Byler Barns is partnering with other local businesses to provide relief to Haiti in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew. This relief project provides livestock to rural farmers who cannot be reached by the larger relief organizations. One of our employees, Shea Alexander, went down in November 2016 to help with livestock distribution. Here is his story in pictures.
In Port-au-Piment on the coast, en route to doing a livestock distribution. The truck in front has chickens, and our truck has the goats.
The goat holding area Les Cayes. All the goats were here for a day to feed them, vaccinate, and make sure they are in good health. This was at one of the local agronomist’s homes. The blue paint marks the ones who have already been vaccinated. The goats are lowered in, and then lifted out of the hole manually by human chain.
Distributing goats to recipients from Bwa Pikan, a very secluded village high in the mountains. The effort was to reach the unreached communities that were hit by the hurricanes. This was vastly beyond where most relief agencies are able to go.
A load of goats and a load of chickens on the trucks, ready for delivery. The whole purpose of this is to rebuild the goat herd and chicken flock. Agronomists then follow up to make sure that the project is going well, and to give further training on how to care for the animals. Literature was also distributed to give training in animal health, as well as human physical and spiritual health.
Bwa Pikan distribution — locals are waiting in line for chickens. Recipients are chosen by local leaders in the community according to who is neediest. Leaders may be pastors, agricultural society leaders, or the “county commissioner.”
A young man receives 4 chickens with which to start the family flock.
There is a local husbandry tradition. A goatherd will tend the goats of various families. The goatherd owns the buck, and when the nannies kid, he gets the first kid. The rest go to the families of the owners. For this reason, the livestock project only gave out nannies.
In some cases, parents sent their children. At times, this was because the parents were too elderly to make the 6-hour trek down the mountain the the rendezvous point.
Recipients were given one of 30 laminated yellow or 30 pink cards. They didn’t knowing what they were receiving — only that it was some sort of livestock. Then on distribution day, the distributors would decide which cards received which livestock. A recipient would receive either a pair of nanny goats, or 4 young chickens. The distribution of yellow or pink cards was kept random and constantly changing to prevent any favoritism in the distribution of cards or animals.
This was our largest distribution day, distributing 75 goats and 190 chickens.
A panoramic view of the city of Port-au-Piment, a major historical city along the southern coast.
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