Feb 12 - All Hands on Deck
Bonjou from Haiti!
Today we had our hardest work day so far, but we made a lot of progress toward getting the foundation poured. It was also the hottest day we’ve had so far, though even 82 degrees seems much hotter when the humidity is so high. And the sun is intense—several of us have bright red noses, necks and arms—even with strong sunscreen! We are grateful for small shady areas we can rest in, for plenty of clean water in our cooler, and for the small breezes that cool us when we’re sweaty and tired.
We had a lot of work to do at the house work site, so it was “all hands on deck”—most of the team worked on the house today, doing a wide variety of jobs, most of which were very physical and very much in the open, under the sun. We noted that this is winter in Haiti, so what we consider hot and humid, they consider cool and pleasant. The summer heat is much, much worse. And yet the Haitians somehow survive.
The Haitian plumber came today and began the plumbing work for the house, while several of us worked on installing the electrical conduit, preparing the wire mesh for the foundation pour, and wiring the wire mesh to the rebar cages that will be part of the foundation footers. We also began installing the wooden forms for the foundation pour, which is scheduled to happen tomorrow.
From L-R: We completed the installation of the electrical conduit today; Stephanie ties wire mesh together in preparation for the foundation pour; Carolyn and Kenna tying wire mesh to the foundation footer cages; Our Haitian plumber and his crew completed the plumbing installation today. (Click on photos to view full-size images.)
A large load of gravel and sand was brought to the site a couple of days ago, and today the Haitian concrete crew began to prepare the ground between the gravel pile and the foundation pad for mixing concrete. They will mix on the ground, a bag or two of cement at a time, while mixing in the sand and gravel in the right proportions. Then the concrete will be brought to the foundation site, essentially one shovelful at a time. It will take most of the day, and the work will be hard, but Haitians are accustomed to hard work. It takes a lot of work to survive here.
The children were very curious about the white people at the work site, and at the end of their school day, they swarmed around some of us, posing for pictures and having a ball. The children here at the Kids Alive school get a better education than they might get otherwise, and they are loved and cared for, which is huge, given that some of them come from situations of horrendous abuse or neglect.
We’re only able to send a small fraction of the photographs that we’re taking—but any member of our team will be happy to share pictures with you when we return!
We wish you could see the children we get to see every day here—they are so friendly, so full of life, and so curious about the white visitors that have showed up in their world! We wish you could meet the Kids Alive staff who have been helping us and supporting our work this week. We wish you could see for yourself the oppressive poverty, the lack of basic infrastructure, and all of the creative ways that Haitians manage to eke out a living in this difficult place.
There is a Haitian couple living in a small concrete block house near our team house—they have nothing but dirt around the house--no grass lawn—but each morning the man of the house goes out to sweep the leaves from the dirt.
As always, your prayers are much appreciated.
Doug Heacock, on behalf of the team