"For five days, I worked with six Haitians framing the roof’s concrete bed, supporting it with metal poles, bamboo, and small tree trunks, and hand-cutting and setting the rebar. I spent three of those days singing “cutting metal in the hot sun, I fought the rebar and the rebar won”. I’m proud to report that cutting ½ inch rebar with a hack-saw for three days straight (one blade) did not reduce me to tears; on the other hand, it did increase my appreciation of power tools.
The guys I worked with were old-school craftsmen who build by hand and use ingenuity in the absence of Home Depot abundance. The ‘roof-raising’ day that followed consumed every ounce of energy provided by the 26 workers involved. The pay range for these local workers was $5 to $25; many of them would not have another chance at a cash-paying job for weeks. Three women spent the day delivering five-gallon buckets of water (balanced on their heads) to the mixing pit. Two men stood shin deep in the pit, all day, combining the cement, sand, gravel, and water then shoveling it into a never ceasing stream of empty buckets hailing back down from the roof. The freshly mixed concrete made its way to the roof by way of a 12 man bucket brigade."
U.S. Volunteers also helped with the building projects (Michelle, above), as well as spending time with the children of Duchity (Mary, left).
Vermont Haiti Project will return to Duchity in September, and again later in the fall. To volunteer, donate, or assist in any fashion, feel free to contact us.