On site in Haiti – By Billy Ponko

Billy Ponko is currently working in the town of Saintard where The Fuller Center is partnering with Sundouloi Ministries, Inc. (SMI).

Things looked good there. It’s really good to see progress and walk through where houses will soon stand. The couple, Mark and Sandra, are great people and were awesome hosts for Gerson, Gilbert (the driver) and myself. It was a pleasant and not overwhelming way to make the transition down.

Facilities: The SMI guest house is open and spacious. More dorm style than the individual rooms. There is probably enough single beds to sleep 30 but they have room to reach a capacity of 50. I think with enough notice they could gather more beds from the other location in town that can sleep 150. Sandra is a great cook and Mark is very good at explaining their last few months acclimating to this new environment. There are walls around the building with a large church worship out building too. The water is Culligan and clean and pretty cold and food is excellent. There are at least three shower stalls and toilets in each men’s and women’s space. There are many windows and doors that keep air flowing through to keep things as cool as they can be. We even slept on a balcony the two nights we were there. There is a large living and dining space on the first floor with some storage and exterior covered parking spaces or storage stalls. There are two Haitians on staff to help, but a cook and a cleaner will probably be added when more people start coming through. There is no internet access yet, but power and fans and lights run most of the time if needed. The drive from the airport is much quicker than to Leogane and the setting is nicer overlooking the Caribbean rather than tent camps and trash piles.

House progress: The houses are moving along. They seem to be a good size. The setting is nice, protected in a walled area near a school; you can see the children around. The contractors seem to be doing good clean work. They are the same guys that have been used elsewhere on SMI projects, which are all nice. There is no evident earthquake damage to any of their buildings, but there is not much damage anywhere when compared to the 85 percent losses in Leogane. The town is a nice small size and Frank and Mark seem to have good connections to get everything they need there or in the next town up. We met with their metal worker whom will make the trusses and window and door frames. He does very nice work. We discussed how to construct trusses using less material and how to do the webbing to make a stronger and more stable truss. He understood a better design can save on material costs that are limited here. It was a good meeting.

Learn more about the project in Haiti on our Haiti page.

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