I am off to Haiti early Monday morning, taking a familiar trip that I haven’t made in over a year. I’ll be traveling with Conor Shapiro, Executive Director of Saint Boniface Hospital in Fond des Blancs, the largest hospital in Haiti’s southern peninsula, and acute care center for children from Be Like Brit orphanage and Mission of Hope School.
I’ve been working with Conor and others from Saint Boniface for several months designing a TB and infectious disease pavilion as well as an expansion of the their emergency department / operating suite. We received funding from USAID for the infectious disease pavilion, and so are making a site visit to coordinate design details with site conditions and local clinicians. We hope the ED/OR expansion will be funded soon.
This is an exciting project that will offer improved health care for the two million people in the southern peninsula. But it also represents the changing face of design and construction in Haiti – at least in my personal experience.
These projects, funded by international aid agencies rather than local initiatives, are organized along the lines of design and construction we have in the United States. I’ll develop the design, but won’t be doing direct construction work as I did in my projects after the earthquake; there are local and American construction teams for that. This reflects more sophisticated project delivery for Haiti, but less hands-on work for me.
I am also going to have two days in Grand Goave; a chance to visit Dieunison and Dieurie and other friends there. Fortunately, Lex and Renee have a list of things for me to do. They know how I hate to just sit around visiting. I love Haiti, but I lack the social gene so common among Haitians.