Haiti GSC School Construction Trip – Thursday, May 15, 2014

This is day 9 of the construction project – the last day! Today is Thursday, May 15, 2014.

We snapped two group photos below early this morning.
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We fabricated two 25′ by 6′ roof sections for the bathroom out of 9 of the 10 remaining foam core wall panels. Below is a picture of the roof construction crew dancing on the finished roof panels lying in the lot next to the church.
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This is the crew that helped build the roof sections.
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At the end of the day, we received a truckload of cinder block for the bathroom. Pictured below is Larry supervising the unloading of the truck.
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Below is a picture of the bathroom at the end of the day and the end of this mission trip.
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The last thing done today is the grading of the courtyard graciously done by Ken. The entire RCC team, Richard and Scott Couch rode on the backhoe back to Christianville.
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We will not have any more posts to this blog for this mission trip – thank you all for following the work that the Lord has allowed!

Have a blessed evening and thank you for all of your prayers, comments and support! We fly home tomorrow morning and get into Rochester in the early evening.

Scott Norton and the GSC School and Bathroom Facility Construction Team

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Haiti GSC School Construction Trip – Wednesday, May 14, 2014

This is day 8 of the construction project. Today is Wednesday, May 14, 2014.

Today was a very busy day both during construction and afterwards.

Tasks completed today:
1. Preparation for wiring (strings through all conduit).
2. Stove top ceramic tile and flue.

Here are the pictures.

The first photo is of Joslin welding a frame for a school desk/bench.
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The second photo is of me and Mikes standing in front of the oven. Mikes said we had to switch hats for the photo.
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Below I am working on the final part of the stovetop.
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A finished stovetop is pictured below.
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At the end of the workday, this is what the bathroom looked like.
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On our way back from GSCC, Larry snapped a picture of a cow in the road.
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After every day of work, I lay down in the foyer for 20 minutes to cool off and stretch out while I wait on Mike to finish showering. Each day, a dog named Squirrely lays beside me. Today, it just so happend that Richard Frank walked out on the patio and started laughing as he pulled out his camera. This is what they call dog-tired.
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After we cleaned up, we all took Marsha and Ken (the people who manage Christianville on a day-to-day basis) to a bay-side restaurant about 20 miles east. It was Marcia’s birthday today. We all had to pick from the menu that was in Hatian Creole. We finally figured out what word meant chicken and what word meant fish, so fish and chicken it was. The fish was a whole red snapper, bones, spine, head and fins. We discovered that you really can yank the entire skeleton right out of a prepared fish. From the restaurant, we saw several home-made boats sail by. Below is a picture of one of those boats.
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The ride back from the restaurant in the back of a truck (tap tap) was dark, fast and dangerous. The number of close calls between vehicles passing at high rates of speed with motocycles buzzing by and pedestrians all around was too numerous to count. We were on one of Haiti’s major highways and we saw a man run straight down the highway toward a speeding large truck and jog to the left at the last second. We saw a man who accepted a large delivery of rebar that was just dumped over half of the highway. We saw vehicles with no lights. It was absolute chaos! We stopped at one more restaurant for ice cream – yum!

It is late and time to hit the hay for our last work day in Haiti tomorrow.

Have a blessed evening and thank you for your prayers and support!

Scott Norton and the GSC School and Bathroom Facility Construction Team

Haiti GSC School Construction Trip – Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Today is Day 7 of construction. Today is Tuesday, May 13, 2014.

It was a hot one today! We made great progress on the bathroom block walls and nearly completed running string through all electrical conduit.

Pictures in this post will focus on people more than buildings. We’d like to give a shout out to Kim, Grace and all the others from PEPC in Colorado who joined our October 2013 Haiti construction team!

Below are pictures with short descriptions.

This is Kerene and Kembel who have worked along side us the past three mission trips.
Kerene & Kembel

This is a picture of six Haitian workers taking a short break at the back of the church.
gang

Larry went into the church today and snapped a couple of pictures shown below. The second picture is looking in on an entire classroom partition in the church.
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kids in class in church

Below is Scott Couch from Vision Trust and Pastor Benito accounting for all of the receipts related to the project. I am pleased to say that Pastor Benito is okay. He trusted me with his life after work when I drove him on Scott Couch’s rented Chinese motorcycle from GSCC to Christianville. Drenched with sweat and dirt, I could smell myself at the front of the bike, I know that he shared in some of that downwind on the back of the motorcycle. I’m sure he forgot about it for a few seconds when I flew through a deep puddle that created an impressive wake. That was the only time he spoke during the ride, “Scott, slow down for the water.” I complied. Moments after we parked the bike at Christianville, a downpour ensued. Thank you God for perfect timing!
Scott C & Benito

Shown below is a before and after picture of the bathroom – one taken at the beginning of the day, the other at the end of the day.
BoD
EoD

Yesterday you may have seen a picture of our plastic bottle cap hanging out of an electrical outlet. It occurred to us that children may find these things fun to pull. To help reduce that risk, we hid all of the finished outlets and the bottle caps with duct tape. I asked Mikes (a Haitian worker shown in the picture above with a red shirt and a ballcap) how do you say “Do not touch” in Creole. I wrote his reply (pictured below) on every outlet and light swich box in both buildings. We’ll see how effective this strategy is either by Thursday (our last day here) or by September (our next planned mission trip to GSCC).
Pa Touchel

To close, we would like to leave you with tonight’s Haitian sunset in the west and the full moon rising in the east over the mountains. These pictures were taken seconds apart this evening from the rooftop of the guesthouse at Christianville. We highly recommend anyone reading this post to come see them in-person in September!
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Have a blessed evening and thank you again for your prayers and support!

Scott Norton and the GSC School and Bathroom Facility Construction Team

Haiti GSC School Construction Trip – Monday, May 12, 2014

This is day 6 of the construction project. Today is Monday, May 12, 2014.

Today we started out the day a little light on Haitian workers. Pastor Benito said that it was because of the large rainfall last evening – the trucks or tap-taps that pick people up run late with all of the puddles and mud.

We started out the day with prayer and big strong hugs between the Haitians and the Americans. Our relationships are certainly growing with strong bonds of trust, comfort and common purpose. We prayed together and then hit the work hard starting with the laying of the bottom course of block for the bathroom facility.

Below is a picture of the bathroom project about an hour into the morning.

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Also, while there was a large quantity of mixed mortar, some touch up was done on the stove. Below is a picture of the stove. Also in that picture is the oven that the April 2013 team started, the October 2013 team enhanced, and the May 2014 team finished by incorporating a functional cast-iron flue damper.

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Richard Frank continued all day teaching Joslin to weld as they built the first prototype for the student desks and benches. We have no electricity on site, so we have to use a gas generator to power all power tools. Since most people in Grand Savann do not have electricity, they flock to it when it is available. Most of the Haitian workers have cell phones. Below is what the Haitian workers setup whenever the generator starts.

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I had an opportunity to go into the church this morning to see the child our family sponsors through Vision Trust, Judeson Jeudi, and his sister. Until the school is finished, all grades of school children K-6 are held in the church. After saying hello and taking pictures, I pivoted to walk out and 30+ small children greeted me with each one wanting to hug tightly. I literally could not move and took out my phone camera to entertain them. I snapped several pictures, one is shown below. I was able to walk a few steps and then they all hugged tightly again. I looked up at one of the teachers and with a look of desparation I said, “Help!” She laughed and finally Pastor Benito came by and instructed them to disburse. Scott Couch tells us that as we return to the same place multiple times to help the same people, we build up credibility and trust. This event in the church today with the school children is testament to that.

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Scott Couch instructed a team to start running string through the electrical conduit for the wiring after lunch. We cannot run wire yet in the whole structure because it will be stolen if there are no locked doors. Instead we run string through the conduit. To keep the string from being pulled back out of the junction boxes, we had to get creative with resources and decided to use plastic bottle caps (see picture below).

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Larry solicited several children to collect plastic bottle caps for this purpose. 10 minutes later, Larry came in with his small booty (of bottlecaps) smiling ear to ear. I was in one of the middle classrooms when it started to downpour. I looked out the window because a tiny goat was crying in distress right below the window – I figured the goat does not like heavy rain. By the time I walked to the first classroom, our basecamp, I saw the goat standing on a wall on the church. Larry Becker snapped a picture (shown below). He said the goat just jumpped right up there from the ground where you see it standing in the picture. On our way to the school each morning, we see many goats up on top of many walls. Mike and I point them out and chuckle, “…there’s another goat on a wall…”.

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After an hour of sitting in basecamp waiting for the rain to stop, we finished up running string through conduit in three of the classrooms and had eight courses of block laid for the bathroom – below is a picture about 2 hours before the end of the workday.

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That about does it for Day 6. Have a blessed evening and thank you for your prayers and support!

Scott Norton and the GSC School and Bathroom Facility Construction Team

Haiti GSC School Construction Trip – Sunday, May 11, 2014

This is a day of rest and worship. Today is Sunday, May 11, 2014.

This morning, the team attended a full-house worship service at Grand Savann Christian Church. As we drove up to the front of the church, the music was already playing and the two women at the front of the church were singing. We sat in the back row of the church because all other seats were filled.

Many of us have attended church service at GSCC before, so it was good to see some familiar faces again! People of all ages attend and stay the entire duration of the service (two-and-a-half hours today). We saw Norma (pronounced “No Ma”) in the second row – it was so good to see him! We worked along side him the last two construction trips to Haiti, but have not seen him yet this week. We were told by Pastor Benito that Norma’s sister is very sick and in the hospital and Norma has been by her bedside all week long. Please pray for Norma and his sister.

Scott Couch delivered the message today. He had to stop every couple of sentences for translation. Scott referneced about 15-20 bible passages in his sermon in rapid sucession – you should have seen how fast the translator had to flip through his bible, especially when Scott would say, “…for the sake of time, I’ll skip the English reading, just read from the Haitian Creole version…”

After church service, we all drove to Joslin’s house to purchase some Haitian crafts and trinkets to take home. Below is a picture of Joslin’s house. He is making improvements a little at a time, as he can afford it. Before his wife passed away, they both worked meticulously on the finished section you see below. The craftsmanship is remarkable.

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After leaving Joslin’s home and returning to Christianville, most of us took a nap. In the early afternoon, we drove to the land that the In His Hands Orphan Village will be built, which is very near GSCC. We all walked the property lines and saw the property pins or markers (concrete-filled 2-inch white PVC pipe). Most of the land is presently cultivated and has crops of corn. There are also several cows on the land. On part of the land is a large mango tree with several smaller ones. There is also an avacado tree. The land is good tillable land and it has a beautiful view of the mountains.

The team would like to thank everyone for your prayers and comments, please keep them coming! Have a blessed evening!

The May 2014 Haiti GSC School and Bathroom Facility Construction Team
(Larry Becker, Mike Welch, Scott Norton, Chris Lyons, Richard Frank and Scott Couch)

Haiti GSC School Construction – Saturday, May 10, 2014

This is day 5 of the construction of Grand Savann Christian School and the new bathroom facility. Today is Saturday, May 10, 2014.

Today we started laying out the cinderblock for the walls of the bathroom. We also painted all of the existing windows and doors and finished up the work on the oven and stove.

We cut the workday short to host a pizza party at 3:00 p.m., but when Joslin arrived at the restaurant to pick up the five pizzas that we ordered and paid for the day before, they were not ready and they told him to come back to pick them up an hour-and-a-half later. To fill the time, a couple of us played soccer with the Haitian children.

Below is another picture of Joslin and his six month old son. Since some people are new to this blog tonight, those people may wish to read older posts from this week for more information on Joslin.

Joslin and son

Around 5:00 p.m. Joslin drove his motorcycle to the restaurant to pick them up. The pizza was good! Below is a picture of the pizza party.

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Around 5:30 p.m. it became apparent that our ride was not coming to take us back to Christianville (where we are staying). Two motorcycles were provisioned and three of us piled on each motorcycle (driver included) for the ride back through the one-lane dirt and gravel backroad to Christianville. It is hard to describe the roads between the school and Christianville. Picture the bumpiest road you’ve ever traveled and then add water-filled mud holes, large rocks, deep ruts and drainage ditches that run across the road. Then add all the animals on or near the road: goats, cows, dogs, horses, chickens, roosters and pigs. Finally, add all of the walkers and other motorcycle riders. Riding on the luggage rack of a motorcycle is a new experience. With the mountains in the distance, a glimpse of the nearly-full daytime moon over the mango trees added a brief moment of beauty between each spine compressing jolt. We truly are all very appreciative of the ride back to Christianville on the motorcycles.

Tomorrow we worship at Grand Savann Christian Church with our Haitian brothers and sisters. What a wonderful week this has been! Praise God!

Quote of the day: “One bucket at a time.” – Mike Welch –
Uttered as we were removing water from a classroom that had 4 inches of standing water from the last huge downpour.

Until tomorrow…

Scott Norton and the RCC Haiti construction team

Haiti GSC School Construction – Friday, May 9, 2014

This is day 4 of the construction of Grand Savann Christian School and the new bathroom facility. Today is Friday, May 9, 2014.

The image below is a computer generated rendering of the bathroom facility. On the end of the building is a sanitation station with sinks for hand washing that will have a mirror. Moving down the building are eight toilets (4 on each side), 3 for male students, 3 for female students, 1 for male teaching staff and 1 for female teaching staff. On the other end of the building are two showers.

Haiti bathroom design

Today our goal was to finish the plumbing for the new bathroom facility and pour as much of the 26′ by 14′ by 8″ slab as possible.

Before we talk about today, below is the photo we promised of the drainage plumbing done yesterday with some of the new water feed plumbing done today.

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Today, a team started on the plumbing for the water line while another team started forming up the area for the pouring of the slab. The term “pouring” is used liberally – there was no concrete truck – we actually poured the entire slab with 5 gallon buckets and two wheelbarrows. All concrete was hand-mixed with picks and shovels on the ground about 50 feet away from the pour site. The Haitians are masters at mixing concrete by hand. They start with a pile of coarse sand. At the base on one side of that sand pile, they scatter gravel. They then dump three 95 pound bags of portland cement over the gravel. Next, they take a large pick and work the sand, gravel and cement together while buckets of water are poured about 1-2 feet up the pile. As the water runs downhill, they work the mixture until it becomes concrete. We then shovel all of that into wheelbarrows and buckets. This procedure went on for a solid 5-6 hours today until we had a finished slab. There were workers all the way up and down the supply chain – Amerians and Haitians. We hauled water from a nearby stream with buckets to three 50 gallon containers. We carried dozens of 95 pound portland cement out of the basecamp classroom to the mixing site. We had a team finishing the concrete, rough and finish. We finished right at the end of the day with an all hands on deck call for labor. After it was all finished, we gathered around the slab and prayed thanking God for all that was done through his many hands and feet today!

Below are several pictures taken today of people in the supply chain for the pouring of the slab.

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Below is a picture taken at the end of the day of the finished slab.

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Thank you for your prayers and support – have a blessed evening and a great day tomorrow!

Scott Norton and the Haiti Construction Team

Haiti GSC School Construction – Thursday, May 8, 2014

This is day 3 of the construction of Grand Savann Christian School. Today is Thursday, May 8, 2014.

Today our goal was to continue with construction of the new bathroom facility and hopefully get to the plumbing phase. When we arrived this morning, two small corners of the rock and mortar foundation were completed from the day before. The entire foundation was completed near lunch time. By the end of the day, the inner part of the foundation was completely backfilled, and the plumbing drainage pipes for the future showers, toilets and sinks were assembled and installed. Praise God, we finished his planned work for the day.

basecamp

We start out every working day greeting and being greeted by our Hatian brothers and sisters. We all then haul several hundred pounds of tools out of the church to our basecamp which is the closest school classroom to the church. Above is a picture of that room. We all hang our worksite backpacks on long nails driven into the unfinished concrete walls. This is the room that we usually join hands in a circle and conduct our morning prayer in Haitian Creole and English. After our prayer, Scott Couch from Vision Trust (our fearless construction project manager) explains what we will all be doing this workday. Pastor Benito then translates what Scott says in Haitian Creole. It is fun to watch when Scott tells a joke – the Americans laugh first, then Pastor Benito translates, then all the Haitian workers laugh. Pastor Benito and Scott Couch are pictured below.

Pastor And Scott

Richard Frank from the First Alliance Church of Lexington, North Carolina joined our team. Pictured below, he is teaching Joslin to weld shelves, desks and benches for the classrooms. They are building templates that can be used for all future furniture built from scratch by the Hatians for GSC school.

Welding

Finally, below is a picture of the trench we laid the bathroom drainage plumbing by the end of the day. We will post a picture of the pipes tomorrow before we pour the bathroom floor slab.

Have a blessed evening! God is good all the time! Bon Dye Bon Tout Tan!

Trench4DrainagePipe

Scott Norton and the rest of the Haiti team.

Haiti GSCSchool May 2014

Visit from Joslin's 5 month old!

Visit from Joslin’s 5 month old!

Some of you know that Joslin’s wife, Ruth, died of an illness recently. Joslin brought their five month old son to visit and it was one of the highlights of our day!

Finish stucco on school!

Finish stucco on school!

What a great sight it was when we first arrived to see the school with the finish stucco on the outside!

Sunset from guesthouse roof

Sunset from guesthouse roof

We enjoyed a beautiful sunset from the roof the Christianville guesthouse our first night in Haiti.

We have started work on new restrooms for the school and will include the design rendering tomorrow.

Thank you for your prayers!
Larry and the rest of the Haiti team

Haiti GSCSchool May 6, 2014

Everything is going well except my ability to use this blog. We will try to provide a full update tomorrow evening along with pictures.

Our prayer is “Lord, center me, shape me, fill me, use me”.

Thank you for your prayers!

Larry Becker and the rest of the team in Haiti