Mango tree and boulder, Camp Perrin, Haiti. 2007

Mango tree and boulder, Camp Perrin, Haiti. March 16, 2007

My first visit to Haiti with students: a documentary photography class, a human health and environment class, my colleague Professor Deborah McGrath, and University Outreach Coordinator Dixon Myers. Part of the trip was about understanding the relationships between environment, economics, health and stewardship, from the top down. This visit to the Organization for the Rehabilitation of the Environment (ORE) and its director, Dr. Mousson Finnegan, not only threw us into the deep end but also presented us with a well managed and effective effort at redressing the imbalances between these relationships. The ORE staff talked to us about mango grafting, charcoal production, infant and child nourishment programs, women as central to economic development and introduced us to this tree.

An aging, grand mango tree, complete with a delicately signed wooden tag and what appeared to be its own (vodoun) sacred stone, it had all the majesty of its function: it was the source of thousands of small graft mango trees that now were steadily climbing their way back up the slopes of what had once been denuded land. This one is Mangifera Indica Couer d’Or. A stone on the ground with a hole, whitewashed, and a golden hearted mango.

Hasselblad 500C/M, 80mm Planar lens, Ilford HP5 with Pyro PMK developer