“Many Small Potatoes Make a Load”: Harvest Festival 2019 Underscores Power of Collective Action

Agronomist Raphael (right) stands with Vladimy (left) and a young Harvest Fest attendee. Raphael gave the keynote speech of the Harvest Fest, and Vladimy, the entrepreneurship teacher at Paul’s School, emceed the event.

Agronomist Raphael (right) stands with Vladimy (left) and a young Harvest Fest attendee. Raphael gave the keynote speech of the Harvest Fest, and Vladimy, the entrepreneurship teacher at Paul’s School, emceed the event.

“Who is responsible? We are all responsible,” Agronomist Raphael emphatically repeated throughout his speech culminating Petit Trou’s 3rd annual Harvest Festival, which takes place every June on St. Paul’s Campus.

“Let us take the first, small steps at St. Paul’s School,” Raphael proclaimed in the same refrain as he called for incremental and collective action toward building self-reliant and sustainable agricultural communities in Haiti. He accentuated his remarks with a Haitin proverb,  Anpil ti patat fè chay. Roughly translating to “many small potatoes make a load,” the phrase speaks to the impact individuals can make when they make small contributions to a larger societal goal.

Raphael also illuminated how the local community of Petit Trou has benefited from the agriculture program at St. Paul’s School. He reflected on the community pride he sees as a result from families and students growing their own healthy food, learning about agriculture, and sharing their expertise through workshops and trainings.

Raphael’s words were received with loud applause and enthusiasm from the crowd of students, school administrators, civil representatives, and U.S.-based CHP staff participating in the Harvest Festival. The festival’s activities complemented Raphael’s speech; participants learned more about the Agriculture Program student plays focused on environmentalism and farmer’s market in which students sold produce and small crafts they had cultivated in school and community gardens in recent months.

Many Harvest Festival participants also joined the fun of a community trash clean-up game that offered a bicycle as the grand prize. Raffle tickets to win the bike were issued for every ten pieces of trash collected around the campus. The game’s lucky winner was a student named Schneider, who pledged to share the bicycle with other peers who live in his neighborhood.

The public excitement of the day was echoed in Raphael’s closing words. “I believe that with us, another Haiti is possible, as we are very talented. With resources, we will have the opportunity to discover the extraordinary talent hiding in TiTwou.”

Read a full transcript of Raphael’s speech here.

 
 
 
Wynn Walent