Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Geoff Keyes

Just home from Haiti picture heavy

Recommended Posts

Not a mission trip, not really tourist, but very interesting experience.  If there is an interest I can post some details, but I may just do that off forum on a blog.

Haiti has an old tradition of metal working, we got to see some modern ones and some 200+ year old examples.  I'm going to scatter some pics here and then answer questions.

DSC08111.JPG

DSC08118.JPG

DSC08119.JPG

DSC08120.JPG

DSC08122.JPG

DSC08124.JPG

DSC08126.JPG

DSC08130.JPG

DSC08131.JPG

DSC08132.JPG

DSC08134.JPG

DSC08144.JPG

DSC08237.JPG

DSC08239.JPG

DSC08240.JPG

DSC08289.JPG

DSC08286.JPG

DSC08337.JPG

DSC08336.JPG

DSC08335.JPG

DSC08342.JPG

DSC08346.JPG

DSC08439.JPG

DSC08440.JPG

DSC08441.JPG

DSC08445.JPG

DSC08447.JPG

DSC08452.JPG

DSC08453.JPG

DSC08454.JPG

DSC08455.JPG

DSC08456.JPG

DSC08457.JPG

DSC08459.JPG

This is my fave from that day

Geoff

 

 

 

 

 

 

DSC08288.JPG

DSC08446.JPG

DSC08450.JPG

DSC08451.JPG

DSC08449.JPG

DSC08458.JPG

Edited by Geoff Keyes
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dang vacation time I’m assuming?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As I said, not really a vacation, more of a Masters Degree in re-thinking

g

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Was that a cassava grater?  And what was the thing that looked like a press?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
30 minutes ago, Alan Longmire said:

Was that a cassava grater?

Which one? It looks to me like there are two different devices in play. One has remnants of what looks like oatmeal and the other has a large trough along the backside like it's for juicing grapes or something. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know this is kind of off subject of the metal working side but how did you enjoy Hatie Geoff, it's a place I've always wanted to go.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The graters are for de-hulling coffee.  When coffee beans are ripe the have a "cherry" around the bean.  The machine splits the cherry and and sends it one way and fresh beans go another.  The beans are then washed, or, if they are using a natural process (like the Yemeni's do)  the beans ferment for a day to 3-5 days and then are dried on concrete platforms in the sun.  This is all hand work, then beans are spread and picked over, if it rains, the beans have to swept up and brought inside.  The first stations are all pretty high, 4-6 k feet, and once the beans are dry they are bagged and hauled down to the small coops, and then into the city (Port-au-Prince) for more drying and sorting and roasting and shipping.

Haiti was once the biggest coffee producer in the world, but earthquake, hurricane and corrupt governments have really cut into that.  The town of  Theotte  is where we went to to see the farms, and we got to see and participate in every part of the process from planting seedlings (coffee tree live about 30 years, so you have to be planting new stock all of the time) to picking to de-hulling (You can see the back of the Lady Wife taking her turn at the crank) and then back down to the lowlands.

As an indication of how difficult getting around in Haiti is the road up to Theotte, is 35 km long, it took us 6 hours each way in a Toyo Hilux.  There are times of the year when the road is not passable at all.

Haiti is a difficult place.  There is no economy to speak of, there is a single "Western Style" resort up by Cap-Haitian, and we went to a town on the south coast that is kind of a Post Apocalyptic New Orleans, call Jacmel.  Power is spotty, so refrigeration is hard to do, water is a difficulty in many places (we hauled 10 gallons up to Theotte)  A hot shower is rare and valuable commodity.  Everything in Haiti is built from concrete, because Haiti is mostly Limestone , and that is what they have. In some sense, Haiti is a model of unrestrained capitalism.  The big towns are full of garbage (mostly plastic), the roads are brutal, traffic is chaotic.  Pedestrians, bikes, motorcycles, small cars, small trucks, big trucks, are everywhere.  Lanes are where you find them, , some times they are 2 or 3 cars across, lane direction is more of a suggestion than a hard fact.

If you want to go to Haiti I can put you in touch with some people.  Don't expect Haitians to speak English, so a guide is a good idea.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ah, the press.  They are making concrete block.  There are big brick yards like this one, and small ones where they turn out brick by hand in 1's and 2's.  These pictures were a little dicey to get.  They didn't want outsiders poking into their business, so Leo, our guide told them I worked for the company that made a new version of the press, and that I just wanted to see an old. Then we scooted out of there.

 

g

Edited by Geoff Keyes

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
31 minutes ago, Geoff Keyes said:

a single "Western Style" resort up by Cap-Haitian

Used to be called “Paradise Island” That's how the cruise ships listed it in their adverts and what they told people when they docked. Stopped calling it that after the press became negative about concealing from passengers that they were in Haiti.

31 minutes ago, Geoff Keyes said:

Haiti was once the biggest coffee producer in the world

Great coffee, did you bring any back?  And don't forget the rum, the best I've ever had.

I was bummed to hear the French era hotel in Cap-Haitian was destroyed in the last big earthquake.

Edited by Gerald Boggs

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some nice iron work there. I am interested in how they get new coffee trees started; do the grow them from seed, or? I am wanting to plant some of our land in coffee and cocoa trees.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am at about 1300 feet here, higher than coffee is grown on Kauai. Thanks for the link, now I have a clue. Was most of that iron work cast or wrought?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It looked wrought to me, unless you are talking about the art pieces.  Those are made from oil drums.  The doors, which are the doors to an old coffee warehouse  and roaster, all were clearly hammer wrought.  The pintle hinges are forged and riveted from the back.  There are no welds that I could see.

Coffee wants shade, in Haiti they plant banana in the short term and avocado in the longer term.  On my advice they are looking at one of the local (I don't know that native, but they are common) clumping bamboo's.  Typica varieties grow tall and spindly and are subject to leaf rust.  The Caturra, Catimore, and Mundo Nova sub strains are all low growing and bushy and are resistant to rust and are big producers.

 

Geoff

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I got some of the original Arabica that was introduced in the 1840s to Kauai....looking forward to propagating it here. I also found a big chunk of an old broken iron pot that the plantation workers had discarded in the old days; i hope to incorporate it into a blade project after suitable decarb.

Edited by SteveShimanek

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×