English Garden in a Haitian Mud-Hut Village
New grass, iron benches, blooming flowers, a wooden fence, and a hand-painted gate. These are commonplace items among the parks & gardens of the United States, but for a poverty-stricken mud hut village in Haiti, they’ve never been seen before.
But that’s no longer the case in Lake Azuie village, where this past weekend Hotes Foundation volunteers, along with the help of local villagers, took a barren patch of land and transformed it into a lively English-style garden.
“We want to raise the villagers expectations of themselves and their village,” said Richard Hotes, shortly after planting another patch of grass around the garden fence. “They’re so proud of this because they helped us with everything: the soil, mulch, flowers, everything!”
In just three days, local villagers and Hotes Foundation volunteers, led by the creative efforts of volunteer gardener Jan Larsen, completed the installation, creating not only a sustainable garden, but a welcoming community space that the villagers can maintain and enjoy together.
“I’ve never seen anything like this! I love the flowers! I can’t wait to roll in the grass!” said a local villager while watching the garden gate go up.
The creation of the garden also led to a new paying job for Zilia Gillate, 55 years old, who’s known to be one of the strongest, kindest, and hardworking women in the village. Now that she’s officially Garden Caretaker, we’re excited to see how she, along with the rest of the villagers, will continue to cultivate this space to benefit the entire community.
The Hotes Foundation knows that this project is a major step towards helping lift this village out of poverty. By implementing projects that raise the level of the village above the stereotypes associated with poverty, Hotes Foundation volunteers and hired Haitian staff, all from the village themselves, are encouraging everyone in the village to experience the benefits of hard work, self-determination, and personal accomplishment.
Thank you to everyone in the village who made this project possible and to the Hotes Foundation volunteers that followed our model of “Change Giving to Going!”