Ten months have passed since we began construction on Be Like Brit Orphanage. The road is stable, though prone to washout; the foundations are complete. Len goes to Haiti every two to three weeks and is anxious to begin the actual walls, but security is an ongoing problem, so first
we have to build a wall around the site. It should be done by Christmas. I get photographs and videos almost daily but there is not much need for me to visit. When we have to lay out electrical,
plumbing and other fixtures I will go again.
Clinic construction is erratic but the first floor walls are installed and we hope to pour the roof this fall. In the meantime, outdoor clinics are still held every few months. The building will make permanent healthcare that the local community has come to reply upon. We have big plans – eventually adding a dental clinic, radiology and even two operating rooms, but plans are easier to conceive than buildings are to build, so it will all take time.
The Mission of Hope School received their grant. I returned to Haiti for trip number five in May 2011 to lay out the school on the site, which was complicated by the need to demolish and remove the existing earthquake damaged portions of their compound. As of today, excavation is complete and the base foundation is in place. Classes are taking place in temporary lean-tos. Our
vision to open the new building next fall is optimistic; the only constant in Haitian construction is delay.
The three projects continue in fits and starts and there are times when it seems there is no forward movement. But change occurs slowly, especially in a place as fluid as Haiti. Earthquakes and
hurricanes, revolts and elections, it is a society of disruption. Still, the objective in our three construction projects has been to ‘raise the bar’, which we have. We have designed improved strength concrete blocks and started a local plant that sells block around the countryside. Over 100 people have been employed by the three projects – money going directly to Haitians who are rebuilding their country. Still, we don’t have any completed buildings; we may not for a year or two or even three. By some measures, our progress is not much, but we are moving forward.
It sounds to me as though you’ve accomplished much, even if there isn’t a roof up yet. 100 jobs is a huge achievement, and better concrete blocks will mean all that’s built will last. Good work.