There is a long, winding trail which takes you from Haiti’s National Highway #8 down to Madan Belize, a small village on the shores of Lake Azuei. Along this brackish lake live about 300 families, probably among the poorest in this already extremely poor country. Depending on the latest storms, the path can be more or less manageable….today seems to be the latter.
As I bumped and bounced towards the village, something amazing appears — permanent houses! I was well aware of their construction, but the sight of the green and pink pastel houses was still something to behold. With only 10 houses built, the neighborhood on the hill seems a bit isolated from the activity of the village. But over the coming months and year the housing development will grow to 150 houses along with communal areas, a school, and, hopefully, a clinic.
Other signs of growing prosperity are also evident. The village is more alive than I remember. Strong, young men are working on the cages and nets — it seems that the village can now offer some economic opportunity. Also, livestock appears more abundant. And people are asking when the next clinic will be held (with the help of a Florida university, Dr. Val Abe brings in a fully equipped mobile clinic three times a year). We have yet to do our next round of PPI (Progress Out of Poverty Index) testing, but I can see that Caribbean Harvest has made great progress. Permanent housing, economic opportunity, better health….we have come a long way. Yes, there is more to be done and many risks to be averted, but now is time for a bit of celebration.
Before: For perspective, this is the typical housing in Madan Belize. A family of 5 or more live in one hut.
Caribbean Harvest is an amazing aquaculture enterprise founded by Dr. Valentine Abe. Click here, for more information.