Monday, July 30, 2012

Gift shops in Haiti

Here’s a smattering of photos from the gift shops I’ve visited in Haiti, all were at a guest house or missions compound I stayed in: United Christians International in Caiman (can't find those pictures now), Haitian American Friendship Foundation 1 mile away in Bohoc, and the Matthew 25 House gift shop in Port au Prince.  The UCI shop served as my bedroom after the earthquake.  The Matt 25 shop is the most extensive and has some items of higher quality.  There’s also a lot of artists selling from the street – just be quick about what you want because you have to pull over in traffic!  And the National Agriculture fair on May 1 had lots of art.

HAFF's Zondolit giftshop

HAFF's Zondolit giftshop

HAFF's Zondolit giftshop
HAFF's Zondolit giftshop
In Petionville
At the fair on National Ag Day

Outside Kinam Hotel in Petionville

Outside Kinam Hotel in Petionville
Matt 25 House

Matt 25 House

Stone carvings at Matt 25 House

Toy taptap at Matt 25 House

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Ecotour of HAFF (a syzygy*)

My American agronomist friend Rhoda and my Haitian bird guide friend Louiders finally got to meet!  Rhoda came up to spend the week with my team at HAFF (where she was a former intern) and we went on a bird hike with Louiders, who I met in 2009 and trained to be a birding guide.  Rhoda gave the two of us and Kristin a tour of the trails in the 40-acre HAFF compound in Bohoc while Louiders pointed out the birds, a black tarantula in a dark tree hole, and even a skinny green snake in a tree.  As a bonus, Louiders taught Rhoda some of the plants she wasn’t familiar with (including the banza, a vine with an edible root).  We saw a termite mound and all the trails it made in the tree, a cricket that blended in perfectly with tree bark, and a walking stick (known as a devil’s horse in Creole).  Louiders filled us in on the misbelief about cicadas (lasigol in Creole).  Louiders told us the cicadas grow bigger and bigger until they finally explode and die!  I figured out he was seeing the split skin left behind when the cicada molts from a pupa to an adult. 

Rhoda & Louiders
 *Syzygy - a straight line configuration of three celestial bodies.  Also the book by Frederik Pohl that I read on this trip, losing it twice – once for 2 days in my bed, and once at the Miami airport with my boarding pass in it (quickly retrieved from the snack counter where I left it).
banza vine

eating starfruit

Rhoda and me in front of a termite mound

Dark termite trails along branches of a flamboyant tree

Monday, July 16, 2012

Ecology classes at HAFF

Last week I taught ecology to 7th graders who attend the HAFF IBP school in Bohoc Haiti.  Friday’s class had 17 kids and Saturday had 8, aged 13 to 22 years old, chosen by their teachers to attend.  We talked about the importance of birds and bats, and I introduced two topics new for me to teach – native animals and littering.  We used posters provided by the Haiti Audubon society (thanks Keith!) to discuss animals that are native to the country – the ones that were here before Christopher Columbus.  One poster had a mix of exotic (lion, zebra), domestic (horse, cow), and endemic (solenodon, flamingo) animals.  We finished with a discussion of littering and being a good neighbor, and then had a campus cleanup contest – whoever picked up the most trash won a prize.  In the Friday class was an outstanding student named Donald who really took an interest in all the props I had.  I had wanted to give him a bird book and binoculars but couldn’t single him out from the class.  Fortunately he won the trash contest so I was able to give him the book and binocs as his prize.  Gregory won Saturday’s contest and I gave him a frog life cycle set (thanks LeeAnn!).  Thanks to Diranot and Rhoda for translating, and Kristin and Louiders for helping!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Fish of Trou Caiman

We went to lake Trou Caiman (Camain hole) this morning to see if flamingos were there.  They had already flown away, but we saw these men catching these fish by slapping the water to chase the fish into nets.  Women were preparing them for the market.  Anyone know what they are?

With our guide.

Men slapping the water to chase fish into a net.  They are standing, the lake is shallow.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Billboards of Haiti - Part II

Let's smoke local!

Digicel - the cell phone company

Even the peasants use Digical cell phones.

Always drink treated water.

It's not Darth Vader, but a message to respect women.
Welcome to National Route 3!