Since she was a little girl, CAEP horticulture trainee Fabiola Louis has had a passion for agriculture and an interest in protecting the environment. Today, her passion is reflected in her training at Mertrolina Greenhouse in North Carolina. Traveling all the way from Haiti to further develop her skills, read about Fabiola’s agricultural journey!
“I was born in a small city called Les Cayes in south Haiti. My father forested my love for agriculture as he is an agronomist. During my childhood, every summer I used to go to my grandparents’ home in Port-Salut. My summers were always filled with many fun adventures. My grandfather taught me how beautiful the world is, which interested me in nature. I used these moments to visit farms and to gain an appreciation for the farming my grandfather was doing. I grew up in a family of farmers connected to the environment.
My host at Metrolina Greenhouses treats the students as members of his family and includes them in his family activities. As a host, he always listens to each and every one of us and asks about additional needs for the students. I felt very welcomed by my host and he made sure I was always a part of the group and was comfortable. One day, our host and his family invited all the students to a special dinner so they could learn about our countries, our cultures, our families, and also to learn about his family.
I have learned the United States is home to many different cultures. My favorite experience has been traveling, which gave me a deep appreciation for this country. During my trips, I explored the nature in each season of the different places I visited. I learned about the diversity of foods (Indian, American, Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese, Haitian, Italian) and people. I have visited New York, Georgia, Florida, and North Carolina. I have personally benefitted and had the pleasure of visiting a great country with a multitude of cultures. I also have learned new agricultural practices and become a more open-minded person with another vision of the world.
The United States is a special country where most American people are focused on their economic activities. They are always on the go and are always running so fast. Americans never have enough time to relax. It is a country melted with different cultures, beliefs, values, and of course, a variety of tasty food options. I feel American people think big and luxurious is everything. They like to be on the top and encourage competition. They work hard to reach their goals and try their best. Time is valuable in the United States, and American people are constantly thinking about how to plan and fill their time. They place more value in future than the past.
America is one of the most wonderful countries in the world where you have the opportunity to meet all nationalities. I am so happy I have had the chance to travel in this country in order to explore the nature, to learn about the American culture. The happiest moment during my training experience was the first time I was able to work alone in the greenhouse in my section without the grower. During that day, I was responsible for taking care of the plants as I had proved my professionalism. Some of my daily duties include tending to a three-acre range consisting of bedding plants and potted plants. I also water, fertilize, apply pesticide and clean.
I have also learned the importance of living with people from different countries. It was a great experience in my life. The host is considered as a family member. The CAEP program gives a great opportunity to young people around the world; to visit the United States, to learn English, to meet other people from four continents. Through this program, we can improve our skills in agriculture and learn about new technologies used. In Haiti, farming and livestock activity is faced with challenges. 94% of the farms are family-run farms. Regarding the producers, 25% are only women. Farming land covers over 89% of Haiti’s total area as farming is the main staple of the Haitian economy. Then the harvested products are sold to the local and national markets. The international markets are still difficult to reach, but some products like coffee, cacao, and cotton continue to be exported to America and Europe.
I chose to pursue the CAEP program because it is an international agriculture exchange program. Through CAEP I have had the opportunity to meet other people from around the world to share ideas, experience, and to learn about agricultural practices. It is also a better way to improve my English communication skills .The CAEP program has given me the opportunity to visit the United States and to learn a lot about the American culture and the technology used in American agriculture.”