Making friends, cooking chicken

KOMPA! That’s the type of tropical music that I get to listen to every night as our neighborhood bar pumps music late into the evening for the whole block to hear. Although it’s made me a more adaptable sleeper, I’ve much preferred listening to Kompa when I attended a Tropicana Concert recently with a group of my coworkers. It’s been a lot of fun getting to know this group; they’ve been so welcoming to JC and myself. 

I’ve been told that the best types of Haitian parties include meat. Luckily, our poultry adviser of the project, Kency, had a few chickens to sell for the party. One of my personal goals as part of this internship is to be able to successfully butcher a chicken. My coworker, Merlange, and I worked all Friday afternoon killing and cleaning 5 chickens, frying plantains, and making picklise, Haitian coleslaw. Even Merlange’s mom came to help us out. The party was a great way for us to hang out in an informal setting with our coworkers, and a perfect way to fuel up before the long night of dancing ahead. It also gave Kency a chance to advertise his chickens.

Since coming to Haiti, Kency, my fellow intern JC, and I work together a lot. Kency is the backbone of the poultry project. We had a wonderful opportunity to go to Port-au-Prince with Kency to greet the Canadian members of the ISCA team recently. We hopped aboard a night bus one rainy evening and woke up in the capital. Kency’s two brothers picked us up, and we enjoyed coffee at their house before our hotel allowed us to check in.

Kency has not had the easiest life. Both of his parents have passed away, and he now lives with his relatives. He has 7 siblings, and as he told me, all of his brothers except him are currently unemployed. Kency’s job with ISCA not only allows him to rely on a stable wage, but it gives him the flexibility to add more chickens to his coop, allowing for more profits at the end of the production cycle. The families who have received chicken coops are pleased with the guidance he offers, and new families benefited the weeklong training sessions that he led.

We currently have the ISCA team from Canada visiting for about 3 weeks. Included with their visit is jam production with a group of women. Dr. Carol Ann Patterson is a food-processing specialist from Saskatoon who is here for a second time to lead training sessions. This time we are making mango, papaya, grapefruit and passion fruit jam. The ladies are enjoying making jam, and getting to taste the fruits of their labor at the end is also exciting.

As this internship continues, there’s still a lot of work to be done. I’m thankful that there’s a chance to enjoy Kompa music along the way.

Marie Dumont is working as a Value-Chain and Agri-Business Coordinator with ISCA partner Les Soeurs Notre Dame du Sacré Cœur in Terrier Rouge, Haiti.