BerksBarristerSpring2017 - 16

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MY MISSION TRIP TO HAITI

Continued from page 15

Referrals Accepted
and Reciprocated

Levi S. Wolf

Daniel E. McCabe

13 West Miner Street
West Chester, PA 19382

16 | Berks Barrister

although ALL water in Haiti was absolutely off limits for
drinking. Despite all precautions, four of our group of nine were
afflicted with intestinal problems. The Fuller Center had built
about 20 homes in Pignon and had plans to build another 20.
The house we built was number nine for our church. Driving
from the PAP airport to Pignon was interesting to say the least.
Leaving the airport and PAP in our huge van, we saw abject
poverty among the Haitian people. The 85 mile ride took four
hours. The first two hours, we covered about 65 miles on pretty
good roads. The remaining 20 miles took us two hours on rutted,
nearly impassable, dirt "roads." We learned that some of the
"roads" had been utterly impassable during flooding caused by
Hurricane Matthew's October visit.
The Haitians in Pignon were very friendly. We were the only
"Blancs" in the town of 30,000 residents. When passing anyone,
from the very young kids to senior citizens, "bonjour" or "bonsoir"
always elicited a large, warm smile and a similar reply. The kids
asked for our hats and gloves, the women sold souvenirs and
candy, and the men worked and played dominoes. At the schools,
the teachers gave the books and writing supplies to the girls
and gave the balls, frisbees, and games to the boys. I set about
remedying this disparity by playing "stone soccer" with one of the
older girls. She was really good at it.
The materials and tools for building the home of about 520
square feet (22 X 24): Cement blocks made in the street down
the road from the site, mortar (cement, sand, & water) mixed on
site, concrete (stones about 1 to 1-1/2 inches, cement, sand, &
water) also mixed on site, little rocks from 4-5 inches, big rocks
up to 100 pounds, 24-foot lengths of rebar, water (the nearest
cistern was 100 yards away) (I was amazed how much water goes
into mixing the cement and concrete), four shovels, one pick-axe,
a bunch of busted buckets, a couple mauls, levels, string, cement
trowels, and more.
None of our group are masons or construction experts
(although we did have an architect with us). Our role was almost
entirely limited to assisting through plain old manual labor. The
Fuller Center had hired five or six local guys to assure the home
was level and square, to mix and apply the cement and concrete,
and generally to do and direct the construction. We were lackeys,
running here and there, forming bucket brigades for cement,
concrete, water, sand, stones, rocks, and dirt, and doing whatever
needed doing that required no particular skill.
DAY ONE: We dug the foundation. Weather was 80
degrees with a nice cool ocean breeze from the west. The site is
on a hill so it was important to level the trenches out. We also
dug footers a couple feet deeper at nine places for the vertical
rebar wall supports. The downhill left corner and the 3 footers
closest to it were on solid rock and only heavy smashing with the
pick-axe and mauls could break them up. That task went largely
(but not entirely) to the biggest blanc there - moi. Fortunately,
the "solid" rock was limestone and could be broken up with some
good, hard whacks. From the first day to the last day, my legs,
arms, and back were sore. I was reminded of the two-a-day and
three-a-day August football practices at the start of a season. I
was a hurting puppy.


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