One work site I got to work on was school 9, where I got to observe while they finished rendering, then went in the next day with Abby and a small group, and we did a deep clean of the school so we could start painting the following work day. Getting to this site requires a little bit further of a drive than most other work sites, which allows for a nice view of fields and mountains. Although it was nice to get out of Leogane and enjoy a longer-than-usual drive every morning through some rural country side, the view of the mountains always made me sad.
I can’t remember where I read it, but I do remember reading that back in the day Haiti was one of the richest countries in the Caribbean, as far as natural resources and what not. If you can believe it, Haiti was actually called “the Pearl of the Caribbean.” It was difficult to keep that in mind when I looked at the bare and brown mountains on our way to and from the school or beach. How did they get so bare and brown? I’m sure there are many reasons, but a big one is the reliance on charcoal as the main fuel source in Haiti. I could go on at this point…but realized I started with a description of this as a “short” story…so I won’t digress…
But I will share the following video from a former All Hands volunteer that might give a little hope: