The Farm House Natural Cheeses and the Amrein-Boyes Family are excited to announce the building of a small Goat Dairy and cheese making facility in Haiti.
Background: some years ago, Debra’s Aunt Claire adopted a young Haitian boy who at the age of five had been given away as a slave by his voodoo priest father. Six years later, his older brother found him, and brought him to a children’s home where Aunt Claire met him and began actively supporting him.
Marc spent the next few years there and went to school for the first time (at age 12!). Aunt Claire supported him through school and Bible College, and now Marc and his American wife Lisa have gone back to Haiti to start a work to benefit the people of this devastated country.
Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere, with a life expectancy of 44 years, while the unemployment rate is 70%. Less than 1% of Haitians have a post secondary education, and the literacy rate is 35%. Most recently Haiti has been very negatively affected by the high cost of grain, especially rice, as their own production was undermined by cheap imports and is now non-existent. There have been riots and demonstrations and more Haitians than ever are going hungry.
Since beginning in 2003, Marc and Lisa have started a Bible training school and a thriving church and begun classes in the new Technical School, offering training in textiles, ESL, carpentry, music, mechanics and agriculture. In the spring of 2008 they graduated 50 students from various programs!
While visiting our farm, Lisa expressed the need for healthy food for themselves and the people who live and work at the compound. The idea to start a Goat Dairy was born.
The plan is that we will provide healthy breeding stock-goats suited to the climate of Haiti; design and build pens, milking stand, and a small cheese making facility. The goats will then provide milk for the families there, plus cheese can be made for their own use and to sell to support the work. The first offspring of the goat flock will be given to a local family to begin their own goat flock. Their firstborn kids will then be given to another family, and so on.
Additionally, local people will be able to bring their own milk to have processed into cheese for their own families. Everybody wins! We are in the process of training a young woman who is planning to work at the mission in Haiti in goat husbandry, and will be bringing a young Haitian man here to live and work on the farm to learn goat husbandry and farming techniques to take back with him to Haiti, as soon as the Canadian Government approves his visitor’s visa.
We have already raised enough money to purchase an adjacent 2-3 acre piece of land to house the project. This cost $9500 CDN. Marc had put a down payment on this land a few years ago, believing it would one day be needed for their work! The property is perfect for this purpose, as it is rich and grassy, and has a natural spring of fresh water.
A fresh water well has been dug on the land.
An 8′ wall around the property was almost finished when the terrible earthquake struck, and destroyed the wall. The work to rebuild the compound and the wall is on-going. Once that work is done, a goat shelter and a milking facility for approximately 10 goats will be built. Adjacent to this will be the cheese making facility, and small living quarters for the goat farmer/cheese maker. We are planning a facility that can make use of the natural resources, and use alternative power sources, or as little electricity as possible.
How can you help? We need MONEY to continue the building project, which will be ongoing as funds arrive. Finally we will be airlifting selected breeding goats to Haiti.
Any money you want to donate can be sent by cheque to The Farm House Natural Cheeses, 5634 McCallum Road, Agassiz, BC, V0M 1A1 OR to Haiti Arise directly. Make the cheques out to Haiti Arise. Your donation is tax deductible; you will receive a tax receipt. Please mark your cheque for the Goat Dairy Project.
For more info on Marc and Lisa and their work, go to www.haitiarise.org where you will also find the address for the Canadian office. In addition you will find an up-to-date list of needed equipment for the mission. A container is being filled for shipment out of Alberta.
Thank you for any donations in funds or equipment that you can offer! We believe that it is better to give than receive, and that we in Canada who have so much, carry a responsibility to our fellow humans who have so little. This is one way we can help in a direct and useful manner.