Thursday, October 20, 2011

Arising From the Dust of an Earthquake

Back to Haiti. For the first time as a team leader, I went to the same location on back-to-back project trips.  We even served the same ministry in Grand Goave, Haiti but this time it was to design vocational training facilities for another property owned by Haiti Arise to replace one that was damaged during the earthquake.  In addition to this, we served a second ministry, Heart to Heart Haiti, to design a new church on their orphanage property which was also damaged beyond repair during the earthquake.
Cleaned up but hardly rebuilt.  Presidential palace in the background.
Broken Walls. The cracked and broken walls of the Haiti Arise vocational training centre and the Heart to Heart Haiti church told a tale of powerful destruction.  The vocational training centre was deemed irreparable by an eMi disaster response, structural evaluation team and torn down within weeks of the earthquake but the church, located at the main gate of the orphanage remains, a reminder of brokeness in the midst of life that must move on.  (Part of our work was to provide a demolition plan to bring down this large structure in a safe manner.)
One of the two ministries we served.
The Quake. As an organization we at eMi are beginning to build up a body of knowledge about designing in post-earthquake Haiti.  The project I led there in 2009 incorporated structural detailing to address earthquakes but nobody, not even the typically conservative structural engineers, could have imagined the massive destructive power of the 2010 earthquake.  In fact, scientists didn't even know about the hidden fault-line at the base of the sea that caused the massive quake alongside the island that is home to Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
IMG 1036
A broken building that will be replaced with additional classrooms and added functions.
Repairer of Broken Walls. Our team came to Haiti to be a "...repairer of broken walls..." (Isaiah 58:12), addressing the need at both properties.  What will rise from the dust of the destruction will be new classrooms, dorms and workshops for a growing vocational, language and bible training centre and a new two-storey multi-use building that will host Sunday church services but also be a children's school during weekdays, a meeting centre for large group conferences and a community hall for all manner of events.
Dirk explains the new multi-use building to replace the broken church building.

Discovering Opportunities. The expanded usage of these facilities is an example that even in times of crisis one can discover opportunity.  For Haiti Arise the opportunity was to re-masterplan the property where they started their ministry to be a specialized training facility with classrooms, workshops, administration and dormitories.  For Heart to Heart Haiti the opportunity was to increase the usability of this large building by incorporating classrooms in addition to the main church function.
IMG 1146
BBQ lobster on the beach with butter and a fork for $8 each!
A Little R&R. After days of working in the heat and humidity the team took a break to visit a local beach where we swam in the ocean and bargained for live lobsters that were then BBQ'd before our eyes right on the beach.  That $8 was very delicious!
H2H Pitched Roof Exterior
Newly proposed replacement church/classroom building.
Project Photos. A new set of photos has been placed in my Photo Gallery and you have options to view it.  If you want to browse the set, click here.  If you wish to see a slideshow of the photos, click here.  If you want to see the titles and read the captions of each photo, click here.
Thank you to all those who have donated to this work through your financial support, encouragement and prayer; you have made this project a reality.
HaitiArise Model 1
Newly re-master planned campus for the Haiti Arise Technical Training Centre