Saturday, May 19, 2012

Medicinal Herb Class at Holistic Living School, FL


Part of my preparation to continue a sustainable project in Haiti, is the study of Herbal Medicine. Herbs can be useful in developing countries when prescription medicines are unattainable. It is my desire to become certified as a Family Herbalist and later a Community Herbalist so I can teach those who are in need of other options for natural healing.

The Holistic Living School is a 501c3 nonprofit educational organization with the mission to “Cultivate the sustainable community by empowering individuals through philosophy-in-practice education that promotes holistic living.” This summer, I am an intern at the Florida School of Holistic Living and will be attending a week long intensive course to be certified as a Family Herbalist. This blog entry is on the Roots of Herbalism course which I took as a preparation for the Family Herbalist Certification.

Roots of Herbalism class:


The Roots of Herbalism course was May 12 – 13, 2012. Emily Ruff is an amazing teacher and it was a pleasure to learn from her knowledge. I enjoyed making new friends and learning more about medicinal herbs.


We all had a chance to smell, observe, and taste different herbs. You can tell the quality of herbs by their smell, color, taste, and effect they have on the body. On the left are dried Cayenne and on the right is dried chamomile. Drying is one of the best ways to preserve herbs. This can be done with a dehydrator, using racks, or hanging in bundles.


Each tisane (tea) had a unique flavor. This tea has a vibrant red color which is produced by the Hibiscus plant. It also goes by the names Cranberry Hibiscus and Roselle. Now, you may be wondering why I said tisane instead of tea. In class, we learned that tea is actually a beverage made from Camellia sinesis extracted into water. Other herbal beverages should be referred to as tisane.


We learned about 20 herbs during the course and I took LOTS of notes. My hand was moving most of the class. With the herbs, we learn how to make infusion and tincture. A tincture is medicine made by dissolving a drug in alcohol. If you dislike the idea of using liqueur, try using distilled apple cider vinegar or vegetable glycerin.

The other common method of capturing an herbs medicinal value is an infusion. First, get water to a boil. Then pour water over fresh or dried herbs that are in a mason jar. Infuse 15 to 20 minutes.

Walk through Medicinal garden

beauty berry


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The Dandelion cafe is across the street from the Holistic Living School. It is right next to medicinal garden. It is an organic cafe with fresh Florida grown food.  


Special thanks to Emily Ruff who is an amazing teacher and friend.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Agriculture/permaculture project at the Eben-Ezer Mission in Haiti

To begin this blog entry, I wanted to share this video containing the different projects and activities my dad and I were part of during our trip to Haiti. I thought it would be a nice introduction by showing you an overview of our trip before displaying our individual projects.


My trip to Haiti with my dad, John Mann, was an incredible experience where I was able to share knowledge, but also learn much while spending time with the people of Haiti. Our trip was April 28 – May 4. One of the activities I worked on during our trip was an agriculture project. I worked on the project for 3 days with pastor Josue Jean and some of the men who assist him. They have already established a productive garden, so I was able to share with them sustainable gardening techniques and new ideas they can apply in their existing garden.


Recycling is a important tool when applying permaculture techniques. The definition of permaculture is the development of agricultural ecosystems intended to be sustainable and self-sufficient.


Pastor Josue is preparing one of the beds which will be used in planting lemon grass. The concrete blocks surrounding the bed is one of many materials that can be used when establishing raised beds. For those that enjoy studying herbs, Lemon grass is useful for medicinal application when dealing with colds, flu, and fever. It also has value as an essential oil which makes a nice addition to handmade soaps.


We planted hundreds of seeds in the plastic water bottles. We planted eggplant, tomato, arugula, and bib lettuce. Haitians love lettuce so my new friends were excited to start growing this new variety of lettuce.


The sun is very hot in Haiti so screening is needed when wanting to protect seedlings.


Seeds such as beans and sunflower prefer direct planting, so they were planted in their own raised bed. We also planted Chaya cuttings which we ordered through Echo. Chaya leaves are high in protein, calcium, iron, and vitamin A. Raw leaves are toxic and must be cooked before consumption! Do some research before attempting to eat these leaves.


We used boards and twine to build a trellis in the raised bed for the cucumbers to grow up.

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The water bottles also came in handy for the creation of plant labels. When traveling to another country, it is best to use the resources that our readily available.


This large beet is ready to be cooked. Bon appetit!


This large water storage tank is connected to the drip irrigation system that runs through the garden rows.


Chicken was on the menu for the dinner we had with Pastor Josue Jean.


Our dinner was amazing! It is so exciting to eat food fresh from the garden. This is a very important element when desiring to live a more environmentally responsible life style. We had lettuce, cooked spinach, beets (my favorite), cooked radishes, chicken, watermelon, and rice. This was a great way to end the day.

Thank you, Pastor Josue, for the incredible experience of working in your garden. I look forward to returning to Haiti and continuing this project with you.


Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Adventure Begins on my First Trip to Haiti!

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My father, John Mann, and I went on a mission trip to Haiti on April 28 – May 4. It was the first time for me and my father’s 4th time. It was such an incredible experience and it has truly changed my life. I was able to see God open so many doors as my father and I developed relationships with the people and taught at the Eben-Ezer Mission of  Gonaïves.

To reach Haiti, we first took a plane to Miami from Orlando, FL and then arrived in Port-au-Prince. I was able to get a good photo of Port-au-Prince from the plane.


Our driver had to make his way through some traffic jams to get us to Gonaïves safely. There are no stop lights so drivers had to maneuver their vehicles and stay alert.


Flooding along the streets slowed us down. It took about 3 1/2  hours instead of 2 1/2 hours.


We passed by several markets along the way.


“Tap Taps” are a popular form of transportation. The name is derived from passengers taping on the metal panel to signify the passengers desire to get off.


After the earthquake of 2010, many now have to live in tents and homes made out of scraps such as metal. The hole in the mountain is gravel mining.


It was exciting to finally arrive after a day of catching planes and driving. My father and I each had a bedroom and were so grateful for a fan in our rooms. It get very hot at night so having a fan is a good tip if you travel to Haiti. The cooler months in Haiti are during the months of November through April. In the photo is me with the house guards and Pastor Josue Jean is on the right. I worked with him on a gardening project which I will share in the next entry.


Here’s the guest house where we stayed. It is completely surrounded by a wall for security.

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We received water for the bathroom by turning a lever on and off. The water was supplied by a giant water tank on the house. It had to be filled by hand (see right side photo).


I made many friends in Haiti. The people of Haiti are on my heart and in my prayers. I am excited about the future mission trips we will take to Haiti. Please continue to watch my blog as I tell more stories and show pictures of my first trip to Haiti.

Elizabeth’s Traveling Tip:  To avoid unwanted mosquito bits, I wore light weight long shirts and pants both day and night.