A man, left, plays music with his shovel as laborers work to his rhythm as they build a road that will lead to an exploratory drill site in Trou Du Nord, Haiti, April, 9, 2012, ( Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery)

Part 1 of 2 about konbit in our ongoing State of Haiti series

PIGNON, Haiti—Massène Accilien, a veteran farmer in the Nan Charles village in northern Haiti commune, gets up at 5 a.m. to tend to his sugarcane crop. This past May, when the crop was ready, he spent weeks looking for a day laborer to help him harvest the sugarcane, but no workers were available. 


Konbit, the Haitian farming custom deeply rooted in collective effort for food production and other socio-economic systems, is disappearing in many provinces, including Pignon. The shortage of people available or interested in farmwork is impacting output in entire towns, and perhaps the very idea of “carrying the load together” that had permeated the Haitian mindset, ways and culture beyond the fields.

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Murdith Joseph is a social worker and journalist. She studied at the State University of Haiti and Maurice Communication. She first worked as a journalist presenter and reporter for Radio Sans Fin (RSF) then as a journalist reporter for Radio tele pacific and writting for the daily Le National. Today she joined the Haitian Times team and covers the news in Port-Au-Prince-Haiti.