It was another great day in Haiti! The weather is beautiful and lots of awesome things are happening. Believe it or not, plans changed again today. After a delicious pancake breakfast we headed back to the cafeteria for a question and answer session with farmers at the Haitian Ag Summit. There is a lot of issues with diseases attacking a variety of crops. There was also a tense moment with concern for goats on the loose ravaging crops. Following the Q and A session we had several presentations from students on banana, cassava, and coffee. They covered everything from planting to crop protection to value added practices. Below is a group of students discussing cassava production.
We returned to the dorm for lunch when we heard screams from the girls room. There was a gecko on the loose in the girls room. Some of the girls even found the top bunks without using the ladders. The guys proceeded to try and catch the gecko. Fun fact for the day: Gecko's shed their tail as a defense mechanism and it still has nerve endings. (Wait until I can upload the video!) Our translators stepped in and caught the gecko and removed it from the girls room.
For the afternoon portion of the summit the attendees traveled to the irrigation gardens to see the students work. Due to the large number of attendees we stayed back on campus as they shuttled farmers to the garden in smaller groups to protect the gardens from damage from a large crowd. We will travel to the irrigation gardens tomorrow morning with the students to collect soil samples.
Since we stayed back we took the opportunity to work on our logistics lesson. We assisted Kristie by putting together Christmas gifts for children in the area that have been sent down. When we had the presents put together we took a short walk and purchased two bags of rice and one bag of beans. We then packaged the rice and beans in smaller portions that we will be able to deliver to area families later in the week.
We had several dinner guests tonight! Agriculture students that are supported by individuals and organizations from around the Cedar Valley joined us. After dinner we played games and taught the Haitian students how to play the card game Spoons.
We are now sitting outside reviewing notes from the Haitian Ag Summit. As we reflect on the summit it has been truly inspiring. Farmer after farmer thanked UCCC, the students, and the Global Agriculture Learning Center at Hawkeye Community College for the work that is being done. JeanJean shared that he has received multiple calls today from summit participants that were amazed by all that is being done and look forward to continued partnership to improve agriculture in the area!