did not suffer from flooding but the members of the organizations are facing problems. Due to the rains, the local roads are not easily passable, making it difficult for peasants to come to the mills to process their grain or go to the market to sell. Many peasants who hadn’t harvested their crops lost them. Many people’s farm animals drowned, etc.
This week, we met with many groups in the Lambi office who told us about how very difficult their situations are. People are facing a lot of difficulties and are very worried.
Along with the situation with the heavy rains, we also received a visit from the SOFA group of Mapou Rollin, a women’s organization. The members of this organization are in trouble. There was a big fire in Bwa Blan, an area behind the organization’s mill where many members live. These women lost their houses and all their possessions. They need help urgently.
These news reports are not happy; this is not a good year. Lambi needs to place a priority on humanitarian aid not only for members of the grassroots organizations but also for other people in the communities.