Saturday, October 8, 2016

Hurricane, prayers, (peach palms by Cory)

Continuing to watch and pray as the stories and pictures of the utter devastation come from Southwest Haiti. Some areas have yet to be reached by rescue or support personnel. Primary needs are fresh water, food, medical treatment, shelter.

Due to the loss of trees, gardens, and livestock, food will be an issue for the months or years to come. Schools and homes being destroyed will complicate life as well as the lack of jobs and resources.

Many missionaries are writing on social media about giving and how to best help. Unless very specific medical or other skills, most are urging people to send ticket money rather than coming.

Send support money to organizations you know, trust, who work with Haitians [have Haitians on their boards and in leadership positions] not most of the big name organizations.

If you feel led to help but don't know who to give to..let us know specifically how you'd like to help [medical, livestock, water, schools, churches....].

Please continue to pray:
  • that help reaches those who need it in a rapid, timely fashion
  • for organizations to work together so help reach all and avoid waste with duplication
  • that as many relief supplies [building, medical, water, food, livestock] can be purchased in Haiti helping the economy vs. shipping in items that don't help as much or even hurt in the long-term
  • that health issues like tetanus, cholera, typhoid, malaria...can be kept to a minimum 
  • political stability with the postponement of national elections
  • people will see and feel the Lord's love and care during this difficult time

This week Cory purchased our first living lawnmower, "Cloudy".  Doubtful she will be able to keep up with the rapidly growing lawns but Cory also ordered a new lawnmower.

Chatted on line with Eli today. With 17 credit hours this semester he keeps very busy and 'overwhelmed', but family reports they feel he is doing well. He finds time for martial arts, church, and chapel and some fun! 

I harvested a bunch of peach palm on Friday.

The fruit were boiled and then shared with the workers, several other people, and the youth ministry board which was meeting on Campus.

Everyone says they like the fruit. At least one said it had flavor like squash, which is a favorite Haitian vegetable.

It is rather dry/starchy by American taste but Haitians prefer dry (starchy) varieties of squash, avocado, sweet potato and (very mature) corn on the cob (usually grilled over charcoal).
Tree at CATIE, Costa Rica, 2014

Counting chicks before they finish hatching: The fruit bunch weighed about 10 pounds so the 4 mature bunches totaled about 45-50 pounds and there are at least 4 other bunches developing.

 If my numbers are right, at the recommended 180 trees per acre, the yield of food per acre would be more than the average yield per acre of corn in the USA. 70x180=12,600. USA corn is about 9,000. (Correction, forgot to account for moisture of about 50-55%, corn would only be about 15% When we have the final yield it may still be close to corn).

The photos of our tree aren't very impressive compared to some of the trees at CATIE in Costa Rica during my visit in 2014, so the potential looks good, but will take some time yet to evaluate.

Since there are only about a dozen trees on campus that have started blooming, I still have to do some pollen storage and pollination to get good fruit set. Since the main pollinator insect in the native range seems to be absent here, and bees only occasionally work the blooms, this may reduce yields or limit introductions in new areas to self-pollinating varieties or fairly large plantings.

I was surprised to see photos from SW Haiti showing most of the coconut trees laying flat on the ground. Coconut leaves don't break off but royal palm and peach palm leaves break off in strong winds so the tree is more likely to stay standing and survive.

Photos from MAF survey flight are at this link.  If you use them, please credit MAF and photographer Tim Schandorff.

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