Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Big Day

We rise, before the sun, ready to get to work.  Walking out to the facility site, we come across three men working on the road.  Two volunteers stay behind with a shovel and a pick to make sure that the large truck can make it through the road out of the river.  The two remaining volunteers continue to walk.
7:15AM - We arrive at the hen site.  Greet the guardian, wash boots, fill water barrels, and wait for the hens arrival.
9:00AM - The estimated arrival time of the hens from Port-au-Prince.  There is no sign of birds and no word from the driver.  Guy Marie makes some calls through Gonaives to find a phone number for the driver.
11:15AM - We make contact with the truck driver.  They are not yet to Gonaives.  Kelly, Eleni, and Gina walk to the house.  The rest of us wait.
11:45AM - Haiti Broilers veternarian of Gonaives arrives in Gros-Morne.  He inspects the house for the arrival of the hens and approves that everything is ready. 
1:20PM - Kelly, Eleni,and Gina return with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, ice water, and a piece of chocolate for Christie.  Christie eats her lunch in the street where she met the three ladies along their walk.
1:32PM - A large truck enters into the yard of the hen facility.  The doors are opened.  Guardian and manager of the hen facility wash their feet and walk inside.  Crates are unloaded from the back of the truck and brought into the house - 12 birds in each crate.  The crate latches are unlocked and birds fly overhead.  Birds perch on the houses, poop on the water troughs, run out the doors.  Just another Haitian kind of day...  The birds are counted as they come out of the crates and the empty crates are counted for verification that all hens are present.  1426 hens are unloaded from the truck and let loose in the house.  One lays still.  Two cartons are overflowing with eggs that are found in the crates.  It's starting to be a good day.
3:15PM - Volunteers and the sisters pile in the land rover to head back to the house and take showers.  Feathers in hair, droppings on feet, and smiles on faces.  The team relaxes and awaits tomorrow when 75 hens will be delivered once more and the sales can begin!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Ala Bel, Sa Bel

"Ala bel, sa bel" (This is truly beautiful), these were the words of Mayor Beauger of Gros-Morne during the benediction of the Poulaye this past Friday. The mayor was joined by Caritas Gros-Morne and members of the community to celebrate the benediction of the newly constructed hen facility on the outskirts of town.

The ceremony started with a reading and blessing from Fr. Claude of the local parish. This was followed by remarks from the director of Caritas, Gros Morne, the mayor of the town, and Guy-Marie, the Agronomist for local Caritas projects, and visionary of this project. The speakers took advantage of the opportunity to encourage the community to protect the hen facility and to make it their own. They were reminded of the benefits from local egg production including the boost to the economy and the availability of local nutrition. All parties stressed the importance of working together and supporting the effort. The mayor in particular showed tremendous energy when expressing his happiness in hope for the community and for the growth of Gros-Morne.

After remarks were made, a red ribbon was cut by Hens for Haiti President, Christina Newman, along with Mayor Beauger, Guy Marie Garcon, and Fr. Claude. As a well deserved finale, a bottle of champagne was popped open and shared with all in attendence. The ceremony was broadcast live over three local radio stations to spread the word of the Poulaye and to encourage residents of Gros-Morne to buy eggs locally.

Last minute preparations are in full swing as the team prepares for the arrival of the 1500 hens on Tuesday morning, March 27th. All are praying that the heavy rains hold off until the trucks have crossed the river to deliver the load. The team looks forward to a successful launch to the Poulaye project.