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  • Writer's pictureTom Stein

BonZeb Spring Update

It's been a busy winter at BonZeb.

In early November Bobby, Aaron, and Valery launched a new website,, in both English and French. The website helped launch our Hurricane Matthew relief efforts. Our campaign brought in hundreds of pounds of food, cleaning supplies, personal items, and clothing. We are still in the process of assessing the best way to get the materials to Haiti. They won't fit in the overhead compartment. It could cost as much as $2500. Our kiln arrived safely, despite the storms. It is now in Port-au-Prince waiting for a permanent location in Benico. Last month, the BonZeb farm was threatened by a local grass fire. Our fields were unscathed due to the efforts of our farmworkers and the buffer around or fields. It's time to re-apply our Roundup barrier around the old field and the new field. Fanfan, our agronomist, oversaw planting during the recent rains. Above you can see him on the motorcycle Bonzeb purchased for easier access to the remote corners of the property. We are headed back to Haiti in March on another mission trip. Every trip to Haiti costs us thousands in airfare, transportation and security. But it's necessary to make contacts with Haitian people doing work on the ground. Our first stop is a meeting with Help4Haiti to discuss a BonZeb farm in Onaville to support their mission. We would provide grass starts and a kiln and they would take over the growing and production of charcoal in that community. The shared startup costs are about $25,000. But a single kiln could create a hundred new jobs in Onaville. We are looking to build kilns in Haiti using our new design from our University of Portland students, supporting local manufacturing businesses. After that we are meeting with Project Resilience Through Water. The project aims to give everyone potable water through simple water purification systems. Project Resilience educates locals to do it all themselves, ending reliance on outside sources for basic necessities. Bringing the project to Benico would provide clean water and create skilled jobs, but we would need about a thousand dollars to get started. Hopefully, we can also discuss a partnership with Agri-Tech Producers to plant a test field of sorghum in Boucantis. To plant five acres we'd need twenty five hundred dollars, 93 workers making five dollars a day, 20% more than the prevailing wage in Haiti. Then after all that we are looking at a lot in Benico as a site for our charcoal factory. Property is cheaper in Haiti, but it would still cost five to seven thousand dollars for a half acre plot. We're also in talks with IRZ Consultingabout bringing irrigation to our property. The fields are currently watered by hand -- 250,000 individual plants a day. We could not do any of this important work without you. Bonzeb is wholly dependent on the generosity of our donors. Thank you to all those who have already given, and a special thank you to those giving on a monthly basis. If you would like to become a monthly donor, feel free to shoot me an e-mail. Thank you and God bless, Tom and the whole Bonzeb Team

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