Marylyn Wesley and villagers in Bas Boen clean a harvest of beans from once barren fields. Photo: UMCOR Haiti
UMCOR’s agriculture program in Bas Boen, Haiti helps communities thrive and earn a steady income
By Azim Akhtar*
Port-au-Prince, Haiti, April 5, 2016—After the devastating earthquake of 2010 in Haiti, Marylyn Wesley, a mother of five, struggled to provide for her children. With support from the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), she learned to cultivate beans—and sow hope.
Wesley owned a small, barren field in Bas Boen, a village about 12 miles from the capital of Haiti, Port-au-Prince. She struggled to grow crops, but lacked farming experience and technical know-how. The main breadwinner of the family, she was forced to seek work elsewhere.
“I faced enormous trouble earning a living after the earthquake. I worked at various places to feed my children, which was extremely hard,” Wesley said.
She was not alone. Others in the area lacked resources for cultivating crops and also wound up with barren fields. UMCOR initiated a program in Bas Boen to turn these barren lands into lush, green fields. The program, “Enhancing Agriculture Production,” provided 800 villagers with farming inputs and technical training in soil preparation, crop production, harvesting, and water conservation.
Wesley joined the program as a beneficiary. She learned technical skills for sowing and harvesting beans, and also received bean seeds for planting. With her new knowledge, she successfully harvested a first crop of 132 pounds of beans for home consumption and for sale in the market.
Now Wesley is better able to provide for her family. “I was so delighted to see my children have food three times a day,” she said. She also earned enough money to cover school fees for her 7-year-old daughter.
Inspired by her success, Wesley is planning to lease additional land and grow more crops. “I am already dreaming of the next harvest,” she said.
Your support for UMCOR Sustainable Recovery and Development, Advance #3021951, helps communities like Bas Boen to thrive.
*Azim Akhtar is head of mission for UMCOR’s country office in Haiti.