My internship this summer consisted of traveling to different mountain towns (Bois Jolie and Morne Michele) and spending the night. While in these villages, we would hike to different households and ask to interview them for my survey. Most of the time they said yes without even knowing what my survey was about, which I think speaks to how welcoming these people are! During these interviews I asked them what they do for a list of common sicknesses. Specifically, I asked these people if when they come down with illnesses, such as the flu, do they go to the hospital or do they use plants that grow in their villages as treatment? If they say they utilized a plant to cure this illness, I would then follow up with a question asking what plant and how do they used it. The answers ranged from using the roots, leaves, fruit, etc. to make a tea, compress, rub the mashed plant onto skin, and more. I then asked the farmer if they have some of the plants they mentioned on their property and if I could take a picture of the plant and collect a sample. These samples are going to form a herbarium that will be displayed at CFFL, the vocational school in Corporpant. This herbarium will preserve the knowledge of the people in these mountain villages and spread this information to people who live in the towns and cities of Haiti.
After doing this for a month and two weeks I have found myself using this useful knowledge already! When my housemates or team members get sick, I instantly know which plants would help their illnesses and how to use it. I also find myself walking through the villages and towns and spotting plants that I now know their names and what they can do. I find it amazing that plants hold all these healing properties that in the Western world we do not use as much. I find that some of the cures from the plants are common knowledge among the farmers in these villages. This knowledge is so important to keep because it has been passed down from each generation to their children and so on. If this information disappeared, who knows if it would ever be recovered again and what would happen to the people who live so far away from the hospitals. I am proud of the work that our team did this summer because even though the results may not be apparent right away, in the long term they will have a large affect.