So, now you’ll get the update about the fun adventures of the past 2 weeks.
It all started (mostly) on Monday, the 19th.
I got a call from a new friend of ours named Jason Unze.
Jason, his wife Erica, and their friend Brittany, have founded a ministry called Reimagine Haiti, in a town called Belle Anse. This was exciting to me, because Belle Anse has no missionaries in permanent residence. Therefore, they are in a place where the need is great, and no one is reaching it.
So, already I like what they’re up to. Also, I had met Jason once before, and found out that he has a background in construction, and we talked shop a bit. And, he asked me a bunch of questions about solar power, because they are just about totally off-grid.
Jacmel, where we live, is on the south coast, and it already a 3+ hours drive from Port-Au-Prince. To get to Belle Anse, you pass through Jacmel, and continue on the road to Marigot, about 30 minutes east of our house.
From Marigot, you have 3 main options:
-By truck, which is typically reserved for cargo only, there is a road which takes about 4 hours.
-By motorcycle taxi, you can get to Belle Anse in about 2.5 hours for about $20/person.
-By boat, it takes anywhere from 1-2.5 hours, depending on currents, wave size, and whether the boat has it’s 40 HP motor, or the 15 HP motor for your trip.
So, anyhow, on the 19th, Jason came into Jacmel, and called me. He had about $500, and was tasked with finding them a way to get power. His plan, as we had talked before, was to get a small gas generator for about $300, and spend the rest on a battery charger and inverter.
I had told him previously that he could use the few extra batteries I had laying around. They are well used, and I don’t know how long they’ll last, but it will buy him some time to save up money to expand their system later.
So, we went on a hunt. We knew that in Port-Au-Prince, you can buy a 2700 Watt generator for $300. We went to every hardware store I knew of here in Jacmel. We found nothing. I called every haitian I could think of here in Jacmel to ask where to find a generator, and no one had any idea.
Jacmel has well over 150,000 people. One would think there would be a generator for sale somewhere here. In the end, we only found one. And they wanted $500 for the same generator that is $300 in Port Au Prince. So, we had to rethink our plans.
Realizing that this would require some Port Au Prince shopping, I called some other missionaries here in Jacmel, and eventually found that the Hands and Feet Project was sending some people to PAP on a MAF flight (Missions Aviation Fellowship) the next day.
They weren’t going to the hardware store, and they weren’t coming back til Wednesday anyhow, but it gave me an idea.
I called Tim, who is a pilot with MAF, and he was amazing and saved the day. He went and bought the generator for $300 and sent it down on the plane that was picking up Stephen and the Hands and Feet crew, and we gave the pilot money to give back to Tim.
So, it took an extra day, but Jason got his generator, and he spent a night at our house waiting for it to get delivered.
Then, we decided it would be great if I could head out to Belle Anse to help with the 3 systems that Reimagine Haiti now has. So, we decided to make that happen.
That brings us to Wednesday, the 28th. It took longer than expected, but eventually Jamie, Gayly, Waly, and I headed out to Belle Anse. It took us about 2 hours of choppy water, a few engine stalls, and finally another boat showing up to give us a new outboard motor, but we got there safely 🙂
Finally, we got there, and got to work. Gayly and Waly took measurements for quite a few windows, doors, and gates that Reimagine needs, so they can start working on them here in Jacmel. After they got their measurements, the guys hopped on a moto and headed back to Jacmel.
Jamie and I mostly hung out that night and got to meet Erika (Jason’s wife), Maria (a 6 month missionary), Brittany (the co-founder of Reimagine) and Megan (an intern). We shared stories, and generally just had a great time getting to know this crew. Please keep them in your prayers, as they are a community unto themselves. Obviously, they will bond with the local people, but we have learned here in Jacmel how important it is to have a strong christian community to support each other. We look forward to our chances to work with them more, even as a refuge with power and running water here in Jacmel when they need a break.
Thursday, I got to work with Jason, and we installed small solar power systems on Maria and Brittany’s houses, which they had previously purchased but weren’t sure how to install, and then we made sure Jason’s system was working properly as well.
So, that is our most recent project here. I look forward to helping Reimagine get things moving in their little corner of the country. 🙂
Also, we’re still moving forward on the land/workshop, and are excited to be coming back to the US in early June. I would like to do a “missions update” night while we are home, to show pictures, answer questions, etc, so please let me know if you are interested in that.
I like speaking at churches, but I never want to focus too much on what we are doing at a sunday morning services, because I see those chances as more about teaching, preaching, and challenging, rather than sharing all our stories and updates.