Meet the Adamahniks: Beth

June 22, 2009 at 5:24 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

On Thursday evening, a few minutes before dinner was supposed to start, Aitan told us that the sadeh was going to flood.  When we got to the field, Shamu explained that the stream was only a few feet from overflowing its banks, and that the lower part of the field was already flooded from the rain.

We locked all of our tools in the shed and tied up anything else that could float away.    As we moved towards the more flooded areas, I took off my shoes and rolled up my pants.  I instantly had a flashback to six months before.

I had been in Haiti, working as a water and sanitation engineer for a humanitarian aid organization.  We were in an area of the country that had been hit by two hurricanes and two tropical storms.  The devastation had been enormous, and some of the flooding had still not subsided after three months.

We had heard of a village which had not yet been visited by any aid organization.  The flooding surrounding the village was thigh-high and muddy, so bad that men had to take off their pants to get home. The man who supported me as I slipped and slid through hidden weeds got a four-inch thorn through his foot.

When we reached the village, my Haitian colleague who had made the journey with me took a deep breath, turned to me, and said, “Welcome to hell.”  Many people had glazed looks in their eyes.  A boy nearby lay on a blanket and moaned with a fever. A girl was taking a bucket of the same water that we had just walked through to use for drinking.

Haiti is where I realized that environmental issues are humanitarian issues as well, where I finally understood the importance of local food production and its impact on food security.  Haiti is on my mind constantly at here at ADAMAH.PICT0299

As we walked through the sadeh on Thursday, I thought about what could be lost if it stayed flooded.  We could lose the hundreds of person-hours that have gone into working the land, the vegetables that we harvest for every Shabbat dinner, the cucumbers for our pickles.  The families in our CSA could lose the produce they’re counting on during the months to come.

But this flood won’t kill us, won’t cut off access to medical care for our children, and won’t reduce a dollar-a-day income to zero.  As I hope for the flooding in our sadeh to recede, I think about the many places in the world where the waters continue to rise.

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