Bernadette: growing new opportunities for a better future (Haiti)
Bernadette Valomé used to live and work in Petionville, Haiti in a large house with beautiful flower gardens. After the 2010 earthquake, she was called back to the Avenue Poupelard neighbourhood to assist her mother. She grew up in the neighbourhood and fondly remembers a big open park with trees where people could go and sit in the shade and feel the breeze.
Twenty years later, the whole neighbourhood is made of cement; up and down the hills between the arteries of Avenues Poupelard and Fort National, a hodgepodge of flat roofed cement houses have been built. These houses leave just enough space for two people abreast to move in alleys that are referred to as corridors, not being large enough to be considered streets. Most greenery has disappeared from the area and there no longer is any escape from the heat. Upon her return, Bernadette missed the gardens of Petionville and wanted to build something close to home.
This is how she came to be connected with "Jadin Lavil", the city garden project. As a new gardener, Bernadette received training on proper use of plants, soils, and pests. Using seeds and compost, she learned to build up a plot, make seedlings, and grow vegetables. Although Bernadette struggles to make ends meet, she has been able to help her neighbour when she wasn't well by making her meals using the vegetables from her garden. She now looks forward to leek season which, if successful, will help her save money as she will no longer have to purchase the expensive creole vegetable.