Haiti Trip Report – April 2019
Due to the recent political unrest in Haiti, Jeremy and Havard were forced to postpone an earlier scheduled trip, but things finally settled down and Jeremy just returned from a successful visit to Phaeton and our Noah’s Ark school.
In spite of significant challenges, the major undertaking of constructing a new 6 classroom building has made steady progress, and I am proud to report that the structure itself is completed. Over the next month, we will finish the floors, stub in the electrical wiring in anticipation of solar electricity, and paint inside and out. We have an excellent, strong building that will serve the school for years to come.
Related projects include relocating and fencing the garden, setting up its irrigation, and repurposing our old tent now used for two classrooms as a plant nursery. Whereas the kindergarten will remain in the original building, one of those classrooms will become the Principal’s office, and another used for teachers and school supplies. The new building will also allow us to reclaim the kitchen storage room, now used as a classroom. We also secured the donation of 20 desks (3 students per desk) by Plan, and have sourced the necessary teacher desks, chairs and blackboards which will be ready for the next school year.
Once we have everything in place, we will embark on the next phase of improvements which consists of new latrines, a dining/all-purpose pavilion, and a proper gate and gate house. At every step, we will improve the school grounds with plantings and better areas for recess play and activities.
Earlier in the month, Pat Laidlaw, our devoted Canadian friend, made one of her regular trips to Phaeton. Pat always brings an assortment of books and supplies difficult to find in Haiti. Her special focus is with the Garden Project, and the challenges of improving the soil, providing sufficient water, and fending off the goats and other critters. Pat also spent several days at the school, interacting with the kids, teaching music, and culminating with Pat’s “Crazy Day”, her own version of a Field Day which the kids love.
Things are always difficult in Haiti, but the recent political unrest, self-inflicted crisis of a gas shortage, and high inflation required an heroic effort by the building team to design and construct our new classroom building. Great thanks go to our In-Country Director Elmond Jean, School Principal Patrick LaCombe, engineer George, and Mason Master Jocelyn who, along with many dedicated friends from the community, persevered through an assortment of obstacles. We are now well-positioned to expand and continue TCI’s mission in Phaeton.
This project will greatly enhance the quality of life for over a hundred children and the entire community, providing them with hope and the tools for a brighter future. It was a major undertaking for TCI, and the support for the Capital Campaign by so many of our friends and donors is greatly appreciated.
– Jeremy Hubball