Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Notes from an Intern

By: Anya Cherneff

As an outreach coordinator for The Lambi Fund of Haiti, I was offered the amazing opportunity to travel with the fall delegation in late November to Haiti to visit some of the peasant organizations whose projects are supported by The Lambi Fund. We visited four organizations located in the southern region of Haiti: ODTPG- Rice Mill Project, ADZK- Pig Husbandry and Reforestation Projects, SASH- Bee Keeping Project, and TKL- Ox Plow Project.

All the community organizations that we visited had been affected by the recent, devastating hurricanes and all were struggling to continue their programs, in spite of the destruction they sustained from the flooding. Despite the recent set back, all the members of the organizations we talked to were overwhelmingly hopeful and positive about what the future would bring with the continuing growth of their organizations and their programs. Everyone we met was so grateful for the small contribution Lambi Fund had made (buying Apiary boxes, two ox plows, two oxen, a rice mill, etc..) With the starting platform Lambi Fund had provided for them, they were all able to successfully implement programs that expanded from simply plowing fields or raising pigs, to using the funds raised form their efforts to start micro-credit funds for organization members, mostly women, to start small businesses and participate in the marketplace economy.

Personally, I had previously regarded myself of a somewhat worldly traveler and was confident I understood concepts such as poverty and degradation and the extent to which they can permeate different societies, but it wasn't until I came to Haiti that I understood the extent that this could really happen. The Haitian people are trying to create a democratic society out of less than nothing and have been constantly beaten down by different ruling dictatorships, military regimes, foreign governments and false democratic leaders. They are on their own, with no support form the government and yet they have never lost their determination to pull themselves out of destitute poverty by coming together as communities and pooling their resources to create lasting change throughout the country. This is what I saw in the eyes of the people I met on my trip to Haiti. The indistinguishable drive to be successful, send their children to school, re-forest their bare lands and create lasting, sustainable change.

I am forever grateful to have gone on this trip and will always remember the people I met there. It has renewed my passion to work in the fields of sustainable development and human rights to see people with much less resources available to them than most, making the most of what they have and never giving up.