It is an admirable international collaboration that makes the construction of the future Village Notre Dame de Lourdes possible... friends of the 96 children of Maud Laurent are in Canada, France, Germany, the US and of course also in Haiti.
While Anne-Marie Bryson from Canada was working hard to find out how to start the construction, the Sisters Missionaries of Christ King in Haiti were introducing Ray and Catherine to Maud and 3 days later work began. It is thanks to the faith of the Filles de Jesus of Montreal, Anjou Haiti in France but also in particular a young German Marcel Koetter, working for Hoffnungszeichen, who witnessed the reconstruction efforts done by Ray as he was training young unemployed Haitians struggling to find a future during post-earthquake Haiti , that construction was able to begin. Ray Arana, general contractor in the USA had left his family business in the care of his 27 year old twin sons to come help in Haiti as early as February 2010 and among other things, rebuilt the condemned Jesuit Novitiate and neighboring convent of the Sisters Missionaries of Christ the King. He was also interested in teaching these young men construction skills and taught them basic English during 6 am classes. Before leaving the US for roughly a year and a half (he had thought he was leaving for three weeks), Ray founded a non-profit called Relief Team One www.reliefteamone.org with the mission of teaching skills while helping reconstruction. When I met him in June 2010, he told me: “by myself I can accomplish something but if we are several we can do so much more" and so we teamed up on various projects of which the construction of the Village is the most important.
When Mario Landreville ( Mario's story is on the French Canadian blog) made his first donation of a cement mixer, construction moved faster, but work is still all hand done by the team of young people whose talents are being revealed as the progression of the construction continues. Last summer at the busiest, 48 men were employed at the site, including some of the young men from the Foyer who were learning about construction. The energy, tenacity, kindness and good mood of everyone warmed the heart.
Among the friends in Haiti that have helped so much, there is Patrick Joly, a trusted friend of Maud's without whom all the material purchases wouldn't have taken place: tireless driver, quick to laugh and always on the look out to help others, he has the constancy and honesty essential to his responsibilities.
|March 15, 2011|
|Site of future construction, March 2011|
|Ray installs water pump|
|Leaving work after a long day|
|Semi-finished generator room, May 2011|
|Catherine reviewing English assignments|
|Proud crew in front of first steel post|
|Catherine in her office, June 2011|
|Setting floor of main building October 2011|
|Teaching measurements, March 2011|
|Witny and Patrice working on cement|
|Bakery being built|
|Ray teaching plumbing|
|Construction in English class, 6 am|
|Gannon University student volunteer|
|Jean-Baptiste & Fenel finishing the roof|
|Translating water filter instructions|
|Side view of main building with new windows May 2012|
|Windows on thanks to Terre des Montagnes|
|Marcel & Kervin, Spring 2011|
|Marcel, Ray and Mario, spring 2011|
All this wouldn't be possible without the leadership of Maud Laurent, her energy, intelligence, kindness, big heart, perseverance and her abilities to manage all, as she tirelessly watches over the well being of the 96 children and the accompanying staff of the Foyer NDL.
What now? We can't stop: if a lot has been accomplished (read the blogs of the Foyer NDL and of Relief Team One and see the pictures) a lot remains to be done to establish a sustainable infrastructure with a new dormitory in the Village NDL.
|Bellegarde just finished installing shower heads, march 2012|
|Volunteer touching up professional centre|