Straight to business. Today the school #5 foundation had a great day. What started as five foreign volunteers and six community volunteers at times blossomed at times to 15 members of the community, with mothers and children eagerly scooping some dirt with a dormant shovel or unearthing an out-of-place boulder to bring their school several buckets of sweat closer to reality. Under the intense and relentless sun, we completed the deep trench around the outside of the school, brought in load upon load of rubble (Haiti has oodles of rubble available!) to level out the building site, and started the foundation formwork. Tomorrow we plan to complete grading this rubble, lay down a 2″ layer of gravel, start tying rebar and continue with the formwork.
In the background of this picture you can see an example of the homes in which countless Haitians now live. Nothing more than a plastic tarp stretched over an aluminum or PVC tubing frame, they were supplied by international aid groups to provide shelter in place of their lost homes. In tents intended to be temporary measures, these families store their few belongings and sleep away the humid buggy nights. During the day, they are simply too hot to bear and respite must be found under the odd ancient tree that was lucky to be spared in years past as most trees were cut down to create farmland.
With over eight months having passed since the earthquake, the progress in moving on from the tent life is slow. One aid group near where All-Hands is located has a number of spec homes being built in their yard, built of timber and to earthquake-resistant standards, which a limited number of families can come view and purchase at a subsidized price. Seeing the barefooted hardy souls, those of the most modest of means, digging alongside me today, I don’t dare guess how long it will be until they will manage to replace the tents.