Many thanks to all who supported us on our latest project in Haiti

From January 13th through the 23rd, Doug Brubaker from Brubaker Inc. was again in Haiti with a work team on their annual work and service project for Radio Lumiere, the national Christian radio network of Haiti.  Teaming with World Gospel Mission and New Hope Coalition from Bradenton, FL, this year’s trip took on special significance as it occurred within a little over three months after the devastating effects of Hurricane Matthew on the Tiburon peninsula of Haiti.  

While this year’s project (to repair a damaged and vandalized radio tower and station in Jacmel) was not directly in the path of the hurricane, the folks in Jacmel felt the effects, mainly flood damage in the lower sections of the city and surrounding areas outside of town.  The extra significance of this trip was that the work team brought along the fruits of a special Go Fund Me initiative: a case of high-tech water filters that were developed as an outgrowth of the kidney dialysis industry.

Leaning tower of Jacmel

Leaning tower of Jacmel. This tower had become a safety hazard and needed to come down safely.

The goal of this trip was to remove and replace the existing 100 foot antenna tower with a stronger one engineered to US standards, and to prepare a new room to relocate the broadcast equipment from an upstairs room in the church to a different location downstairs, adjacent to the church sanctuary.  This would make it easier for the church to broadcast services live, thereby attracting additional congregants and potentially increase the listenership of Radio Lumiere.  Like a lot of institutions in Haiti, Radio Lumiere has many financial and material challenges; it is heavily dependent on listener support within the country of Haiti and online streaming to Haitians living in North America and western Europe who send financial support back to Haiti.

Additionally the team was prepared to distribute filters and teach/assist in the construction of ‘community water systems’ that included the aforementioned filters.  Haiti is a nation comprised primarily of subsistence farmers outside of the urban areas of Port-au-Prince and the few other cities.  Outside of the cities and villages individual and extended family units have small farms; however, most of the families have essentially what we would consider in the States to be small garden plots, along with a few livestock such as a handful of chickens, and possibly a couple of goats or a pig.  If they are able to, families might also possess a cow.

All of that changed on October 4th.  The meager possessions that people had were swept away, either by wind or by flood, or both.  No food, no farms, no garden plots, and no drinkable water.  Depending on what report one reads, deaths directly from the storm were anywhere from in the 500’s to over 1600; indirectly because of disease and increased malnutrition, in the many thousands.  Whole cities and towns were devastated; villages disappeared.

Over 2 million people were directly impacted and deprived of what little they already had because of the storm.

As a result of that, a Go Fund Me initiative was set up with the intent of using that money to directly help Radio Lumiere get damaged and destroyed facilities at least up and running as soon as possible with the goal of making more extensive repairs as soon as possible after circumstances stabilized; and to directly aid the employees and families of Radio Lumiere in the days after the storm to get them also stabilized with regard to food, water, and home repairs, so that the employees could get back to work getting Radio Lumiere back on the air as soon as possible.  This was important because radio is the major means of communication in Haiti.  Radio Lumiere, as in past disasters, would play a vital role in news dissemination, teaching on the air, and offering inspiration and encouragement to the people.

Sawyer water filter asssembly

Pictured above is a filter assembly that is the basis for what we provided, compliments of New Hope Coalition. Instead of a 5 gallon bucket and tubing, we deployed larger barrels with 3/4″ tubing and valves so that a larger reservoir of raw water could be stored. Image credit: Sawyer Products, Inc.

As mentioned above, Go Fund Me monies raised also went to supplying water filters.  This was a life-saving opportunity.

Several people, vendors and suppliers for Brubaker Inc., and other organizations were instrumental and played a significant role in this 2017 project to Jacmel, Haiti.  Many thanks to Colonial Electric Supply for electrical materials that we took along that otherwise would be difficult to find in Haiti, Alan Manufacturing Co. of Lancaster, who, along with Donald Brubaker, President of Brubaker Inc., lent their considerable experience and expertise in designing and procuring materials for use in building our portable ‘community water systems’.  Many thanks are extended to Hajoca Corporation for parts for the water filter assemblies.  Also a special thanks to Audra Spahn who supplied meds and first aid supplies; and to New Hope Coalition who alerted us to their water filter initiative, supplied the filter units, and allowed us to make modifications to enhance their water delivery system. 

Our mission in Haiti is not to give our friends there a hand out, but to partner with entities there in helping them become more self sufficient and to enable them to do better what they already are doing for themselves.  To that end, we offer hands on vocational exposure and training on our projects (which are Haitian-inspired and requested); along with hiring as many Haitian contractors and individuals to partner with us as is practical.  This ensures that it is a ‘Haitian’ project, tailored to their needs and desires, and this ensures long term viability of the project.  Along with that, we engage as much support here in the US as is practical and helpful, which includes individuals who join our annual work teams, along with our local vendor and supplier partners.

Click on the images below for an expanded view.

Members of the work team.

The church’s new school building.

Our subcontractor carpenter working on a new closet.

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One of our helpers.

Getting the new base and first sections up.

In the new studio room after painting and electrical work was done.

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New tower is up.

Hanging the new antenna.

All finished.

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Just finished constructing the first water tank and filter.

Filling it up with raw water.

Fresh, clean, safe, water.

 

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Sources:

1. Hurricane Matthew Haiti – October 2016, ReliefWeb

2. Haiti: Finding Needs for Clean Water and Medical Care as Teams Reach Hurricane-Affected Areas, Doctors Without Borders

3. A decade of crop loss from Hurricane Matthew in Haiti , Associated Press and the Chicago Daily Herald