Trees of Life
by Mark Sotomayor
The energy that gives humans life is all around us. It is when we are around this positive energy of development that we humans feel most alive.
The seasons of life come and go along with our experiences, both positives and negatives, which occur.
Amongst our life cycles, it is a blessed thing to extend a helping hand among one of these seasons to lift up another. This is exactly what Haiti Friends does.
The old Chinese proverb correctly states “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”. By this same ideology, Haiti Friends exists and operates.
Every tree planted is a source of lifefor a Haitian family. This is how our simple and effective process called HTRIP (Haitian Timber Re Introduction Program) has been operating for the past 2 decades:
1. The staff educates community members, which consist of a high number of Haitian Farmers, on the resources a tree provides – how the trees will help their harvest, and why not to knock trees down until fully mature.
a. Trees planted by Haiti Friends include Cassia’s, Spanish Cedars, Mahogany, Oaks, Moringa, Avocodo, Mango, Cacao, Guava, Passion Fruit, and many more.
2. After Haitian farmers “graduate” from the agroforestry education program, they are given approximately 30 trees each – the trees are theirs, however the Haiti Friends staff checks in every now and then to provide any additional assistance/education, as well as keeping track of the results of the program.
3. The average earning of a Haitian farmer is about $1,200 USD (translated from Haitian Goudes) a year. A fully mature tree at about 15 years old yields $1,500 - $2,000 USD a year, as such the trees act as a sort of “bond” that provides natural resources along the way. Haitians receive approximately 30 of these, affecting the economics of their lives forever.
a. For example, 30 Haitian Oak are harvested and sold for the minimum $1,200 fifteen years after planting. It yields $36,000 of additional income, not to mention the higher yield from natural resources as the tree grows. Typically they would have netted $18,000 over 15 years, but with HTRIP they net $54,000. After trees are harvested, HaitiFriends plants several trees for every one in its place.
Moreover the trees provide a much deeper intrinsic value to impoverished farmers – hope, motivation, and positive energy. When a blessing is given to an unfamiliar and unmet person, this in turns blesses the life of the giver.
This is why organizations like Té Amo, a Pittsburgh based organic tea business that plants a tree for every bottle sold, exists to inform American consumers about Haitian Deforestation and actively fight against it. Through Haiti Friends, trees and life are planted, with an energy of hope and positivity growing all around it.
To learn more about Té Amo’s mission in partnership with Haiti Friends, visit www.BuyATeaPlantATree.com.