Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The first ecotour of Lafiteau

Yesterday my host Rhoda arranged for us to teach ecology and birds to a women’s program she worked with when she worked at Samaritan’s Purse, with the idea that maybe some would want to start an ecotour business.  The program is held in Lafiteau in a church overlooking a bay, across the water you can see Port au Prince.  We started with asking what birds the women like.  They listed the birds that they like to eat!  Chickens, turkeys, guinea fowl, even wosiyol – mockingbirds.  We discussed that birds eat fruit and spread seeds and pollinate flowers.  Then I told them how some foreigners like to travel and see birds, and asked how can we help them see the birds.  Their suggestions were to cage the birds, or get kids to catch them.  So we talked about ecotourism and the bird guide I trained in the central plateau.

That afternoon we took the 5 most interested women on a teaching ecotour along the bay.  Our lessons were how to hold and focus the binoculars, how to quickly find objects near and far (practicing on objects in the water), how to care for the binoculars, and what parts on the bird to quickly look at for identification (beaks and legs).  The path down to the water led through a village perched along the hill, the women enjoyed showing us everything, the dogs, guinea fowl, even the country people (moun peyi, not sure if they were being sarcastic or funny).  After a night at Sam’s Purse, the next morning we met them at 7am for a real tour when the birds were more active along the mangroves.  Here are pictures from the excursion.  The boats belong to fishermen who fish at night and live on the boats.  The big white building is a flour mill.  The house is someone’s beach house.

The church in Lafiteau
Mangroves, with Port au Prince across the bay.
Ecology class
The flour mill and boats along the shore.

Someone's beach house

The tour guides

Kids with mangroves in the background.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Christian Veterinary Mission

Here are some pictures from my first day at Christian Veterinary Mission in Croix des Bouquets Haiti (if they upload before dinner is ready).  I’m staying with my agricultural conference coordinator friend Rhoda who lives there.  There is a vet clinic staffed by Haitian vets, plus rooms for visiting vets and the Humane Society.  I have my own bathroom!  And there’s internet!  Tomorrow we head to Lafiteau to talk to a Samaritan’s Purse women's group about birding and ecotourism.  And I met my friend Dezo's 2 sisters and passed along a gift from her to them.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Pwotege zwazo Ayiti yo buttons!

For my upcoming trip to Haiti I made save the birds buttons. Buttons for kids, buttons for adults. And I discovered that most images on Wikipedia are public domain, so it was easy to go the birds of Haiti list and click on a bird and viola – get an image of it. And there’s lots of free clip art on-line. The Graphics Fairy has lots of nice images that I used to make pretty buttons to give to women, including these birds with a nest. And Vintage Moth had this wood duck.

The buttons say “Pwotege zwazo Ayiti yo, Pa detwi nich yo!” (or detri nich yo). Protect Haiti’s birds, don’t destroy their nests. The kids like to crush bird nests, so my goal is to teach them why birds are important and save birds in the process.
I made the below templates in power point for 2.25 inch buttons. Email me and I’ll send it to you. Also, the cost of these buttons adds up, so if you'd like to make a donation for supplies let me know. Or perhaps I can rent my button maker to you. This is its website.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

More Haitian art and jewelry

Ironically, even though I donated ALL of my unpainted, stippled METAL artwork to a fundraiser at my church, and she did not know that, my friend Colleen sent me a Haitian metal bird for my birthday! It's from the Kado gift shop that sells Haitian art on line. And they even threw in a pair of earrings!

Photos are from the Kado website.