We have broken ground on our first project in Haiti. This past week we began construction of a small shelter to house our CSEB press during the fabrication of the 36,000 compressed stabilized earth blocks that will be used to build the hospital here at GHESKIO’s northern site in Tabarre. In spite of its small size, this shelter represents a significant milestone for MASS in Haiti. This is not simply because it is the first built structure, but because we have navigated through language barriers, procured materials and tools, and hired a contractor and crew. It is gratifying to be moving forward on this initial phase of work in Haiti.
We retrieved the Auram CSEB (compressed stabilized earth block) press last week and begin a 3-week CSEB training workshop on Friday. To that end, we are excited to welcome Satprem and Amandine from the Auroville Earth Institute to Haiti. They will spend three weeks here with MASS running CSEB construction and design workshops, overseeing our first block-making attempts and advising on current and future projects that will incorporate this low-cost, locally available construction material. They bring 25 years of experience building with earth blocks in India and have given workshops all over the world – in other words, they are an amazing asset to our work here.
Our first few weeks in Haiti have seen a number of other exciting developments as well. We have established an office at the site of the TB Hospital we will be building for GHESKIO. From this location we can be directly involved in the blockmaking and have easy access to personnel from GHESKIO. We also made visits to two project sites in the heart of Port-au-Prince. The first was to the community of Cité de Dieu (City of God) where we hope to begin a long-term earthquake-resistant housing and infrastructure project with the support of GHESKIO and others. The second visit was to GHESKIO’s centre-ville location, where we met with Dr. Pape and laid the groundwork for a number of upcoming projects. We also spent a couple of days in Mirebalais conducting interviews. A new construction manager was hired and arrived last week. Quesly, who has years of experience in construction management in Florida, has already proved to be a knowledgeable and motivated leader.
Enjoy the photos of the first days of the CSEB workshop!