This post is also available in: Spanish
Alberto Girón Lopez is from Chiapas, Mexico and Lindsey Frye is from Lancaster, PA, USA. Both work with an MCC partner organization, The Institute for Intercultural Studies. This article is part of our ongoing series on food security and climate change.
I remember one morning two years ago when I went out early to my garden to pick some spinach leaves. I heard a low but intense noise, one that made me stop and listen in the middle of the garden. Around a hundred bees were visiting the garden that morning and drinking the nectar from the squash blossoms, flying from one spot to another. The sound was their work song. I gave thanks to God for their sacred song, recognizing that because of their work, the bees were making it possible that the flowers would turn into beautiful fruit for our table.
This also happens when we exchange with others, such as the recent trip we took to Haiti. We each brought with us our own lives, different containers filled with many experiences, cultural influences and family systems. From these containers, we each brought out something to share. For example, Alberto shared in a panel about food sovereignty and the experiences that we have, accompanying communities in Chiapas. At the same time, we were able to receive the nectar of a new place that also had its own unique context. After a week in Haiti, we returned to Mexico to see how we could then nourish our own spaces with what we had learned from others. From all of this, we want to share three amazing things that were part of our visit, that nourish us our work in Chiapas.
1. How to take advantage of the little you have
During my time in the rural areas of Haiti, I was able to reflect on many things, for example, on the food, water, land, and other natural resources that are not very present in Haiti. On the other hand, I was able to share with people in my country (Mexico), where we have these resources but we do not know how to use them in a sustainable way. I was also able to get to know other places and spaces where Haitians are planting rice, bananas, yucca and other vegetables, and then bring those experiences back to share with my family and work groups.
2. The organization of work groups in Haiti
The people that MCC works with are very organized and this ensures that the work of one person is collectively reflected in the fruits that they share. I could see the positive side of working collectively and helping each other without prejudice. The way people organized themselves helped me to see various tools that I can use in the organization where I work.
3. Finding sustainability in urban areas
In the urban areas of Port au Prince, I observed an agro-ecology space that is an example to follow, for us as visitors and also for the Haitians. The project engages in recycling garbage, and based on that, occupying the space to plant vegetables and trees.
Our time in Haiti was full of knowledge and fullness that we were able to share with MCC. The chance to get to know the humility and sincerity of our Haitian brothers and sisters also strengthened us as people and workers, with the encouragement to continue forward with our goals and future work.