Since HH4H began, we have undertaken the task of providing workable shelter solutions for the children in Port au Prince. A combination of factors had made living conditions deplorable. The earthquake had destroyed part of the porch area where the children stayed and then two hurricanes in the fall of 2012 took roofs off the common area. As a result, bedding spaces became cramped with around 50 children (at that time) living in less than400 square feet under a reasonable roof.
Our first project was to get a roof over the common area. This is the area where the children eat, convene, do homework and fellowship. It is essential to orphanage life. As we arrived some rather old canvas tarps were providing some shade for the kids.
It is 90-95 degrees on any given day in Haiti and the sun is relentless, even if you are used to it. Rainy season is in May and it often rains in the evenings in other months of the year. If rain occurred at mealtime, the children had to improvise by taking their food into their already cramped living quarters.
With the help of a few friends and partners, we were able to build a 20×27 structure over the common area. During the trip we discussed the next phase of the project and decided we would enclose more of the structure to make it more safe from the sun and rain.
In 2013, Phase 2 became bigger than anticipated. We decided to tear down the old girls room and dry in part of the formerly erected structure to make room for the girls who were sleeping 4 to one twin bed. (0Needless to say, purchasing more beds is a priority as well.) As we tore down the old structure we salvaged much of the lumber for reuse and extended the new structure out and up another 18 feet. In addition we built a porch across the front so water drained properly and rerouted existing roofing with new guttering with water barrels catching the rainwater for reuse. Oh, and while we were at it, Mama asked for more tables for the children to eat…yeah, we did that too! Ask and ye shall receive!
In 2014 we had 3 teams come to Haiti to volunteer. The Cape 1st team did an unbelievable job tearing down the remaining unrepaired portion of the orphanage and began rebuilding it. a new common area, new room for Mama, a new walk-in food pantry and distinct sleeping quarters for the children.
With the completion of that project in the rearview, we began the process of adding 400 square feet and a new boys room as well as 2 new toilets and 2 new showers!