Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Short Social Fiction: Adventures of Tupi 35

Before sending Tupi off to the Airport at Santo Domingo, Alex stopped at a restaurant --Adrian Tropical -- for lunch before the flight. "I've not forgotten..." Alex said. Tupi looked at Alex and asked. "Mofongo?" Alex nodded and said. "You remembered its name."

"How can I ever forget?" Tupi said as they entered the restaurant. The restaurant looks rather fancy. It was by the beach and Tupi could order a drink that comes in a cup with an umbrella. "Sure, I'll have a Pina Colada... In a Tropical mood now. Help me order food. You know what I like."

Alex called the waiter and ordered food when he served the drinks. "Filete de Res y dos Mofongo."

Tupi chatted with Alex more about how he could help the organization more and information about the earthquakes and hurricanes that ravaged the land. However, Tupi was constantly distracted when the waiter brings the dishes for the other tables.

"Everything smells so good here." Tupi said. Then the waiter brought a small strip steak and 2 orders of Mofongo.

"This steak is not the regular thick one that we usually eat." Tupi said as he cut a small piece to try. "Oh my god... this is so flavorful and tender!"

"Thought you would love this..." Alex said. "The food here is generally good."

"The Mofongo is awesome!" Tupi said. "Wow, its better than the other place. This is perhaps now my favorite food."

Tupi was done with the meal pretty quick, and they took a Taxi to the airport. "Have a safe trip!" Alex said. "Bon Voyage!" They waved goodbye and Tupi was glad he came to the Dominican Republic and Haiti. This would probably be one of the most memorable trip thus far.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Short Social Fiction: Adventures of Tupi 34

Tupi was invited for breakfast before visiting the school. Breakfast was 2 pieces of toast and a soft boiled egg. It was simple and good. Then Tupi followed Alex to the Children's Academy.

There were young kids outside the classrooms sweeping the leaves from the tree and placing it a big bin. "Wow, the children help in area cleaning?" Tupi asked.

"Everyday, they tend to the plants, clean up the area and compost the dead leaves." Alex said. "They learn about permaculture gardening and the environment."

"What is permaculture gardening? And how is it different from organic farming?" Tupi asked.

"Permaculture uses organic farming practices and integrates the farm and home to create a lifestyle that impacts less on the environment." Alex said. "In a permaculture system, we try to have a closed system where we try to import less and everything hopefully gets fully utilized. We try to grow what we eat, eat what we grow and bring in less produce."

"Organic Farming promotes the use of natural fertilisers, making use of the natural carbon cycle so that waste from plants becomes the food of another. But still we cart the produce to the market and buy products that we need." Alex said. "The Ideal Permaculture ‘Farm’ brings production of food closer to consumers and the consumer’s wastes back into the cycle. It also reduces the energy wasted in transporting and the people contribute in their daily life toward the production of their food and other needs."

"Wow, that is a lot to learn. I don't even think I've learnt this in school, and what's worse, I can practice this at home." Tupi said. "This is so much information... But are you worried about the pathogens?"

"We have a anaerobic digestion system at the school, but each of the homes in the village also have a dry composting toilet, which greatly reduce the pathogens." Alex said. "Its all managed."

Tupi asked the kids about the plants they were growing and they all seem quite knowledgeable about the life cycle and reproduction for the plants. Looking into the classrooms, Tupi also spotted adultsin another classroom.

"Those students look old." Tupi joked.

"The parents participate in adult education classes." Alex said. "Sometimes, they are in community savings and loan groups and talk about finances."

"How the hell did you get the parents to attend?" Tupi asked.

"Its not easy, but simply put, we need to build trust." Alex said proudly.

This was the first time Tupi visited an area without a regular toilet and the people here seemed much more resourceful than others in the cities Tupi visited. Tupi felt that when humans lack resources, they have to become more creative and innovative in ways to conserve every little bit they have. It made Tupi think a lot and reflect on his city life and how wasteful he had been.

Tupi visited the various classrooms and saw the kids learn art, music and some entrepreneurial skills by thinking of various ways to redesign their crafts and which markets to sell it in. The kids have a little understanding of English and some of the kids engage in conversation with Tupi and taught him simply Creole language.

Tupi learnt farming along with the kids and the lessons seemed informational and interesting. He never thought that school could be that fun.

"This is very educational. I am really touched by what you are doing and you have opened up my mind on what is possible." Tupi said. "From what I've read, Haiti seemed like a very challenging environment, and you guys seemed to have found something and are working on real change despite the challenges. I can't even put in words what I've really experienced, but I'm really impressed and thanks for inviting me."

It was a great journey of self discovery and learning experience, and Tupi was glad he spent time coming to visit Haiti. Soon, it was time for him to return to Florida to help his friends in disaster relief, and Tupi was dreading the bus ride, however, he decided that since it was probably one of the last time he would be riding this bus, he can treasure the experience and hopefully not take good public transportation for granted.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Short Social Fiction: Adventures of Tupi 33

Tupi woke up the next morning to the crows of a rooster. "Damn, 5:30am cock..." Tupi grumbled and as the rooster does not seem to want to stop, Tupi washed his face and clean up. After some unpacking, Tupi walked outside and saw the sky slowly turning blue. Tupi went outside and it was rather chilly, and Tupi put on a jacket.

As the sky got brighter, Tupi could see more of the surroundings around him. "Wow, its kinda nice up here, and we are really high up." Tupi said as he looked down on the hill. The view was very interesting with shadows in the valleys and the various trees slowly getting illuminated. As the sun slowly appeared, the lush greenery became visible. "I keep hearing stories that there are no trees in Haiti, and I guess they are all false."

"Kijan ou ye?" a voice said.

Tupi turned around and saw a 10 year old boy. "Oh hi, I don't understand what you are saying."

"How are you... " The boy said. 

"I'd good!" Tupi replied. "Good morning!"

"Bonjour." The boy said. 

"Bonjour." Tupi replied. "Wow, I learned a new word today, thank you!"


Tupi walked around and he saw some of the villagers up and about early in the morning. "Its just slightly after 6am and people are already up." Tupi said.

"Slept well?" Alex asked as he approached Tupi.

"Wow, you are up so early?" Tupi asked.

"Yeah, usually around this time." Alex said. "Sorry, I did not have time to explain how to use the toilets. We don't have sewage system here, and we use composting toilets. When you poop, use water to wash and throw some leaves on the poop. There is no toilet paper in this system."

"Wow, thanks." Tupi said. "I've not used such a toilet before."

"We do not have the luxury to turn on the tap and get water. We do collect some rain water, filter it for cleaning, but we do truck up most of our other water as well." Alex said and showed Tupi around the toilet. "Make sure you use soap to wash your hands after using the toilet."

Tupi has never used a composting toilet before and all these experiences are new to him. "This is very interesting. Thanks for sharing." Tupi said and tried using the toilet.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Short Social Fiction: Adventures of Tupi 32

The traffic in Port-au-Prince was horrible. The car was barely moving and impatient drivers drive on the wrong side of the road causing massive traffic jams. Many of the roads were very narrow and the driver was very good at avoiding random pedestrians running across the roads in front of the cars.

Tupi finally arrived at the school on top of a hill in the evening. There was many people sitting in a circle beneath a tree watching a kids choir sing. Tupi stood there and watched and the kids could really sing well. There was a slight breeze and Tupi could see some animals on the side of the hill across the valley.

"This view is so good." Tupi said. "Compared to 10 minutes ago, the city with the bad traffic seems like a horrible place. Road were bad and pedestrians are just running across the road without warning, but this place... It looks like a paradise."

Tupi sat under the tree and watch the beautiful sun set. The sky turned purple as the sun slowly set in the horizon.

"People from this village come to the school often to see what the kids have learned. There are also discussion on various opportunities, problems and other news that affects the village. Generally it is well attended." Alex says. "We have created a nexus for the village to converge and focus on their future."

"That is amazing." Tupi said.

"We want to help Haiti change thorough education." Alex said. "Ok, lets go to dinner now."

Tupi was very impressed with what he saw. This organization seems to be doing something right for the villagers to engage with their children and care about the community. Tupi's perception on poor communities is usually one of the people putting one another down, making no progress. Watching the community support their kids and work on solutions together gives Tupi hope that change can happen thorough education.

"Oh wait, I have something for you." Tupi said as he brought out some solar kits and MRE and life straws.

"We have safe water here." Alex said. "We don't have nice ponds and streams to use lifestraw here... Thanks for the solar kits, we can definitely use them here, and as for the MRE, perhaps you need it more when you go back to Florida?"