Trees for the Future

“Haiti shares an island with the Dominican Republic, of course. If you look at this island on a satellite map, you will see that the Dominican Republic is green but Haiti has very little green. This is because Haiti has no trees. The reason for this is that wood is the primary source of fuel for the people.” –Bob Hansen, missionary.
The leaves have begun that slow transformation of the hills surrounding my valley home and soon the trees will bleed color everywhere. Already the poplars boast their aureate gilding and the maples spread flame from the tips of their fingers. When I run in the morning I pass through a parade—promenade through leaf confetti. A drive to work might find me caught in the twirling, whirling discards of those deciduous ladies who mischievously shed their garments. When I go walking with Lucy Mae in the evening time…a simple looking up fills me with that crazy joy of fall.
This past Sunday was Mission Sunday at our church. A sweet couple who went to Haiti a few months ago on a medical mission gave a presentation. We heard about the great need of the people, about an organization called Family Health Ministries, and about the joy in the worship services. We saw slides of smiling ebony faces, lines of people waiting for medical care, flattened buildings, and tent villages. We saw pictures of volunteers hard at work, orphans, and a large church. But it was the barren hillsides that made my heart slow its thumping.
No trees.
Everywhere in Haiti, people line the streets to sell crafts and wares, our friends tell us. They brought some of their purchases to share with us. There are metal crosses and needlepoint, but it is the wooden tea set that makes me catch my breath for its beauty.

I think about my friend Dan and how he stumbled into mission work because of his servant heart. In his book, The Unlikely Missionary, he talks about how his mission team trained native people in Africa in good business practices and entrepreneurship.
I can plant a tree.
I start to read. I find this article, with this quote:
“Almost all of the country’s problems—natural disasters, food shortages, poverty—can be traced back to rampant deforestation,” says Ethan Budiansky, the Caribbean-programs officer at Trees for the Future, a nonprofit group that is planting thousands of trees in the mountains around Gonaïves. “So if we want to fix the country, we have to start there.”
There are re-forestation efforts being made in Haiti but I wonder about Dan’s group who trained people in business. Are there re-forestation training groups too?
It makes me wonder. I can’t go to Haiti right now, so I buy a tree to be planted there. And when I walk in the evening time I breathe deep and look up.

With Jen today:

And Michelle:

Comments

  1. says

    We had a tea pot like that from when my husband went to Haiti, we ended up giving it to a friend of ours who was also on the same mission team. It was beautiful and carved by hand.
    At night when my husband and the others slept at the christian compound they could hear the voodoo drums pounding till the early morning hours. He said they felt protected by the thick wall surrounding the compound and by prayer.

  2. says

    umm… miss laura… this post blessed me more than you can imagine! i love how my humble little book played a part in you doing even a ‘little’ thing like planting a tree. and that’s exactly what my hope was when i wrote that book… that it would challenge lots of people to take little actions. and who knows… maybe you’ll end up in haiti one day looking at the beautiful forests that you helped to plant!

    amen sister, amen.

  3. says

    I have to tell my son Noah about this opportunity — he loves, loves trees, you know, and has donated his own money to preserving the redwoods in CA. He would love this opportunity, too — thank you so much for the suggestion. I had no idea that Haiti suffered from a lack of trees, on top of everything else.

  4. says

    Of course, I love the tea set:) Would you believe just this evening my sister-in-law was over telling me about a young missionary couple who have an orphanage in Haiti and visited them last night? My brother-in-law is a physician and met them on his last visit to serve in Haiti. My heart feels like the leaf in your picture after reading your words, though. Beautiful. Plant trees? yes. I’ll be sharing this with my girls in the morning. Thank you for such vision.

  5. says

    Oh, I love that tea set.

    My father-in-law has spent a lot of time in Haiti over the last 10+ years. He talks about the deforestation thing, too.

    Giving thanks for the trees in my yard, even though they haven’t turned yet: live oak, post oak, pecan, maple, fruitless mulberry.

  6. says

    Amazing — the vision that God has given you through how you soak in the trees in your space — how that inspires you to plant new hope in a whole other place in this world.

  7. says

    It’s hard to imagine a treeless place, when the environment expects trees, isn’t it?

    I love the way this all fits together…your local trees turning, the tea set, Dan’s book, the missionaries, the trees.

    Yes, I do.

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