Meet Djimitri, SOIL’s Director of Operations
SOIL’s Director of Operations, Djimitri Célestin, growing directly out of Konpòs Lakay bags mixed with soil.
We recently sat down with Djimitri Célestin, SOIL’s Director of Operations, to learn more about him, his connection to SOIL, and his lovely garden in Cap Haitien, where he grows vegetables using SOIL’s Konpòs Lakay. Djimitri has been a part of the SOIL family since 2019. A condensed version of his interview follows. We hope you enjoy getting to know Djimitri, as much as we enjoy working with him!
Tell us about yourself and how you came to work with SOIL.
I grew up in Haiti, but moved to the US for college. I stayed there for 10 years and then moved back to Haiti in 2012, and got involved in manufacturing and agriculture work. I joined SOIL in 2019, after Jessica Laporte (SOIL’s EkoLakay Program Advisor) recommended me for this position. I applied and started working for SOIL a few months later.
What does a typical work day look like for you?
There’s no such thing as a typical work day for me! Right now, we are in a growth stage, which is very exciting. Since the COVID restrictions were lifted in July, we’ve increased our client base by 50%. There’s lots of trial and error going on right now, which can be both challenging and fun. I came into SOIL not really understanding what I was getting myself into and it’s been over a year now and I love it.
Could you tell us about how you started gardening?
I first became interested in agriculture back in 2013. I had just moved back to Haiti and was looking for a job. My dad had land and a tractor and I was bored, so I started planting. I had no prior experience so I depended on local farmers for advice. I fell in love with gardening and find it miraculous. I started my garden in Cap because there’s a shortage of fresh produce there. I’ve wanted to have my own garden for a while, and I’m happy that I finally have one now.
Kale from Djimitri’s garden grown with SOIL’s Konpòs Lakay
How has using Konpòs Lakay affected your crops?
Amending the soil with Konpòs Lakay has yielded great results, including greater germination. Using Konpòs Lakay in my garden also gives me an opportunity to live by example. Currently, I have eggplants, bok choy, arugula, lettuce, and kale in my garden, and I am looking for more land so I can expand and have a larger supply to share with friends and family.
Where do you hope to see Haiti in the next 10 years?
My hope is that 10 years from now we will understand the value of our country and we start cleaning it up. I want to see pride in Haiti and in being Haitian. It’s very rewarding to be one of the people making a difference in Haiti and working for an organization that is helping to build a Haiti that I can take pride in.
SOIL depends on individual donations from people like you to fund our lifesaving, earth-restoring sanitation services in Haiti. Please consider supporting SOIL today.
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