The Saddlers Herbal Project in St. Kitts
Twenty-three years ago, Stennett “Kwando” Harvey was a rising athlete star in the small island-nation of St. Kitts. Highly gifted in Tae Kwan Do, he was quickly becoming a regional star in the sport with the potential to take the international stage and represent St. Kitts all around the world. All of this tragically ended with a motorcycle accident that required the amputation of his left leg. Not willing to give up on his potential, Stennett retreated to his family farmland high in the hills of Saddlers in the countryside of St. Kitts, where he spent the following months teaching himself how to do daily activities with his one leg. All on his own, he rehabilitated himself to work on his farmland (another passion of his), continued his Tae Kwan Do training, and discovered within himself a spiritual side that he didn’t know he possessed.
Now, Kwando (as he is known throughout the island), a beekeeper, farmer, and spiritual healer, has teamed up with his significant other, Dr. Elisabeth Karamat, to establish the Saddlers Herbal Project. Dr. Karamat, a former Austrian diplomat who was sent to St. Kitts four years ago by the Vienna Archdiocese to promote agriculture to the youth of St. Kitts. Together, they are striving to work with both youth and local farmers to establish organic and more productive farming practices in the face of a devastating pest in the form of the invasive Green Vervet Monkeys found throughout the island in large numbers.
The Saddlers Herbal Project has three main goals:
- Plant medicinal and aromatic plants in monkey-infested agricultural areas around Saddlers as alternatives to food crops
- Work with youth to transmit traditional plant knowledge and offer hands-on agricultural training together with international volunteers and advisors
- Gather international university cooperation for joint research to occur on the farm
Currently, with the assistance of Peace Corps Volunteer Andrew Davis, the Saddlers Herbal Project is partnering with local schools and community-based organizations to provide opportunities for both students and at-risk youth who express an interest in agriculture. Through the use of summer camps, extracurricular activities, and mentors in the form of Kwando himself and international specialists, the Saddlers Herbal Project is taking vulnerable youth off the streets and giving them an opportunity to develop real skills and help them achieve something more meaningful.
Learn more about the project on their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/SaddlersHerbalProject