This coming Monday, I will be blogging daily about my trip to Haiti. I want you all to tune in and read each daily entry. It's fascinating and since we lived like Haitians for a week, it's a wonderful chance to glimpse into the lives of the western world's most desperate poor.
So, mark you calendars and come back Monday!
Early in 2012, those of us from our church interested in taking a mission trip decided that we would go to the island nation of Haiti to build rubble homes. This past week, it finally happened. We were in Haiti. Over the next week, you can read the events of what happened to us transcribed from my journal.
To bring you up to speed, I'd like to tell you a little bit about rubble homes. In Haiti, when they make cement blocks, they don't always use the correct ratio of sand, water and cement. I don't know the exact ratio to make a decent cinder block here in Canada, but I can tell you that they probably use twice as much sand in the mix in Haiti. As a result, a cinder block may look marvelous, will literally crumble if squeezed by your hand. Since the majority of the homes in Haiti were made from cinder blocks with cement ceilings, and corners of cement and re-bar, (and often another storey was built exactly the same way on top,) these homes would never stand up to an earthquake.
When the earthquake hit Haiti in 2010, the majority of these homes crumbled like sand castles being hit by a wave at the beach. And rubble lay all about. A university in the United States devised a system of building a home that though it is not earthquake-proof, is much more durable and will allow its occupants to escape relatively unhurt. After the system was tested, they began to build these single-room rubble homes in an earthquake stricken Haiti.
A wire mesh cage, the size of the thick wall, with re-bar running from bottom to top, is set on footings, filled with rubble, which is simply the broken cinder blocks from the previous earthquake. The insides and outsides of the wall are cemented to a smooth stucco finish. An A-frame, and corrugated steel roof are added, extended at one end to create a simple porch. Two doors and windows made of specially designed diamond-holed cinder blocks, are built in to finish the home off.
So, our team traveled to Haiti to meet up with another team from the United States to hopefully build our own rubble home. For the next eight days, I will journal about our trip. For that time, we lived like Haitians in the town of Grand Goave. We weren't the first group of people to build rubble homes, and we won't be the last. But follow us along as we learn how to serve, how to work together with strangers and true humility.