This is a friend from the Crescent City, who is currently living in California. See her ask for this excellent work which is about to start:
Recently, I read a short article in National Geographic about Haiti that stuck with me, and that has lead me to write this letter to you. The article was called, "Dirt Poor" and spoke of the heavy deforestation and erosion that has left the impoverished island nation without a way to feed its people. A modern staple in the typical Haitian diet consists of a cake made from clay, salt and shortening. The 2008 hurricane season left an already infrastructure-poor country utterly devastated; footage from Haiti in September left me speechless, unsettled, angry.
I am writing to ask for your help. I will be traveling to Haiti for eleven days in January 2009. I will be working as a volunteer with the organization S.O.I.L. (Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihoods). SOIL is a non-profit run entirely by volunteers dedicated to protecting soil resources, empowering communities and transforming waste into resources in Haiti. SOIL was co-founded by Sasha Kramer, ecologist and human rights advocate. Sasha received her Ph.D. in Ecology from Stanford University and is currently an adjunct professor at the University of Miami, though she spends most of her time in Haiti.
I will be traveling with a group of students from the University of Miami while in Haiti. The trip's focus is Sustainability Science and we will work on a number of projects including the construction of an ecological sanitation system. We will visit the rural town of Minot, Shada, an overcrowded slum in the city of Cap-Haitien and the Village of Labadi, where Royal Caribbean Cruiselines has a private beach but the people live, out of the view of tourists, in abject poverty.
Because of my particular skills and interests, Sasha has asked me to help with an urban tomato cultivation project in Shada and to work with individual families to construct household gardens. I am passionate about gardening and have been gardening for more than 12 years. To be able to use my knowledge to help families gain some small bit of independence through local food production is extraordinary and I am thankful that I have the skills and experience to do so.
I am paying for all of my own expenses relating to traveling to, from and within Haiti, with the generous support of my husband, Michael, and my family. However, SOIL operates entirely from individual donations and the organization's needs are many. I am hoping to raise $2,500 for materials for the urban tomato and household garden projects. I leave for Haiti on January 5th- less than a month away. A donation to S.O.I.L. in support of these projects would be appreciated more than words can express. Would you please consider making a gift of $50 to $100, if that is within your budget, or any amount that you are able to contribute? 80% of Haitians live on less than $1 a day.
Below are links to information about Haiti, SOIL and the University of Miami's Sustainable Science in Haiti Program.
Donations should be sent to me at the address below, but, please, make your check payable to SOIL.
1360 17th Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94122
I thank you and wish you and yours a peaceful and joyous holiday season!
True joy comes from knowing what you are doing, why you are doing it, and doing it wholeheartedly. -Sakyong Mipham
Inside a Failed State - Haiti, 23 minute video:
Short National Geographic article:
U. of Miami, Sustainable Science in Haiti Program:
Haiti Food Crisis, 8 minute video:
Strange Things, 3 minute video: