Bourik with Chrysopogon Zizanioides

  • Posted on: 28 May 2008
  • By: Bryan Schaaf
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Last week Bourik (BOS) found some feed he best not munch on, chrysopogon zizanioides. This plant, although not nearly as hefty as the volume of mangos exported from Haiti, estimated to be well over 4,500,000 pounds annually is still a lucrative crop. Commonly known as Vetiver, Haiti’s soil conditions, yes an anomaly, allow for some of the best variety of this plant in the world to be grown in this marginalized Caribbean country. And alas a battered yet durable environment is why Haiti is one of the leading producers of Vetiver and one of the markets premier supplies of the essential oil extracted which, comes from the roots of the plant. Bourik learned some time ago that the top producer of Vetiver oil here in Haiti records average annual revenues of 13 million USD. Each one-gallon of Vetiver oil produced sells wholesale for $500 USD and there are at least 500 gallons of this essential perfume ingredient exported every year from Haiti alone. Vetiver is a fixative for perfumes meaning it is a preservative or stabilizing agent. And when it interacts with other perfume substances it has a multitude of benefits. Currently at least 3 plants are producing Vetiver in Haiti. And how does a Bourik know so much about the Vetiver? Because he was hoofing it through Gressier just outside of Port-au-Prince where he visited one of these plants and learned how it was processed.

BOS: Thanks for receiving me. Is there some were I can piss?
TiMax: Yes, come over here.
BOS: Thanks again. Ok where do we start? What is that?
TiMax: That’s the Boiler?
BOS: The Boiler?
TiMax: Yes.
BOS: And what does it do, TiMax?
TiMax: It heats the water.
BOS: Ok but before we get to that, what is that over there?
TiMax: That’s the warehouse.
BOS: And what is inside it?
TiMax: I’ll show you.
BOS: It has wood.
TiMax: Yes, candle wood trees.
BOS: Candlewood trees. Where do you find candlewood here?
TiMax: You can’t find it here. You buy it.
BOS: But where do you buy it?
TiMax: The Dominican Republic.
BOS: But Haiti did have it?
TiMax: Yes, Haiti did have it but not anymore. That’s why we buy it from the Dominican Republic.
BOS: And that is a mill?
TiMax: Yes, this is where it eats the candlewood. And it turns to saw dust.
BOS: Then what do you do with it like that?
TiMax: You put it in those tanks.
BOS: When do you do that?
TiMax: When you have enough candlewood.
BOS: Ok, let’s go look at the rest of the plant.
TiMax: Ok let’s go.
BOS: Where do you stock the vetiver?
TiMax: In that big warehouse.
BOS: And what is under the blue tarp there?
TiMax: Vetiver we just bought.
BOS: How much did it cost?
TiMax: A big truck load like that cost 4000 dollars.
TiMax: No, Haitian dollars!
BOS: Oy! Ok, you take the weed and then what?
TiMax: We put it in the big tanks up there.
BOS: I can take a look?
TiMax: Yes, go up.
BOS: Ok, you fill the tank up with the roots, yes?
TiMax: Yes.
BOS: How many tanks do you have here?
TiMax: We have 12 tanks.
BOS: Then you fill the tanks with the roots and you close the tanks?
TiMax: Yes.
BOS: After that what do you do?
TiMax: We put the boiler on. And the steam passes in the tank from underneath.
BOS: Steam passes in the tank where the roots are?
TiMax: Than the oil passes through those pipes in the pool of water, that has cold water.
BOS: Why like that?
TiMax: Well, because that’s the way it is.
BOS: No, but why does it go through the cold water?
TiMax: Well, for the oil can get cold.
Bos: How much time does all of this take?
TiMax: It can take 24 to 36 hours.
BOS: All that time? And there is always someone here watching?
TiMax: Yes, you have to watch to control the valve and all.
BOS: Well. After that?
TiMax: After that it comes down here through the pipes into this room.
BOS: This room like a prison?
TiMax: Yes, we can’t get in there.
BOS: Why?
TiMax: Because we don’t have the key.
BOS: Thanks. TiMax

Kreyol Version:

BOS: Mesi pou resvwa nou, Ti Max. Gen yon kote m ka pipi?
TiMax: Wi, met vin la.
BOS: Mesi anko. Ok, kote nap komanse? Kisa sa ye?
TiMax: Sa se Boiler a?
BOS: The Boiler?
TiMax: Wi.
BOS: E kisa li fè TiMax?
TiMax: Li chofe dlo a.
BOS: Ok men anvann sa a. Kisa sa ye la?
TiMax: Sa se depo a.
BOS: E sa li genyen landan?
TiMax: Map montre ou.
BOS: Gen bwa.
TiMax: Wi, se bwachandèl.
BOS: Bwa chandel. Kote ou jwenn bwachandèl, isit?
TiMax: Ou pat jwenn li la. Achte l pou achte l.
BOS: Men kote wap achte l?
TiMax: Sen Doming.
BOS: Men Ayiti te genyen.
TiMax: Wi, Ayiti te genyen men pa gen anko. Pou sa nou achte l Sen Doming.
BOS: E sa se yon Moulin?
TiMax: Wi, se la lap manje bwa chandel yo. Epi li tounen sab konsa.
BOS: Epi kisa ou fè avek li konsa?
TiMax: Ou mete li nan doum sa yo.
BOS: Kile ou fè sa a?
TiMax: Lè ou gen ase bwachandèl.
BOS: Enbyen. Fò nou al gade lòt isin la.
TiMax: Ok ann ale.
BOS: Kote ou stoke vetivè yo?
TiMax: Nan gwo depo sa a.
BOS: Epi kisa anba bagay blè a?
TiMax: Se vetivè nou fek achte yè.
BOS: Konbyen li koute?
TiMax: Yon gwo kamyon konsa koute nou 4000 dola.
TiMax: Non, dola ayisyen!
BOS: Oy! Bon ou prann zeb la e sa ou fè ave l?
TiMax: Nou mete anwo nan gwo doum yo.
BOS: M ka gade anwo?
TiMax: Wi, met monte.
BOS: Ok, ou plenn doum sa yo avek rasin yo, wi?
TiMax: Wi.
BOS: Konbyen doum ou genyen la?
TiMax: Nou gen 12 doum.
BOS: Epi, ou plenn doum yo avek rasin epi ou femen doum yo.
TiMax: Wi.
BOS: Apre sa a kisa ou fè?
TiMax: Nou mete boiler sou on. E vapè pase nan doum yo anba.
BOS: Vapè pase nan doum kote rasin yo ye?
TiMax: Epi, lwil ap pase nan tiyo sa yo ki pase nan pisin dlo sa ki gen dlo fret.
BOS: Poukisa li fè konsa?
TiMax: Bon paske konsa li fet.
BOS: Non, men poukisa li pase nan dlo fret?
TiMax: Bon, pou lwil ka fret tou.
Bos: Konbyen tan tout sa a prann?
TiMax: Li ka prann 24è jiska 36è.
BOS: Toutan sa a? E gen moun la pou gade?
TiMax: Wi, ou oblije gade l e kontwole, vann yo e tout.
BOS: Ebyen. E apre sa a?
TiMax: Apre sa a li vin desann isit e li pase nan tiyo toujou pou rive nan chanm sa a.
BOS: Chanm sa a ki kom yon prizon?
TiMax: Wi nou pa ka pase la.
BOS: Poukisa?
TiMax: Paske nou pa gen kle.
BOS: Mesi TiMax

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