SOIL’s New Digs!

SOIL moved into a new office in Port au Prince in July and we wanted to share some photos of our new digs.  We have come full circle since the earthquake and moved back into the house where SOIL Port au Prince started, formally known to many as the coalition house.  When Nick, Bobo, Paul and I came to Port au Prince in January 2010 we spent 2 months living in the backyard behind Matthew 25, next door to the soccer field, Park Izmery, which at the time had over 2000 people living on it.  We fell in love with this community in the heart of Delmas 33.  In March when the rains came we had the good fortune to move into a house across the street where we lived and worked for 3 months with a coalition of dozens of small NGO’s.  One upstairs bedroom served as housing and an office for SOIL and our two guinea pigs, Viva and Bongu (who sadly did not survive long).  In June 2010 we moved around the corner into an office all our own and we spent 2 wonderful years in that office, but we always missed our old home.

Amazingly our lease ran up just as our old home was going on the market.  Lucky for us the old landlord remembered us fondly and we were able to move in July 1.  The new house/office has transformed our work environment.  In the old office all of the staff shared a single room with 3 desks and a table.  Now we have been able to spread out and everyone has their own desk, the sanitation department even has their own corner!  We brought with us SOIL’s long time sidekicks, Paul Namphy (aka Ti Paul) and Ellie who now live above the office with Nick and Molly, our new Program Assistant. We have even been able to house a volunteer consultant, Eric Nyman, on the roof in a breezy open room with a mosquito net (arguably the best room in the house, especially when the power goes out on a hot August night).  We have lovely household ecosan toilets on each floor and LOTS of basement storage for drums of compost and toilet seats.

But far and away the best part of our new home is the backyard.  Our backyard is like an oasis from the dust and noise of passing traffic.  We have over 300 m2 of lush land with a little stream running through.  The stream comes through our neighborhood, under the soccer field next door and miraculously surfaces in our backyard.  Our amazing volunteer consultant, Eric (who is a bit of an eco-landscaping genius) has managed to transform the yard from an overgrown, mosquito-breeding marsh into a rich ecosystem with native plants, tadpoles, minnows and even a heron! Plus over 5000 gallons of compost!  Just wait to see what this place looks like in 3 months. Working together with a group of young men from the local soccer team and another SOIL volunteer, Isabelle Morse, they have built a nursery which is currently home to over 800 plants representing 30 rare native species, all destined for our compost and agriculture sites.  Stay tuned for upcoming posts on the incredible changes in our compost site at Twitye and our agricultural demonstration at Penye.

It’s good to be home….

For more photos click here.

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