Action Update, July 21, 2011
Resisting Obstacles with Optimism, Now Closer than Ever
Over a year ago, we made it our mission to develop a Little Haiti House Village that would provide safe housing for Haiti’s earthquake victims. While we have been working hard on making our dream a reality, we have at times been somewhat frustrated at the slow rate of progress. We have, however, always maintained an optimistic perspective and after our most recent trip to Haiti, we are even more optimistic than ever before and anxious to begin our project. We are closer than ever to acquiring land for our first village, and we are convinced that very soon we will realize our dream of providing hundreds of families with a new way of life.
Last year we presented our project to Archbishop Thomas Wenski from the Catholic Diocese of Miami. I was aware of Archbishop Wenski’s ties to Haiti and was curious about his perception of our initiative. We wondered if he believed that our Little Haiti House initiative was a good idea or if he believed we would succeed in accomplishing our goal. – These were some of the questions we asked during the first meeting with him. He assured us that our dream was indeed possible and that we must continue to reach out to our Haitian brothers and sisters in order to make our dream come true. After the meeting, Archbishop Wenski offered to deliver a copy of our plans to Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Apostolic Nuncio to Haiti. After several months of review, the Nuncio called with great news. He had some land for us!
During our most recent visit to Haiti, we were honored to meet Haiti’s new President Michel Martelly who has been aware of our work in Haiti throughout the years and is excited about our Little Haiti House initiative. Our meeting with President Martelly we believe was a sign that we are closer than ever to starting our first village. A few hours later we made it to the 60+ acre site and it is absolutely beautiful! There are trees, lush landscaping, gardens, a farm, mountains, and a refreshing Caribbean breeze that makes you want to stay forever. After numerous discussions, we agreed that the church will clear the land and pour the slabs for our houses, and we will provide the building material and the labor.
We don’t, however, want to begin construction without first receiving some feedback from a family’s perspective about our Little Haiti House. We are, therefore planning to construct a model house on the site, and then make certain that our factory in the Dominican Republic can produce what we need, when we need it. When the land is cleared and the slab is poured for our model house, we will manufacture the panels and have them trucked to the site to be assembled. A family displaced by the earthquake will then be selected to move into the model house for a two to three month period. The family will then provide us with comments and suggestions about our house based on their experience. If improvements are warranted, we will make them post haste and will then get ready to produce a sufficient number of panels for our first village. When the land is cleared and the slabs are poured, we will begin shipping the panels to the site (approximately a 3-hour drive) and begin to assemble the homes.
It is our hope that within a year our first village will be completed. Perhaps we will face more challenges. As in the past, we will chug along like we always have, looking forward to the day when we can write an update for our donors titled…”Yes, we did it!” I am positive that it will not be too long before we can say that our first village is complete…
Thank you for believing in us.