So this morning we started on the first Leogane house. It is a bit different from the Saint Ard experience as we only had two volunteers from the States during the morning and another arrived after lunch. It was still amazing despite the differences. The team is from a large Baptist church outside Washington D.C., Alfred Street Baptist Church. They are here as a trial run for future construction trips and to explore the realities of Haiti and help us work out the details with church congregations here. This group is part of a large Convention of churches under the Lott Carey Baptist Foreign Mission Convention umbrella.
The morning started out with a group of volunteers and hired Haitian Masons. Habitat for Humanity has helped pair us with some “contractors” they are using here in Leogane. Really quickly mountains of rubble started to move. The floor slab for the house was mostly clear, but the rubble of the existing house was still mostly on the property. It was so impressive how the morning seemed to fly by. The task at hand seemed so daunting and unobtainable, yet every time I looked over at a pile it was almost gone. It was like a team of ants that just kept a train going. We cleared all the rubble complete from within their walls of block and barb wire. That in itself one could be proud of giving to any family.
While the local volunteers of all ages and even women too worked on the rubble, our guys started tearing out the old foundations around the edge of the slab. I was truly astonishing how easy rock and, what they call, concrete just crumbled away. the whole perimeter was excavated by lunch time. Gerson and Heather were busy running errands all over town. A car would go one way and a moto the other trying to get materials and tools. By 10 am I was calling for more and more. That is a good thing as we exceeded our expectations for the day.
The masons are pretty incredible. Contrary to the past situation and building failures they have a pretty comprehensive understanding of how to move forward. I learned I just had to plant a seed and they were able to question and understand things completely. Often wanting to do more. I finally had to ask why they hadn’t done things “correctly” before, and the response was they never worried about earthquakes, but no understand the need for a strong building. So the afternoon went on and we continued with our day. We had another delivery of steel for columns and grade beams for footings and we worked with the team to tie and bend rebar.
Tomorrow will hopefully start bright and early again and be as productive. I really doubted our ability to be at this point a week ago, but it’s been a blessing so far. a real challenge to keep blazing forward and pushing for more and more houses. Through this all I have lots to do to keep things organized and the “books” neat. One of these afternoons I am going to have to take some time and catch up. It’s okay, it means things are good and where they are supposed to be.