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.

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