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Haitian Mountain Bleu  Blue Coffee, Haitian Art

Rural Life in Haiti :

Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere: 80% of the population lives under the poverty line and 54% in abject poverty. Two-thirds of all Haitians depend on the rural agricultural sector, mainly small-scale subsistence farming. Farming is vulnerable to damage from frequent natural disasters, exacerbated by the country's widespread deforestation.

Economic autonomy for Haitian Coffee Farmers is Singing Rooster's goal.

Village of Jeannette -- is a good example of a rural community in Haiti.

Jeannette is located in the southern peninsula of Haiti. It is 70 miles, an adventurous 5-hour drive, west of the capital, Port-au-Prince.

Like many rural places, Jeannette is more of an area than actual town.

Living Conditions -- This rural community of about 15,000 has several hundred houses on small plots of land. The houses are made of thatched and woven leaves or concrete block.


The typical Cinder Block House is approximately 12 feet x 15 feet and consist of 1 - 2 rooms with a dirt floor.


Most cooking is done outside over a fire. There are usually only two or three beds in a typical Haitian home, which often houses as many as six to ten people. Families have little money to spend on clothes. Most children have only a school uniform, play clothes and a Sunday outfit that has been donated or passed down.

There is no underground source of water available in Jeannette. People rely on cistern water and often carry water long distances in buckets on their heads.

Without running water, Haitians wash clothes by hand in a small pail of water with a bar of soap.

There is no electricity in the village, although solar and wind panels and a generator send electricity to the school.

There is limited access to communication. Most information is passed on by word of mouth or cell phones / there are no land lines. National and world news is mostly heard on radio and a small handful of TV's.

Transportation is by walking, horse, donkey, bicycle or a tap-tap bus.

There are only a few motorized vehicles in Jeannette. Most roads in Haiti are very rough and need repair. To get to school most students walk long distances, some more than an hour.

Economy -- Most of the people of Jeannette are subsistence farmers. People eat only what they grow or purchase with a very limited income of less than $300 a year.

The market is a 2-hour walk down the mountain. With no refrigeration, meat is a luxury. Goat and chicken are eaten only on special occasions, so the main meal is usually rice, beans and sweet potatoes.

They grow mostly beans, corn, potatoes, yams, cabbage, eggplant, greens, okra, tomatoes, avocados, oranges, grapefruit, bananas, watermelon, coffee, and cocoa beans. Some families own chickens, pigs, goats, and a few have a donkey, horse or cow.

With rampant food shortages in Haiti, it’s important to harvest food from ALL available food sources. One such valuable source is the Breadfruit. Breadfruit is one of the highest-yielding food plants, with a single tree producing 200 fruits per season. Breadfruit are rich in starch, and are roasted, baked, fried, or boiled. When cooked, they taste potato like and fresh baked bread (hence the name).

One problem with breadfruit is that they rot quickly. We've initiated a program that helps Haitians convert breadfruit into flour.

Education - The school in Jeannette has more than 650 students grades preschool through ninth grade.

In 2003 100% of ninth grade students passed their national exams in a country where less than 50% pass nationwide. This is an outstanding accomplishment given the average education for most Haitians is third grade. Most children in Jeannette do not have books of their own. They share textbooks in school. Paper is a scarce. Typically, teachers write lessons on chalkboards and children learn through repetition and memorization.

You can SEND a Haitian child to School.

School was held outside before the new school was built in 1988.

New School, 1988

It is not unusual for a classroom to have 50 children.


1989 St. Marc's Clinic is built.

Our agriculture and vitamin programs have helped significantly to reduce cases of malnutrition.

Health care -- Jeannette has a clinic run by a doctor, nurses and health care workers. 2003 was the first year we were fortunate to have a doctor living and working in Jeannette for nine months doing community service in exchange for having her medical education paid by the Haitian government. Medicine is dispensed at the clinic pharmacy.

The clinic provides triage for patients who require more advanced medical care. These patients may be transferred to the St. Croix Hospital in nearby Leogane.

Clean Water -- Although numerous cisterns have been built by the Haiti Project, access to clean, potable water remains a high priority.

In 2003, the Haiti Project began collaborating with other groups and foundations who are doing wonderful things to fight third-world poverty. One such organization is the Gift of Water.

The Gift of Water developed a cost-effective solution for water purification. The purification process is simple and similar to most public systems in the United States.


Gift of Water in Haiti

The Purifier is composed of two 5 gallon buckets that detach. The top bucket is filled and a disinfectant is added – usually chlorine tablets. The bucket sits for 30 minutes, giving time to kill bacteria and parasites. It is then placed on top of the second bucket and allowed to filter. There is a spigot on the lower bucket.

100% of Singing Rooster's efforts go BACK to Haiti; our goal is to provide direct assistance to rural coffee farming communities through interrelated support for the sake of self-sustainability, dignity and economic autonomy.

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Singing Rooster is a registered 501 (c)3 nonprofit and established social enterprise. We provide on-the ground assistance and direct market access to coffee farming communities in Haiti for the sake of self-sustainability, dignity & economic autonomy. We meet then EXCEED principles of fair trade.

We partner with small scale, farmer-owned cooperatives to help cultivate and process high quality, gourmet Haitian coffee. Then we buy / export crops at premium prices and create new markets for it: roasted coffee, green coffee beans for home or commercial roasters, fundraising with coffee, and wholesale coffee to commercial roasters, cafes, and stores.

By helping farmers to improve crops, paying premium prices for those crops and then transforming and marketing those crops on behalf of farmers, we've created a direct farmer-to-table model for rural communities. We return 100% of proceeds of coffee sales back to farmers and their communities for continued economic development.

Singing Rooster Haitian Coffee is a gold star member of GuideStar

Corporate: 2400 Waunona Way, Madison Wisconsin 53713


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