Last year at Repatriot, the wall around the compound wasn’t complete in the back, and the area between the school and the right wall was often standing water. When we got there, the frames were in place for the pouring of the foundation for the school. The church was meeting under a tent placed above the foundation of the old church building (which was about all that was left of the old church building).
This year the wall around the compound is complete. The area to the right of the school has been leveled out and will eventually be a soccer field. Currently, however, the tent that the church is meeting under has been moved to that location. A new foundation has been poured for the church building, which expands the old foundation by 1/3. The foundation was curing while we were there, and the pouring of columns was to begin just after we left. Construction experts from the United States were coming in to supervise the pouring of the columns, as the Haitian construction crews are not currently fully educated in pouring columns to meet earthquake standards. The school is currently operating, though it needed a paint job, which we provided.
At Citi Soliel, the medical clinic we helped clean up construction debris from last year is now fully functional and seeing up to 500 people a day.
|Last year – The exterior construction is complete, but work needs to be done on the inside still.||This year – the clinic is complete inside and out and operational.|
Tent cities near the airport and the Presidential Palace last year were gone this year.
|Last Year - Tent City near the airport||Last Year – Tent City near Presidental Palace|
This year – parks around Presidental Palace are vacant
One of the main roads we traveled on between locations last year was a dirt road, this year its concrete:
|Last Year||This year|
One of the first things we did after we arrived is painting a couple of the preschool classrooms in the school at Blanchard. These were existing classrooms that had been painted before, but the paint was in pretty bad shape
Children enjoying their freshly painted classroom
We also did some painting on the church in Blanchard:
|Scraping the flaking paint off the cross on top of the church||Painting some of the trim around the sides of the church|
Besides painting, the other major thing we did down there was putting new roofs on 7 homes in the Citi Soliel area. You can get a feel for what some of the roofs looked like before we replaced them by looking at the neighboring roofs.
We did visit the tent city near City Soliel that we visited on my last trip. The main sign of progress here is that the tent city is smaller. Pastor Kelly took us on a tour towards the back where you could look over a river and see the housing that had been put up recently and apparently holds many of the families that were in the tent city when we were here last.
The downside is that they are quite a number of people still in this particular tent city, and it’s now been over two years since the earthquake. Many of the tents no longer keep out rain, which occurs on almost a nightly basis there this time of year.
We did take a little time off on Sunday afternoon to visit one of the local beaches. On the way, we were stopped at a Haitian police checkpoint. Given how chaotic the traffic is in Haiti, I was somewhat surprised that what they were checking for at the checkpoint is that all drivers have licenses and insurance. When you get a traffic ticket in Haiti, they take your license and you have 3 days to pay the ticket to get it back. One of the drivers of our 3 tap-taps apparently had gotten a ticket and hadn’t gotten his license back yet, and so the Haitian police were grilling him about it. That was, until the UN showed up and parked at the checkpoint as well. Shortly after the UN arrived the Haitian police seemed to lose interest in us.
That’s one of the other big changes I noticed since last year as well. Last year, I think I might have seen the UN three times, including one time they flew over in a helicopter. This year we probably had a UN sighting at least once an hour anytime we were on the major roads.
|Haitian Police checkpoint||UN arriving at the checkpoint|
Perhaps the good thing about the delay at the checkpoint is that we got to this next scene much later. I had often noted that no matter how chaotic traffic was in Haiti, I never saw any traffic accidents. Well, this time we saw the aftermath of one, and it was pretty significant. We got there just after the ambulance left. It looks like the truck that hit the school bus was demolished. Other than going off the side of the road, it looks like the school bus was in good shape. There were a number of people still around the crash site yelling praises to God that they had been spared.
The only traffic accident I’ve seen in my two visits to Haiti
One of the most touching moments for me on this trip had to be when I serendipitously got to watch Pastor Kelly and his wife Carrie meet the child they were sponsoring at the Repatriote school for the first time.
I’ve been sponsoring kids in Haiti for over 20 years now (3 boys at a time, as well as 3 girls in South American countries). However, the boys I sponsor in Haiti are in the northern part of the island, so I haven’t had a chance to meet them while I’ve been down there. In any event, this year I decided I’d pick up an additional two kids from Haiti Outreach Ministries (the folks that run the churches, schools and clinics we’re working at) so I can visit them next year. I originally hoped to find a brother/sister set in the City Soliel area, but the only siblings they had available were sisters in Repatriote, so I sponsored them.
If you’d like to consider sponsoring kids as well, you can do so at the Haiti Outreach Ministries (HOM) web site (http://www.haitioutreachministries.org/student-sponsorships.aspx). There is no public school in Haiti, so if these children are going to be able to go to school, it’s only because folks like you and I sponsor them. Right now HOM only operates primary schools, and then sends the kids off to other high schools when they graduate. They’re got plans in the works though to open a High School in the near future near the Repatriote site.
Finally, I want to thank you for your support, whether it was fiscal, prayer or both. Hopefully, you’ve been encouraged by the work we were able to accomplish down there with your support. So you know, I’ve also indicated my interest in going on the church’s 2 week missions trip to Beirut, Lebanon in late July and early August. Please be in prayer about that, as I’ll soon ask you to consider supporting me there as well.
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