Archive for December, 2014

The politics of change

The current political crisis in Haiti is not making big news here in the US, with only brief updates being offered of significant events such as the resignation last Sunday of the Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe. Citizens have been protesting for months over the government’s failure to organize elections, now three years overdue. Many Senator’s terms are expiring in January, leaving the government without a valid parliament, and President Michel Martelly to rule by decree.

On Sunday, protests erupted, and UN “Peacekeepers” fired on protesters, leaving at least one dead. Several observers have pointed to the similarities between the militarization of police in Haiti and here in the US. What is clear is that the citizens of Haiti are demanding more of their government. The failure to organize free and fair elections is violation of their human rights.

The international community has begun to pressure the Haitian government to follow the recommendations of a recent commission and hold elections quickly. Failure to do so will only damage prospects for Haitian self-determination and encourage further international intervention, which has never been a positive experience for the country.

We stand with our allies and partners in Haiti who are working to improve their country on a daily basis.

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Community Production, Community Benefit: A New Approach

The Peasant Movement of Gros Morne provides essential resources and training to its more than 12,000 members. The training allows peasant farmers to cultivate their land more effectively and intensively. This cultivation is complemented by free seedlings from Quixote Center nurseries throughout the region, aiding our central mission of dispersed reforestation and ecological restoration in Haiti.

We are proud of this work, but not content. We are not content because it is not sufficient to plant trees and train farmers. We must always progress to larger scales and a more holistic scope. These farmers lack access to the marketplace, so they are powerless to sell directly to consumers, relying instead on middlemen who buy low and sell high. During 2015 the Quixote Center and the Peasant Movement of Gros-Morne will partner to form a new kind of marketplace for peasant farmers. We’re going to start with peas, a popular crop in the Gros-Morne region.

We will establish a guaranteed purchase fund for member families to sell their excess at harvest time. The Peasant Movement will then connect directly to local consumers (businesses, non-governmental organizations, orphanages, and medical service facilities) to sell a portion of the harvest. The remainder will be preserved using an innovative storage system and made available for purchase by member families during planting season, when the price of seeds rises dramatically, at less than market value.

This is a new model. We believe it will work because the Peasant Movement of Gros-Morne has developed as a community-based organization with the full trust of its membership.

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Small Steps Matter

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”

-Lao-Tzu

The Quixote Center has been on the front lines of the social justice movement since 1976 working to improve the lives of communities in the United States and Latin America. The Center finds its strength in the power of many individual supporters. We do not accept government or corporate funding.

The legacy of the Quixote Center is that small steps matter.

  • Every tree planted in Haiti matters. Every acre that is reforested makes a difference on that island.
  • Each home built in Nicaragua makes an enormous difference for one family, and lifts up the whole community.
  • Each farmer who learns more sustainable techniques to improve their crop grows more food for their family and enriches the quality of the soil, which will benefit future generations of farmers.

We are humbled by your ongoing support and all that you have allowed us to do. Together we have planted over one million trees in Haiti, built thousands of homes in Nicaragua and touched the lives of countless families. We know each of you do so much more. You give to your families, neighbours, congregations and schools. In this season of giving, we offer our thanks to you, for all you do and the many ways you give. Happy #GivingTuesday.

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Contact Us

  • Quixote Center
    7307 Baltimore Ave.
    Ste 214
    College Park, MD 20740
  • Office: 301-699-0042
    Email: info@quixote.org

Direction to office:

For driving: From Baltimore Ave (Route 1) towards University of Maryland, turn right onto Hartwick Rd. Turn immediate right in the office complex.

Look for building 7307. We are located on the 2nd floor.

For public transportation: We are located near the College Park metro station (green line)