Published on The Fuller Center for Housing‘s website
(Fuller Center communications specialist Leah Gernetzke is documenting the work of a women’s Global Builders trip to Haiti. This is her latest blog post.)
I’m writing with a pen and paper, sitting cross-legged on the ground, surrounded by mountains, a distant view of the ocean, palm trees, meandering cows, horses, goats, a cheerfully frenetic hog, and small groups of children. Two men making concrete bricks with a press form a rhythm in the background, and women singing to their children while bathing them in the front of their homes in Grace Village create the harmony.
In other words, it’s an almost bucolic scene here on our worksite in Lambi, where The Fuller Center hopes to build 60 houses on seven acres. But only almost – the dilapidated shacks serving as homes still line the outskirts of the site, a reminder of all the work that still needs to be done.
The Haitian labor force here hasn’t forgotten. We spend all day by their sides in the oppressively hot sun, laying foundations for another new home that will house two more families. We also lay rocks for the foundation, make wire structures, and help form and mix concrete – which is no easy task, but our group cuts through the manual labor with ebullient spirits and plenty of songs, the latter of which sometimes draws a crowd of nearby villagers.
The families in the recently constructed home next to us are always coming out on their porches – one little girl can’t seem to stop dancing to Compas, a popular type of Haitian dance music the country’s president, Michel Martelly, popularized before he began his political career.
But for today, I’d say this is the award-winning performance: