Missions Trip to Haiti, March 2014

In March 2014, I went on my fifth trip to Haiti as part of a seventeen-person team, mostly from Stone Hill Church (formerly Westerly Road Church) and Princeton University, with a few others from other places such as Teen Haven. This was part of our church’s ongoing mission to help Haiti rebuild after the 2010 earthquake. Our team is posing below with some members of Foundation For Peace (FFP), the NGO that we have been partnering with. We are standing in Croix-des-Bouquets outside the house of Pastor Michel Valentin (on the left), the director of the Haitian branch of FFP.

The first part of our trip was spent in Arcahaie, a region north of Port au Prince, where we have been partnering with the Evangelical Baptist Church in Haiti to rebuild their church building that was destroyed in the earthquake. Everything you see in the picture below is new since the earthquake.

One of the main things we did was to help pour concrete over part of the roof of the church building. In the picture below, we are standing in a bucket line that extends up a ladder to the roof. If you look carefully, you can see the cement mixer between the two people with the blue shirts.

The second part of our trip was spent with FFP. There was a slight hitch because on our planned day of travel, there was a demonstration that blocked the streets. The government was planning to privatize a certain public beach and some citizens were protesting. So a work day turned into a rest day, during which our team got a chance to get to know each other better.

Our main FFP project was to help build a vocational school in Ganthier, the Complexe Educatif Men Nan Men (Hand-in-Hand Educational Complex), pictured below in the foreground. On the right in the background is a depot that is used for storage as well as overflow classroom space. For more about the school, see the Indiegogo campaign that we ran in order to raise money for the labor costs. The Indiegogo campaign was successful, but unfortunately the cost of materials has risen and some of the donors that FFP was counting on failed to materialize, so the school building is still not finished. However, it is projected to be completed this year.

We helped pour concrete over part of the roof of the vocational school, and we also helped pour the concrete floor of the depot. Below is—you guessed it—our bucket line extending into the depot.

Here is a picture of the floor of the depot in the middle of the week. By the end of our time there, we had poured the entire floor.

Next to the vocational school is an orphanage. We paid a visit and prepared some activities for the kids that we called VBS (Vacation Bible School) even though it was not really vacation time. This included a skit, some teaching, some singing, a craft project, and a snack. Below we see Dieph, one of the FFP staff, getting the kids’ attention.

Something that we did for the first time this trip was to bring three solar suitcases to Haiti. These were installed at churches in three different communities identified by Pastor Valentin: La Hat Koten, Despizo, and Kota. Here is our solar suitcase team posing in front of a completed installation.

And here they are on the roof installing the solar panels.

FFP is concerned with health as well as education, since the executive director, Ken Culver, is a physician. Here we are helping FFP distribute clean water in Despizo. The white wires hanging on the wall in the background are part of the solar suitcase installation.

I would like to conclude with two items of Haitian natural beauty that we encountered during our trip.

UPDATE (added 17 April 2014):

The main structure of the church building in Arcahaie was completed in time for their dedication ceremony on 13 April 2014. The photos below are courtesy of Mark Bradley from Church of the Saviour, who was able to attend the ceremony along with Carine Toussaint and Pastor Matthew Ristuccia from Stone Hill Church.

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