SOIL is a School Where You Find Many Teachers
I’m Jimmy Louis, and I work as the full time Sanitation Coordinator for SOIL in Port-au-Prince. I was integrated into the SOIL family in 2010 after the earthquake. I’ve come to see that SOIL is not just an office where you come to work and then leave; SOIL is a school where you find many teachers.
When I joined SOIL, I found a solid team and family, and I was happily working and learning in no time. I feel that SOIL expands my autonomy in all of my work and for that, I commend the team.
In the ecological sanitation trainings and classes that I have done with a wide variety of people, I see that many people in Haiti still tend to have practices that are not in line with EcoSan. However, through my trainings, especially with children, I can see and feel how much they love to listen attentively and learn about ecological sanitation. This makes me and the whole SOIL team pleased to work harder each day so that we can have more capacity to teach more children who are living in Haiti.
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This past month, Jimmy and other SOIL staff worked with the ABC Haiti Project to organize a field trip for 25 children. They traveled on the Poopmobile from the SOIL office garden to the experimental farm at Penye, and finally to the compost waste treatment site at Truitier. Everyone had a super fun time teaching and learning about ecological sanitation in Haiti, as you can see from all of the smiles. The kids especially loved planting basil plants at the farm. A few days after the field trip, Betsy from the ABC Haiti Project delivered bunches of beautiful thank you cards to the office. It was clear that the field trip was a truly unique and special experience. We are all so proud of everyone who participated!
One of the thank you cards was especially elaborate and well written, so Jimmy and Shannon sat down with the author Olivier to interview him about his experience. “SOIL taught me so much about ecological sanitation,” he said. “I didn’t know what ‘sanitation’ meant before, but now I understand how important it is for the environment and health in Haiti.” Olivier was inspired by the experimental garden site at Penye and said that he would like to start his own garden with some friends when he is older. “I want to grow fruit trees to help the soil.” Olivier also noted that the field trip was the first time he had traveled so far from his neighborhood and that the experience is now one of his favorite memories. “When I grow up I want to help children learn how to help themselves and each other like Betsy, Ariana, and Jimmy.”
One last word of wisdom from Olivier- “If you cut down two trees, you should plant five.”
Thanks to ABC Haiti Project and everyone who collaborates with SOIL to make our education and outreach program such a rewarding success.