March 5th, 2010
Good morning all. After returning from Haiti last Saturday night (2/27), our Hope family has been scurrying to plan and prepare for our next trip, since we are on a "short clock”. The three primary objectives we needed to accomplish on that trip were: 1) determine the structural stability of all our facilities in Guibert and prioritize repairs to be made; 2) make a final decision regarding the plan for the "tract" houses we will be building in that village and others as we have opportunity and resources; and, 3) finalize plans for our first construction team which will be in Haiti from March14-21. As you might imagine the logistics for arranging travel to and from Haiti at this time are still an enormous challenge. Jen Sutton has been incredibly diligent and relentless in her pursuit of finding flights for the 16 who will be making that trip.
First, with the wonderful aid of a local structural engineer who gave his time to go with us, we discovered that there are some important repair priorities to complete before we move our children back in to the facilities. They are:
#1. Repair damage to the second floor boys’ suite in their home by creating two 18"X18" columns with 12" beams to carry the weight of the concrete roof that is in place. We will be "overbuilding" the structure as a precaution.
#2. The stair well between the first and second floor of the boys’ suite will also be reinforced with the addition of another concrete column and the addition of a 12" beam.
#3. The middle wall on the first floor of the three-story school building will be restructured as a solid concrete wall.
Other projects to be accomplished are the repair of the two of our three 10,000 gallon water cisterns that failed and the strengthening of the truss system on the church roof. The top three priorities should be completed in the next month to six weeks.
Second, final plans were drawn for the tract houses. The houses will be 11'4"X30', about 360 square feet, having three rooms. The walls will have steel reinforcement vertically every 16" and horizontally every two rows of block. The roof will be a shed roof made of roofing metal. All labor will be volunteer, a combination of Haitian homeowners and church members, with American volunteer teams to assist as available. The cost of the materials will be about $7,740.00. I have attached a copy of our cost analysis.
Third, our desire was to build the first house on the first group trip after the earthquake. Transportation and customs challenges as well as building repair priorities have put us in the position of working on the minor (comparatively speaking) building repairs and beginning construction on the first home. We are excited about the construction of the houses because they will be built while sharing a curriculum of what it means to build a home and not just a house.
On Tuesday afternoon (3/2) at about 2:00 PM 12 pallets of emergency relief goods were released to us by Haitian Customs for NO fees or duty! That was the culmination of an eleven-day ordeal during which, at one point, they were demanding $14,000.00 in duty….another miracle has occurred! We also think this may be a hint of future help for us getting essential supplies in.
In the course of all our labors and relief efforts, we are engaging our Haitian leadership and village families in plans regarding long-term financial recovery through micro enterprise and job creation.
Everyday we see results that strengthen our resolve, and demonstrate the Lord’s favor. Thank you all for your faithfulness and your continued encouragement.