I first heard about Randy Montreynaud's involvement in Haiti a few years ago while on a bus from Palo Alto to a "Save Darfur" rally in San Francisco. She works with Moving Mountains, a Stanford group. They work with a poor community in the mountains of Haiti. One project is to buy baby goats which the families can raise for milk, fertilizer and more goats, and use the proceeds to pay for their children's education.
Then during a visit in March of 2007, my mom lent me Tracy Kidder's 2004 biography of Paul Farmer, Mountains Beyond Mountains. Soon after, my wife and I made some donations to support this effort to jump-start this community's efforts to provide for their children's education.
In late July of 2008, I met up again with Randy and heard of her last visit to Haiti and her latest plan. She had set up, with the Haitian veteranarian Toma, a summer math and art class for some of the kids in the community. For some photos and videos, see her site on Bebo.. Adding peanut butter lunches to these undernourished kids' diets helped them immensely and inspired her. What if she could jump-start some industry in this community, pay a few people to bring peanuts into the mountains, process it into peanut butter and sell some of it locally?
My work is going pretty well, so my wife and I committed to fund this modest project for a year.
Your contributions are welcome as well. Either send non-deductible
at Stanford, or to make them deductible, mail contributions to
them through The Quaker Society of Friends, mail to:
Palo Alto Friends Meeting
957 Colorado Ave
Palo Alto CA 94306
And in the check's memo line write:
For Haiti: Pigs Can Fly
IF PIGS COULD FLY
We'd send them to Mon Bouton, Haiti
Mon Bouton, featured in the film My Mountain, is a small rural hillside community in the southwest area of Haiti. No basic infrastructure exists in rural Haiti: people have no access to roads, potable water, health care, telephones, electricity or technical assistance for agricultural activities. There are no government-sponsored public schools. There are only some modest rural schools, entirely dependent on private funding. Dieudonne's school in our zone, Mon Bouton La Tournelle is one such school. Pigs Can Fly is a response to these issues, trying to buy livestock to fund rural education. Veterinary care and vaccinations for livestock are provided by Toma, a local veterinarian, who lives in La Tournelle. These are all funded by "Pigs Can Fly".
Educating Haitian children is the hope for a better life. It costs about $75 U.S. a year to send a child to Primary School. The average annual income in Haiti is less than $350.00, not that anyone can count on that. Most families are unable to pay school fees, and schools cannot afford to pay the teachers. The families and the schools need help. Pigs Can Fly will help provide work for students and their families to finance education, while having the dignity of work.
Traditionally, the Creole pig was the "piggybank" for Haitian peasants. Even today, as access to banks is not easy, and few peasants have any surplus to invest, the Creole pig or goat remains the means by which peasants "store" their wealth. Young piglets or kid goats are bought, and then cared for by the children and their families. When families need to pay school fees, or have medical or other emergencies, livestock is sold. Children learn responsibility, and families have something to fall back on.
After discussions with families, we feel that a partial solution to the financial difficulties of the peasantry is to economically empower the families to finance education by raising livestock, and receiving training from Toma in animal care skills that will better the community. Our plan now is to help the poorest of children in Dieudonne's school continue their education. We hope to provide a kid goat or a piglet for the neediest families. Each goat or piglet costs now approximately $40 to $50 U.S.
Please consider contributing towards the purchase of livestock a micro loan to help a child finance his or her own education and learn an important skill at the same time.
IT'S PEANUTS TO US...but it's a way to provide work and feed the hungry in Mon Bouton, rural Haiti. Randy Mont-Reynaud returns to Haiti in July, and will jump start, with Toma and Mesye Dekles, a plan to provide sustenance that is not mere charity. With the families in a "parent participation" summer school, Randy will provide a school breakfast/lunch program. Here's the work plan:
So, if you can spare a couple bucks - mere peanuts - you'll be helping Toma and Randy with this stop-gap, short term measure to provide work and a high protein meal. Best we can think of for an immediate return, while the coffee is growing... On behalf of Toma and the folks of Mon Bouton, thanks for considering this plan!
Tax-deductible purchases of piglets or goats can be made through:
Palo Alto Friends Meeting (The Quaker Society of Friends)
957 Colorado Avenue, Palo Alto CA 94306 .
100% of all funds for Pigs Can Fly go directly to Toma in Haiti.
Thank you for thinking of the children of Haiti!
Randy Mont Reynaud and Mariejo Mont-Reynaud