In April 2016, Kuli Kuli co-founders Lisa, Valerie, and Jordan, and a small group of supporters travelled to Haiti. Our goal: get to know the people who are directly affected by Kuli Kuli’s investment in Haitian moringa, and better understand how our partnership with the Smallholder Farmers’ Alliance (SFA) enables economic empowerment through moringa purchasing and social development programs. Before heading into the rural communities where our moringa is farmed, we stopped by Jaden Tap Tap in Port-au-Prince (Haiti’s capital). Below, the first of a two-part series about our trip.
- Leigh Biddlecome
Sitting under the shade of fluttering moringa leaves, it’s hard to believe that we’re on top of a former landfill, surrounded by the largest slum in the Western Hemisphere (Cité Soleil, Port-au-Prince). And this is precisely the mind-bending power of Jaden Tap Tap — an urban garden providing a safe haven of sports, tutoring, and environmental education for children within the community, a respite from the difficulties that are just outside its doors.
Our visit was part of a wider effort on the trip to understand how Haitians are using moringa not only to boost nutrition but as an agent of change within communities. Walking through the gates, we were greeted with a warm welcome by the charismatic director Daniel Tillias. Behind him, a dozen boys were running soccer drills. Moving over to the garden side, we passed a few children who knelt amongst the moringa seedlings, carefully weeding; across from them, young moringa trees grew out of a cluster of repurposed car tires; in the midst of the garden, a blackboard had been placed in the shade, marked up with evidence of that afternoon’s math lesson.