Posted By: Bonnie Hudlet on December 1, 2010

Labels: Haiti , Humanitarian Aid, Volunteers

While reports of post-election frustrations and violence fill the news, Project HOPE continues to build a Rehabilitation Center in southern Haiti. U.S. volunteers are training Haitians to construct the modular buildings to help build local skills and capacity and provide needed income as the buildings go up. Local residents gather daily to see the walls rise on the three buildings that will provide needed rehabilitation services over the coming months and years.

Eddy, 33, and a construction trainee, says this is the first time he has worked with prefabricated, foam core materials. He appreciates the opportunity to develop new skills. "I love it. I want to put all my strength into learning this new approach to building."

He adds, "Even though I was not physically harmed in the earthquake, I was harmed emotionally. Now when I walk into a building I automatically go to the corner. I like the idea of this type of building because I feel safe." He also points out that when the people stay at the Center in short-term housing while being fitted for prosthetics, they will feel safe and not be afraid of another collapse.

This fear of concrete structures, and a need for rapid construction, prompted HOPE to choose the modular design for the Rehab Center which will include a clinic, a dormitory building for patients and a housing building for volunteers.

Near the Rehab Center is a camp of people living in tents. One million people lost their homes in the earthquake. The camp school is run by a teacher who is an amputee. The school has no table for children to do their work; instead they lean on seat chairs to write their lessons. Mike, the lead builder, made a table for the school. The kids and moms cheered when he was finished. Now they have a place to do their school work– and to eat their lunch.

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