First, another update, including some pictures (gasp!). I could be wrong, but I feel like the three people reading this probaly like to get some pictures every now and then.
Then, a little reflection on the state of things.
and finally, more brilliant ideas if I had infinite time and money. So you can be praying that God will show me which ideas to chase and provide what is needed for each of them.
First, for the update.
Last week I worked in Port-Au-Prince. I would give you a better description, but I don’t have a clue where we were. Best estimate is SW of Delmas. I know we took Martin Luther King Blvd South to Rue Jean Paul II. Then we got on roads with names I didn’t know that were too skinny for my truck, but we made it anyhow. I learned to rely on co-pilots a lot on this trip as my crew would get out and guide me threw the most narrow spots.
I was working with a Pittsburgh group, and we were building a school where one had been destroyed by the earthquake. Claude, the school’s director, and his family have been living under tarps ever since. The kids had off school for the week so we could work, but he says there are about 300 students enrolled.
Interestingly, this is a school for very poor kids. On Saturday, some of them did show up (50 or so), and most of them did not have uniforms. Typically that is a requirement but I think the lack of funding is the main reason here.
In 4.5 days, our team managed to build up a 30 x 30 wood frame building with three rooms, including the floor joists and plywood floor that will be the second floor and a tin roof to cover it all right now. It was a lot of hard work, which is why I had to scramble for the only cover available to cool down for a few minutes on our last working day (Thursday), as shown in the picture.
I didn’t get my camera out early in the week, but it was a mess. Their floor, which was about 1/2″-1″ conrete was completely unlevel and required us to put down some new pads to build our place.
The haitians we were working with were quite helpful and learned quickly how we wanted to build. Then, when it came time for the tin roof, they showed us how it was done. 🙂
Here’s my new buddies, Justin and Ian. We worked as quite a crew with Scott Thomas all week. Justin and Ian are scott’s son and son-in-law respectively.
Then, there’s my break spot from Thursday, I just had to escape the sun for a few minutes.
and Finally, here’s some of the kids saying thank you with a sign Claude made.
Second, some thoughts on life.
This past weeked was 50 hours of prayer back at Crucified Ministries in Johnstown (my home). I took part from here, and realized that I desperately needed it. It was a great time of refreshment for me to spend time directly with God. I miss those times way too often, getting busy with work for Him and missing the opportunities to share with Him.
Today, not surprisingly, was also a chance to talk with some of the Haitians about Christ. It all started with us joking and calling each other “li fou” (the fool). Then I turned it on myself and said I was the fool.
When one of the haitians objected, I simply stated that I am a fool, cause I left the U.S., where I had a house and a job (sort of, or at least I could have one if i wanted) (let’s go the whole way back to my Duotech days and I had a house and good paying job, lol), and I came to Haiti, where I have no house, and no income.
But, I continued, I am not the fool cause I have Christ. And He has a house for me, and He has money for me, and He will allow me to have it when I need it. So I am not a fool, cause I have exactly what I need and nothing more.
Third, F1 status update.
Tomorrow I will finish putting solar panels on the roof at Kay Militon for Mission of Hope (Grand Goave). Supposed to finish today, but my winch didn’t work as well as I had hoped.
Wednesday, I’ll head to Madame Bonite’s to put in solar panels for her. They’ve been sitting around way too long here in Grand Goave and she can really use the power.
Friday, hopefully, I’ll head to Les Cayes to figure out what is going on out there. However, there may be some flooding so that will be weather dependent.
I still haven’t had an opportunity to do my electricians class, though I have learned a lot recently. So, I’m not too disappointed as long as I am learning skills that will ultimately make me a better teacher when I have the class.
As for the factory ideas, I haven’t gotten to do any testing yet. Been too busy with projects that have a direct short-term impact and it is hard for me to say no to those.
Finally, with some new big picture ideas.
I’m looking at some new stepping stones to the eventual factory plan.
First, I have yet to find anyone in country that offers good prices on solar equipment. So, perhaps I should start with a retail solar store, with the primary goals being cost-efficient distribution to those in need and employment, and maybe some money will come in with it. Great idea, but this is looking like a sizeable capital idea. Need to find a shipping solution, so let me know if you have an idea. Best so far is to ship a box truck and resell it here, ends up costing about $6-7k probably. That would neccesitate a large order of inverters, solar panels, and batteries to sell to cover that cost.
Second, I’ve heard of lots of equipment going down. Generators, inverters, etc, and there is no one to fix them. Companies dont fix this type of stuff stateside anymore. They are typically BER (beyond economic repair), mostly due to labor rates. I am thinking that is I started with warehouse, I could collect broken stuff, evaluate it, maybe fix some, and maybe learn the common failure points. This would potentially provide some low cost equipment to those that need it most, and teach me a lot about current design and its flaws as I try to come up with a design for our factory. Overall, this idea isn’t as ridiculous, but I’d be needing to establish a warehouse type building somewhere down here. Maybe $10-20k, or more depending on the situation.
Third, and finally I have an easier one.
I want to start a database for pricing throughout haiti. Ideally it will be user updateable and I may cheat and use a google Docs spreadsheet for now. I have prices for everything I thought was important at MSCplus in Port-au-PRince, and some prices from a bunch of other stores. It’d be a great start and others can add prices as they do their projects, so people could actually shop at the best store for their project, and come up with a decent estimate ahead of time.
This one I will start very soon, maybe tonight.
Sorry for the long update, but I think it was worth it.