Environment

A man-made oasis in northern Haiti keeps a community afloat

A photograph of the author, Austin Bailey.

By Austin Bailey

January 29, 2019

A man-made oasis in northern Haiti keeps a community afloat

In This Article

  • Haiti has long suffered severe drought and desertification.
  • Cabaret, a community in northern Haiti, struggled when its lake dried up.
  • Heifer International teamed up with the community of Cabaret to bring its lake back to life.
  • Success!

We are delighted to share (brag about?) another progress report from Cabaret in Haiti, where just a few years ago drought and desertification threatened the very survival of the community. Mare Verger, a lake that had been the life source for this patch of northern Haiti, gradually filled with mud, then baked into a flat, cracked plane. So far gone was the lake that it was nearly impossible to imagine the rock-hard ground was once the site of a water source that fed enough farms to sustain an entire community.

In 2016, however, Heifer Haiti staff brought in bulldozers to help the community of Cabaret re-dig the lake. Then everyone waited in hopes of a storm to fill it. It was a gamble that is still paying off. Hurricane Matthew tormented the island nation of Haiti in October 2016, but the silver lining was a basin full of fresh water.

A healthy haul of fish from Lake Verger in Cabaret, Haiti.

Now stocked with fish, the lake continues to be a source of food and irrigation. Northern Haiti is suffering from severe drought now, but Heifer Haiti Country Director Hervil Cherubin reports that thanks to the lake, all is well in Cabaret.

Can you dig it?

Around the world, Heifer International is helping communities dig, plant and build for themselves the components they need to become self-sustaining. You can help!