Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Triunfadores de Jardineria de Batey 7--The Triumphant Gardeners of Batey 7

Part of the work Mark has been doing to support Jenny's work in Batey 7 and the Good Samaritan Clinic is a yard garden project, working with a group of youth to develop the space in the clinic complex. Mark started with this work in May 2012. Here are some pictures. Photos by Hypatia Bent, Mark Hare and Susan McLarty, all rights reserved.

The yard design that the crew put together last year. Buildings, in blue, or sometimes yellow, are (from left to right), the IED church, the kitchen and store room (bottom center), the clinic itself and the future house for an on-site doctor (upper right). Odd-shaped blue's are existing vegetation. Green are things we planned. The small rounds are vegetable tires. The curved area behind the clinic is what is called a "mandala" and was planned as a medicinal plant space. Moringa tree beds are near the coconut in the bottom right hand corner. The sun rises in the upper right hand corner of the complex and generally sets in the lower left.

Preparing vegetable tires. Juanito, with machete, is the leader of the Triumphant Gardeners. Juanito has also been the stable member of the group, which has changed membership completely in the 17 months since we started. The current team seems to be excited about what they are accomplishing and they have become reliable workers. As a result, the garden work is taking off.

Malabar spinach growing out of the vegetable tires planted along the side of the kitchen/storehouse. Unlike temperate spinach, Malabar spinach likes hot weather and heavy rains. The hot weather is no problem and the heavy rains  are provided by the team members.

Mark (behind), Juanito and a friend looking at an amaranth seedbed in one of the tires. Team members have harvested cherry tomatoes, eggplant, amaranth and green peppers from the tires, along with a lot of the spinach.


Leo, one of the staunch team members, watering the Malabar spinach. The crew had three watering cans (two provided by the Westminster group), but all three are broken. Watering cans are one of those things that are easy to find in Haiti but hard to come by in the DR.

Batey 7 team members with a folks from a visiting work brigade, after four days of building the Mandala behind the clinic. The work brigade came from Westminster Presbyterian Church in Greenville, South Carolina.

Westminster PC group and Batey 7 team members. And Mark (in back, center).

Mandala. The center is planted with lemongrass, aloe and basil.We are still working on finding sources of medicinal plants to fill all of the mandala beds, so in the meantime the team is using the space for vegetables such as eggplant.

Tree bags planted with moringa seeds in a rooftop tree nursery. Mark and Clinton are covering the bags with banana leaves to maintain humidity while the seeds sprout.

Leo watering three beds of moringa trees, transplanted from the rooftop tree nursery about three months prior to this picture, taken in August 2013. The rooftop tree nursery worked extremely well.

Moringa trees produce highly edible and highly nutritional leaves that can be cooked like spinach, included in salads or used in stews and soups, or cooked together with rice or cornmeal dishes. The mature leaves can be dried and pulverized and added to foods as a nutritional supplement. Moringa leaves are very high in beta carotene, iron and calcium. When the fresh leaves are used, they are also very high in Vitamin C. Moringa leaves also provides a significant of protein that has all of the necessary enzymes. Roots, bark and flowers also have medicinal values. The young seed pods can be eaten cooked and the mature seeds can be processed for oil. Crushed seeds are also used as a natural flocculating agent for clarifying dirty water as the first part of treatment.

The Batey 7 team has a lot of work left to do to make their plan a reality, but they are moving forward, and that is very exciting, especially considering that Mark can only spend, on average, two days a month with them.