Sustainable Engineering Assessment

Of

Bayonnais, Haiti

and the

College Classique de Bayonnais School

Conducted by:

Engineers Without Borders-USA
&
Engineers Without Borders-CU

Sponsored by:

 The University of Colorado UROP
The Engineering Excellence Fund
The Georgia Institute of Technology
& Institute of Sustainable Technology

& Private Donations

Written By:
Michael Lupton

In coordination with:
Blaise Stoltenberg
John Brogan
Dave Williams

Date of Report:
3/14/03

Date of Expedition:
11/21/02 - 11/26/02

Abstract:

This report describes the activities, results, and recommendations from a four member multidisciplinary team of volunteers representing Engineers Without Borders-USA.  The team visited a rural, private school, College Classique de Bayonnais, in the mountainous area of Bayonnais, Haiti.  The needs of the school and extended communities were investigated.  Project recommendations for addressing these needs are described. 

Introduction:

Purpose:

The purposes of this assessment were to ascertain the feasibility of developing partnerships with the College Classique de Bayonnais school, OFCB Ministries and extended communities in Bayonnais, Haiti; to investigate the needs of the school and surrounding villages; and to return with adequately detailed information so as to aid in future project proposal and implementation.  

80% of Haitians (5.6 million) live in poverty, most without access to adequate food or shelter, education, health care, or clean water.  It is our vision to ease the burdens associated with the absolute poverty in which the people of Bayonnais live and to do this without degrading their self reliance, societal structure, or pride.  The goal of offering sustainable solutions to those that need them most is the mission of Engineers Without Borders-USA.  (Web-sites: www.ewb-usa.org and www.ewb-cu.org )

International Aid/ Methods Used:

International development programs often may fail or cause harm, despite being well intentioned, because of insensitivities to community interest, feedback, or dynamics.  By working with the community, over a long range of time, we expect future projects to have a better chance for success than what may be called typical international development projects.  This is because the methods we employ, cultural sensitivity and community participation, result in our exposure to important societal information, and cultivate a sense of project ownership among the community of interest. These are essential methods of Engineers Without Borders-USA.

Background on Haiti:

Located in the Caribbean, Haiti occupies the western third of the Island of Hispaniola next to the Dominican Republic.   Extensive mountains cover the small country, which is burdened by a large population considered one of the poorest in the Western Hemisphere.  Plagued by political instability, Haiti has frequently been recognized internationally for its violent protests and raft bound refugees.  Voodoo has its origins in the country.  It is still practiced by many, especially in the rural mountains.  Haitian artists have also brought Haiti international recognition as being a country of natural surrealists, a result of their culture and customs. 

The capital is Port-Au-Prince located on the Southern cusp of the Gulf of Gonaives.  The largest northern city is Cap Haitien on the coast, near the famous Citadel built to defend themselves from Napoleon’s invasion (which never happened).  These two cities are connected via a paved road, and between them, on the northern coastal cusp of the gulf is the city of Gonaives.  The country is criss-crossed by streams which can run dry or overflow regularly.  The most important river is the Artibonite which flows through the Artibonite plain, emptying into the Gulf of Gonaives.

Background on Bayonnais:

Bayonnais is a mountainous area in the department of Artibonite, northeast of the city of Gonaives.  The tropical vegetation growing throughout the valley we visited is contrasted by semi-desolate mountain sides, a result of rapid, ongoing deforestation throughout the country.  It was estimated that more than 60,000 people inhabit the many small villages throughout the area of Bayonnais.  Typical housing conditions consist of small unfurnished huts, made of stick and mud, with thatched or tin roofing.  Access to clean water is comparatively good for the valley communities that were visited.  Work consists primarily of subsistence farming and trade.

Background on College Classique de Bayonnais School:

The College Classique de Bayonnais school is a private school offering an education to as many as 912 students (Jan. 2002) in grades first through thirteenth.  It offers a standard curriculum; English, chemistry and math classes were observed.  This school is a collaborative effort by several men whom felt they could help offer an education to the children growing up in the mountain villages where they too were raised.  The school was created in 1993 by OFCB Ministries (http://www.ofcbministries.org/), starting with 105 students taught beneath trees.  Since its founding a classroom building has been built and the school is still growing.   We were informed that 10 of 12 graduating students passed Haitian high school proficiency exams, a greater ratio than most schools in the country.  The national average was, according to Helen Hunter, only 35%.    Two students from the College Classique de Bayonnais school placed in the top ten of the entire country.  Kenold Decimus and Anilus Decius finished 5th and 9th place respectively out of approximately 25,000. 

Brief History of Haiti:

Haiti is the former indigenous Tainos Indian word for “land of mountains,” and its ominous mountains are, in fact, extensive.  The country occupies the western third of the Island of Hispaniola (the remaining two thirds being the Dominican Republic).  It is important to understand that Haiti has many problems stemming from (among others) a violent history, and many years of isolation from the rest of the world.  It is the first black republic in the Western Hemisphere, and is the only nation successfully created from a slave revolt.  It is the only country considered Latin American but whose language, population and culture is predominantly of African decent and French influence.  Creole, which is similar to French, is the common language of Haiti.  French is also an official language of Haiti, and is often spoken by those fortunate enough to get an education. 

The indigenous populations of American Indians which occupied the island prior to Christopher Columbus’s landing were Tainos and Arawaks.  These people were enslaved on the island along with Africans, primarily for producing sugar cane exports.  The Indian populations were wiped out completely.  The Spanish eventually relinquished the slave colony to the French, whom were overthrown by the African slaves in 1804.  Thus is how Haiti was born, from a people stripped of their native lands and cultures to create new tongues and traditions, beginning in a violent revolt against their oppressors.

Haiti’s success at driving the French from their country and freeing themselves from the bondage of slavery has since been a powerful source of pride for the people.  In spite of this union, the violent birth of a nation beginning with little to no infrastructure, intellectual capital, or societal structure other than forced labor and subsistence farming has stunted the growth of the nation ever since.  Its isolation from the rest of the world, a result of being born of a slave revolt and surrounded by European colonies, only worsened Haiti’s chances of progress. 

The country has a history of racial division between the minority of wealthier mulattoes (of French-African decent) and the majority, blacks (of pure African decent).  (In contrast, Actionnel spoke of Haiti as having only one race and culture, that of the black populations.)  The traditional religion is voodoo, a mixture of African and Catholic beliefs and rituals which employs witch doctors in mystical ceremonies involving fortune telling, healing, animal sacrifice, curse, funeral processions, and more.  There are, as well, some Protestant Christians (OFCB Ministries included) and other religious orders in the country.  Missionary work is widespread in Haiti, and seems to be graciously respected among the people whom we spoke with.

Assessment Background:

The Haiti project assessment team was created in the summer of 2002 by Bernard Amadei in response to the request of Kay Danno, that Engineers Without Borders look into helping a school in the mountains of Bayonnais, Haiti obtain electricity.  Kay’s church offers aid to the school and extended community.  (Appendix B.1, Early Reports)  The team performed research and organized efforts to fly into Haiti for an evaluation expedition in August 2002 .  The team understood from email and telephone conversations with Kay Danno, Tom Harmon, and Actionnel Fleurisma what conditions were like in Bayonnais, Haiti, and how Engineers Without Borders may be able to help.  (Appendix B.2, Early Reports)  The departure was canceled in August do to reports of unsafe conditions in the areas surrounding Gonaives, and the departure was resumed in November.  The assessment spanned six days, travel time included. 

Summary of Activities:

 The trip to Haiti was a new experience.  I returned with a very changed attitude of how generous life is to some people.  It eats one up inside imagining what it is like to live in rural Haiti, not to be able to see a doctor, escape the rain, see in the dark, or have a full stomach.  My thoughts travel back there often, recalling the generosity and stamina of our hosts Actionnel and his family.

We arrived in Cap Haitien on a small, six passenger plane, chartered by Lynx Airlines.  Actionnel Fleurisma met us at the airport with his truck, as was arranged.  Along with a warm greeting, we were assured that the church members would be our body guards during our stay.  Public disapproval for the Haitian President had erupted in what was referred to as ‘Manifestation’, on the day of our arrival.  (Appendix C, News Clips)

Cap Haitien was shocking.  Malnourishment and sanitation problems were readily apparent.  Open sewers and piles of refuse were overwhelming to the senses.  On our way out of the city we saw many people going about their daily business.  Vendors sold goods from shack like stores along the side of the road.  Many people carried goods down the street, on their heads.  In light of travel warnings I was discrete about the use of my camera, while traveling through the city.  We headed out of the city, our destination temporarily being Actionnel’s house in Gonaives.

The two lane road to Gonaives twisted along the edges of mountain sides.  It is one of few paved roads in Haiti.  Cars and large trucks raced along the dangerous highway, past small villages and children walking to school.  Many people were friendly, smiling and waving to us.  Actionnel was accompanied by two others, Lucner, an English teacher at the school, and Vital, Actionnel’s younger brother.  The truck ride offered us time to talk with Actionnel and Lucner (whom both speak English well) about the countryside we saw, and about the people of Haiti. 

When we arrived in Gonaives, people were all around, acting as if there was nothing better to do.  Schools had been closed for ‘Manifestation’.  Vendors still sold goods, mostly sacks of charcoal, grains, and domestic goods.  Local services like welding and car repair were also noticed.  We had lunch in a restaurant that was up scale by Haitian standards, like a cantina we would find in the states.  Actionnel is an excellent host and was in good spirits, carrying on discussions of the history of how the school was founded, and what we might expect to see in Bayonnais.  Actionnel found a money exchanger (whom I would not have been able to recognize as such) enabling us to exchange dollars for gourde.  (The currency in Haiti is interesting because often goods are priced in Haitian dollars, though the currency is the gourde.  1 Haitian dollar is worth 5 gourde.  One U.S dollar is worth 26.674 (January 2002) gourde.)  We drove to his house to pick up his family before departing to the school in Bayonnais.  His house was decent for a Haitian.  Of a solid construction and mostly unfurnished and dark, it has several rooms and an up stairs study with a computer, where he is able to access the internet (only ~ 6000 internet users in Haiti, Jan. 2002).  His family was very warm, which made us feel very welcome.          

The road to the school in Bayonnais, out of Gonaives, was horrendous, dusty, obstructed by potholes, roots and river crossings.  The drive was about a 1.5 hours long, about 17km, and near the end brought us into a valley, more fertile, where there were banana and mango trees.  Public fountains gushed out water for the small villages which lined the road.  We had not expected the water availability to be so great.  Something else I could not have expected was how popular gambling is in Haiti.  We passed the many booths and trucks which facilitated it.  Cock fighting is also popular in the mountains. 

We arrived at the school grounds to be greeted by a large gathering of people, mostly children.  We greeted them and retired to our quarters, two rooms in a concrete structure which is referred to as the multipurpose building.  We were pleasantly surprised to find showers, sinks, and toilets, facilities we had not expected at all.  It may, in fact, be the only building with plumbing in the whole area of Bayonnais.

In the morning Actionnel and some of his companions gave us a tour of the school grounds, several acres of land with four completed brick buildings an outdoor shower and an church, which is under construction.  Actionnel and OFCB Ministries were able to construct the buildings with financial aid from CECI, a Canadian organization and South Mecklenburg church.  (Appendix H, Past Development Projects).  A sketch of school grounds is provided. (Appendix Y, Sketch of School Grounds)  The multipurpose building is at the highest elevation of the sloped school grounds.  It is accompanied on either side by churches, one less sturdy structure which doubles as a classroom and the other, a larger church, lies half built, and filled with rubble.  Beside the unfinished church is a sorghum field where they expect to build a structure to house a 41 kW diesel generator that was donated to the school in January 2002.  (See Results, Energy Use and Generation)  Down, about 30 yards from the multipurpose building is a small narrow building, which houses a 5 kW gasoline generator, additional sleeping quarters, and some outdoor showers.  Electrical lines run up from this building to the multipurpose building and then down, across a courtyard with a fountain, to the lower side of the school grounds to the school building, a long, narrow building with 5 dark classrooms, each with benches, a chalkboard, and an incandescent light bulb.  Openings through ‘waffle type’ bricks allow some ventilation in each classroom.  Next to the school building is a rocky, dirt soccer field where some pvc pipe was used for goal posts.  Interestingly, a live fence, made of a type of cactus, surrounds the school grounds, a clever substitute for precious lumber. 

Not far down from the school grounds are some buildings that are understood to have been constructed by U.S. AID to be used as a technical school.  (Appendix H.8, Past Development Projects)  The buildings are abandoned; an example of what is a typical result of international development projects.  All along the road runs a narrow cement irrigation canal with multi-position weirs at canal intersections.  We heard no complaints of the system, which looked as if well engineered.  (Appendix H.2, Past Development Projects)

We were led down the rough road and up a mountain trail to the source of drinking and irrigation water, a spring box which collects groundwater from inside the mountain and sends it gushing out to supply some 26 public fountains and 8 private fountains with water.  The pair of spring boxes send water via 3” diameter galvanized steel piping to a mixing/overflow box.  From there it flows through a single pipe to a pair of concrete cisterns or tanks.  As far as we could tell a single pipe from these tanks feeds the public and private fountains.  We took water samples from the overflow pipes exiting the spring box and each cistern.  Dave and Blaise also took measurements for estimating the water flow and pressure throughout the system. (Appendix H.1, Past Development Projects)

On our arrival back at the school, several men had gathered for a meeting we had Actionnel arrange between us and some community leaders.  Actionnel acted as our translator.  Meeting at a circle of benches in the school courtyard, we described our purpose, history, role and expectations if we were to offer assistance to the community.  Some men were more willing to speak than others, and some hesitance was apparent on their part, at first before entering into open conversation with us.  Primarily, the central topic discussed were the needs of the community and school.  It was expressed that helping the school is essential to helping the community.  (Appendix L, Community Leader Meeting)

Sunday we attended Actionnel’s sermon and stood before the many members of the church to share our thoughts.  Amilor (Appendix R, Written Statement), a 22 year old student whom also spoke English very well, led the choir in amazing choruses.  The small church was crowded, justifying the construction of a larger one.  Following the service, Lucner gave me a tour of his family’s house and of some of the areas in the community, where I took soil and water samples (Results, Water Quality Testing) (Appendix X, Soil Samples).  John led a community meeting to discuss the needs and activities of the people in Bayonnais.  He used an activity called a ‘seasonal calendar,’ in which the community group participates by using symbolism to represent their activities throughout the year.  (Appendix M, Community Meeting)  Tours were given of a bakery, a mill, and a typical outhouse for which I was not present. 

In the evenings we had dinner with Actionnel, and followed up on loose information collected throughout the days.  He was very helpful and patient with all the questions we had.  Fumer, a prominent community leader and political figure provided information concerning the names and locations of many of the villages in Bayonnais. (Appendix S, Villages of Bayonnais)  Actionnel mentioned interest in starting a bakery or perhaps an ice factory, both of which he believes would become popular and prosperous in Bayonnais.  His success and popularity so far at helping the community is a good indication that he could make a micro-enterprise successful.  He also mentioned that construction of the bridge or repair of the roads sounded to him as the best projects to start with, since they would most directly benefit greater numbers of people in the area.

The final day we visited the river crossing.  Blaise and Dave took measurements across and around the area for design of a bridge.  (Appendix T, River Crossing)  The river was about 50 feet wide, and the water averaged 3” deep between retaining walls.  The river is impassable during rains separating people from work and home.  It should be mentioned that Haiti lies within a hurricane belt, meaning appropriate structures are necessary to withstand large floods, high winds, and torrential downpours.

We had the pleasure of visiting the market on our way out of the area, a huge gathering of people selling mostly subsistence agricultural goods like sorghum, millet, corn, peanuts, beans, rice, sour oranges, lemons, avocado, potato, papaya, mango, banana, and coconut.  There were some craft wares sold as well like brooms, rope, and hats.  (Appendix K, Observed Local Industries and Markets)

Leaving Haiti was stressful.  The sense of security I had gained during our stay in the mountains was diminished when we heard of the protesting which had escalated to the point where traffic was being stopped by road blocks and violent demonstrations were being held in Gonaives and Port-Au-Prince.  (Appendix C, News Clips)  Our travel was held up on the road to Cap Haitien at a Texaco while we imagined the consequences of missing our plane flight.  When we did finally make it back to the airport in Cap Haitien, the pilot had made the decision not to take off till the next day.  We were set up in the Mount Joli Hotel, at the airline’s expense.  There, we met with a construction worker from Florida, George Gosselin whom frequents Haiti often, aiding a mission near Port-Au-Prince.  He may now work closer to Cap Haitien.  He has years of practical experience performing development in Haiti.  This makes George the sort of contact we should be seeking out.  (Appendix F, Contact Information) He is amazingly spirited and had an inspiring commitment to his dream, one day seeing a beautiful Haiti.

Results and Recommendations:

Water Quality Testing:

John Stoddard helped prepare the team to perform water quality tests on samples to be collected from various critical water sources.  The team used an E. coli indicator test, which required a 1 ml water sample to be mixed with 9 ml of ‘Larel Tryptose’ and incubated at 96 degrees Fahrenheit for 24 hrs.  The waste produced from feeding the E. coli is fluorescent and so identified.  Detection of E. coli is an indication that conditions exist such that dangerous levels of fecal contamination may exist.  A detailed description of the type of test performed is available. (Appendix D, Water Quality Test)            

Source Location of Water Sample

Label

Florescence Result

 

 

 

Cistern 1

1

Negative

Cistern 2

2

Ruined

Spring Box

3

Negative

Fountain by U.S AID Tech School

4

Ruined

River, far side of school

5

Ruined

Irrigation canal behind church

6

Positive

Fountain on school grounds

7

Positive

Bathroom sink of multipurpose building

8

Negative

Kitchen sink of multipurpose building

9

Positive

Fountain across from OFCB field (project)

10

Negative

Grey water stream (right side m.p. building)

11

Positive

Grey water stream (left side m.p. building)

12

Positive

 

Ambient Conditions

 

 

Temperature of water from bathroom sink in m.p. building = 72 deg. F

 

 

Average Air Temperature (Day and Night) = 81 F

Nov. 2002  (Mild humidity)

 

 

There was no evidence that any contamination is present in the drinking water supply system for the community accessing the 26 public fountains and 8 private fountains supplied by the spring box system.  Samples from an irrigation canal, two grey water streams and the school grounds, which is believed to be separate from the spring box system, tested positive for the possibility of being contaminated.  There were not excellent conditions for performing the test, so the results are considered speculative.  Incubation of the samples was performed inside of a thermos, which was monitored periodically so that the temperature stayed near [96] degrees Fahrenheit and never went below 87 degrees within 24 hours.  Some vials containing samples were found opened after transport, thus ruined, and the possibility exists that other vials were contaminated from this occurrence.  Testing further is wisest before making any decisions, primarily because there are few complaints about the water since the present system was installed.  This community is very fortunate to have the existing water supply system.  (Appendix H.1, Past Development Projects)

Waste Water/ Sanitization:

Grey water streams ran down the mountain side, passed by the sides of houses and was drained down to the road, river, or into fields as irrigation.  Some outhouses were available, basically cement or wood structures atop of great holes in the ground that are eventually covered with earth. 

Sanitation was generally bad.  Feces was present on the seat within one outhouse, which had such a stink I think I would not use it.  Actionnel informed us that most people dig a hole and cover up their b.m., though such care is a relatively new practice in the mountainous area.  People were witnessed washing their hands and faces with some of the grey water, an indication that there is not widespread awareness of proper sanitization.  Some people were also seen to use soap, however.  (Appendix E, Photos, Outhouse)

Ecological/Environmental Concerns:

Haiti has been described as an ecological nightmare.  It is subject to massive deforestation.  Wood is chopped down for sale as lumber but the primary deforestation problem is due to Haiti’s reliance on charcoal for energy and commerce.  The amount of arable land is decreasing rapidly and noticeably.  Exposed soils are eroded away to the ocean resultantly decreasing agricultural yields.  Traditionally “black pigs” were raised extensively and traded, offering a stable form of commerce until a disease struck the island and all the pigs were slaughtered by the government.  Since then, the welfare of the people of Haiti has declined rapidly. 

Most people in Bayonnais depend upon charcoal and firewood for heating and cooking.  Charcoal also offers an income for many people year round.  When the harvest has not provided enough food, many men must cut down trees to make charcoal so that their families do not starve. 

Several people in Bayonnais talked as if there were no trees left, though there seemed to be many.  They were very adamant about this problem because the effects are very noticeable to them.  Several barren mountain tops were pointed out as once being covered with trees.  It was mentioned, in one meeting, after discussing the problems associated with tree cutting, that every man present had cut at least one tree, if not many, to feed his family, despite knowing that it is destructive to their environment.  (Appendix L, Community Leader Meeting)

Buildings/Construction:

 Most people’s houses in Bayonnais are constructed of stick and mud, having thatched or corrugated metal roofing.  Some of the more sturdy dwellings were constructed of stone or brick with wooden framed roofing, covered in corrugated metal.  Such is the case with the buildings at the school.

Most houses appeared to be in disrepair, with little to no furnishings and dirt floors.  An extended family commonly lives together in a small hut or house, perhaps containing some bedding.  Lucner lived with his sister and her family in a small house, as described.  They were kind enough to show me around.  Lucner shared his sentiments that soon he would like to own a house and get married, though payment for the teachers is often not available, and the costs of construction are so high, he has asked for our aid, if possible.  (Appendix E, Photos, Lucner’s Family and House)

Help with housing development was never mentioned as a critical need of the people in either of the meetings, though perhaps the idea seems far fetched to them, considering the present conditions in the area.  It is believed that an appropriate solution that could improve housing conditions at low costs would undoubtedly be well accepted. 

George Nez, respected for his many years of international service, has introduced to Engineers Without Borders a long lasting roofing technology utilizing an acrylic cement mix to produce low cost roofing.  Currently, an inquiry is being conducted to determine whether sufficient local materials are available for the technology to be appropriate to use in Bayonnais. 

Energy Use and Generation:

 The dependency of using charcoal and wood for heating and cooking has been mentioned previously in connection with ecological and economic problems in the area.  Biomass is the only form of energy used by most Haitians.  For those who can afford them, petroleum products are available.  Actionnel’s family made use of a small gas camping stove to prepare meals.  From what we witnessed, most people’s stoves consist of a hole in the ground and some rocks on which to place a pot.  Simple technology such as clay or tin can stoves would greatly improve the efficiency of cooking. 

The school has electricity wired for light bulbs in four buildings (multipurpose, church, school, and narrow building).  There are outlets supplying 110 and 220 V in the multipurpose building.  Energy was supplied by a 5.5 kW gasoline generator housed in a small narrow building about 20 yards down hill from the m.p. building.  Wires extend to the roof of the porch of the m.p. building and exit through the kitchen on the back right side of the building.  The wires then extend from the kitchen to the church, school building, and to courtyard lights.  All lighting was by incandescent bulbs.  The wires over the courtyard are fixed atop trees.  The occurrence of violent hurricane storms may necessitate running wires beneath the ground in the future.  (Appendix U, School Electrical Load)

In January 2002, a 41 kW generator was donated to the school by affiliates of the ministry, living in the USA.  This is to be housed in a small building, yet to be constructed, the ‘generator building’.  Blaise was able to offer consultation, with considerations as to location, size, solar exposure, roof construction and angle.  Many of these considerations are important for maximizing the electrical conversion of solar energy by use of photovoltaic cells.  If a hybrid solar electrical generation system were to be installed, this building would be the optimal location because it could house the inverters, batteries, and regulators that may be needed in close proximity to the generator.  (Appendix W, School Hybrid Electrical Generation)  There is security to consider.  George commented that solar cells, in Haiti, have to be mounted in such a way that they can not be stolen, fixed atop of long poles, for instance.  Securing them to the roof of the generator building may suffice in Bayonnais.

Health Care:

 Health care in Bayonnais is nonexistent.  OFCB Ministries has the goal to start a health clinic in Bayonnais within the next five years.  There is one student currently and several planning on studying medicine at college in Port-Au-Prince. They have expressed that one day they may return to offer service to the community.  Developing a successful health clinic would be a blessing for these people.  It would provide many people some hope of survival. 

Land has already been purchased by the ministry for development of the clinic.  It lies near the school grounds, along the road, towards a path that leads up to the spring box.  There is a large white sign in a rice field.  (Appendix E.1 Land Purchased for Health Clinic)

In case of team emergencies, George Gosselin spoke of a monastery hospital, located in northern Haiti that offered superior health care.  He gave a strong recommendation that one should seek attention there, if possible, rather than visiting any hospital elsewhere in Haiti.  Seeking out the exact location of this hospital is a wise consideration for future trips to Haiti.

Equipment/ Materials/ Services:

Many services and equipment are simply not available in Haiti.  However, Actionnel is able to offer us most information that will be needed.  He is knowledgeable, travels to and from Gonaives regularly, and to other cities such as Port-Au-Prince and Cap Haitien occasionally. 

Common building supplies, such as bricks and lumber, were sold along the road between Gonaives and Cap Haitien.  Gonaives should offer these common supplies and some services.  Actionnel provided a list of materials and their costs.  The effects of inflation should realistically be considered, especially since the economy is declining rapidly. (Appendix J, List of Materials and Costs) 

 

Financial and Goods Conduit to Haiti:

Actionnel has a bank account in North Carolina into which money can be deposited and funds can be withdrawn in Haiti.

When equipment and supplies need to be transported to Bayonnais, it is advised that Actionnel be consulted first, because caution should be taken to minimize the risk of theft.  Materials can be shipped to Gonaives through Monarch Queen shipping company out of Miami. Actionnel knows people in the port of Gonaives and can get safe conduit of materials.

Assessment of Needs:

The following is a list of the most critical needs of the people in the many villages surrounding the school.  (In no particular order)  Information was gathered from personal conversations and two separate group meetings conducted, which involved representative groups of the immediate communities surrounding the school. 

The first meeting was held with many men, leaders, some whom are active in cooperatives such as the mill and bakery, businesses such as woodworking, and several of the original founders of the school.  (Appendix L, Community Leader Meeting)

The second meeting was a gathering of men and women of varying ages, most of whom were members of the OFCB church.  They were led in an activity called a seasonal calendar, which is effective in determining their activities throughout the year.  This is important to know when people are busy and when is best to carry out a project, which should involve as much community participation as possible, facilitating a sense of project ownership within the community.  (Appendix M, Community Meeting.

All of this information, being supplied by a representative group of people, provides a reasonable basis with which to judge the appropriateness of our involvement in Bayonnais, and to avoid causing harm, despite good intentions. 

1.      Lack of Employment, agricultural profit

a.       Lack of food and resources

2.      Tree Cutting/ Deforestation

a.       Need alternatives to charcoal dependence

3.      Impassible River

4.      Electrical Generation at School too expensive

5.      Dangerous Road Conditions

6.      Market Place inadequate

7.      Health Services non-existent

Projects Identified (recommendations):

A detailed list of these recommended projects has been compiled.  (Appendix N, Project Recommendations)

1.      Enterprise

a.       Ice Production

b.      Bakery

c.       Alternatives to Charcoal Dependence and Tree Cutting

                                  i.      Briquette Fuel Production

                                  ii.      Solar Oven Construction or Distribution

d.      Road Repair

2.      Bridge Construction

3.      School Electrification by means of a Hybrid Renewable System

4.      Health Clinic

5.      Market Development

6.      Housing Technology Introduction

7.      Educational Aid

8.      Follow up tests of Water Quality

Phase Considerations:

Some projects should have priority, if possible.  An attempt should be made to provide aid to a majority of people in the community, not only for equity but also so as to prevent the occurrence of jealousy.  As well, some projects are more feasible to design abroad and others will require more surveying for instance, before major design options can be chosen, or even considered.  Last, the momentum and focus of some project teams may lead them to be prepared earlier than others, perhaps legitimizing development of a project originally considered to be in a later phase than others.  However, the multitude of abandoned international development projects (dead systems) shows us that it is wisest not to rush into international development. 

Just for example, in light of this recommendation, the bridge or road repair may more directly help a majority of people, though realistically might require another surveying assessment before being carried out.  A system for harnessing a renewable source of energy for the school however, can be designed and organized more easily here in the United States and then transported to Bayonnais for implementation at the same time that a survey is performed for the bridge or road. 

Recommendations for Project Team Organization:

Projects will necessarily be kept within close communication for coordination and collaboration.  Project leadership will be dependent upon participatory interest, availability, and ability.  Individuals interested in managing specific projects, ‘project leads,’ will correspond with a ‘Haiti group lead.’  The Haiti group lead will correspond with the Engineers Without Borders-USA project coordinator, currently John Brogan and will coordinate collaborative efforts between project groups.  The participation of qualified professionals and businesses, interested in partnership, is strongly encouraged.  

Currently, two projects are considered active (Briquette Enterprise and Bridge Construction), meaning that progress has been maintained in design and planning.  The efforts of volunteers interested in these two projects and others, not yet begun, are being organized by Michael Lupton, whom has found a role as the Haiti group lead.  He is also organizing efforts to collaborate with other organizations working within Haiti. 

Blaise Stoltenberg has performed the preliminary work in design of a hybrid renewable electrical generation system for the school.  His analysis of the school’s future electrical load and his preliminary design of a hybrid generation system is provided.  (Appendix U, School Electrical Load) (Appendix W, School Hybrid Electrical Generation)

Dave Berry and Jim Kastengren, scientific instruments makers, are currently leading the briquette enterprise project.  Different design options are still being considered, and some funding for the project is being pursued by Dr. Bernard Amadei in the form of an Engineering Excellence Fund grant.  The briquette enterprise project team is collaborating with Steve Troy of The Sustainable Village to bring the briquette technology to Bayonnais.  Efforts are being conducted by Michael Lupton to organize support and training for the school and the project team by organizations and/or people that have experience with creating briquette enterprises in developing nations.  (Appendix Q, Briquette Enterprise)

George Nez, respected for his many years in international development, has introduced to Engineers Without Borders a long lasting roofing technology utilizing acrylic cement to produce low cost roofing.  Currently, an inquiry is being conducted to determine whether sufficient local materials are available for the technology to be appropriate to use in Bayonnais. 

Conclusions:

The expedition went well.  Contacts were made within Bayonnais and determined to be reliable, motivated partners.  Adequate communication was conducted for gaining basic knowledge of the people of Bayonnais, their needs, and how these needs may be met in an equitable manner.  A more thorough assessment of materials and services can be conducted by our contacts within Bayonnais, and is necessary before proceeding further.  A basic engineering assessment of the local infrastructure was conducted of which the information has been provided within this report and its associated appendix.  Additional surveying may be needed for final design of some projects. 

References:

Dash, J. Michael. Culture and Customs of Haiti. Westport, C.T.: Greenwood Publishing Group, Inc., 2001.

Insight Guide: The Dominican Republic & Haiti, Gordon, Lesley: Apa Publications Gmbh & Co., 2001.

Strong, Steven J. The Solar Electric House. Still River, Massachusetts: Sustainability Press, 1993.

Weisman, Alan. Gaviotas, A Village To Reinvent The World. White River Junction, V.T.: Chelsea Green Publishing Company, 1998.

Glover, Thomas J. Pocket Ref. 2nd Edition Littleton, C.O.: Sequoia Publishing, Inc., 1999.

Village Technology Handbook, Arlington, VA: Volunteers in Technical Assistance, 1988.

Internet Sources:

www.ofcbministries.org – Website of OFCB Ministries in Bayonnais, Haiti

www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/ha.html - CIA World Fact Book, Haiti

www.haiti.org - Haitian Embassy, Washington D.C.

www.haitiglobalvillage.com/ - A Haitian focused Web Network

www.haitisupport.gn.apc.org/ab_who_index.html – A Haitian Grass Roots Web Resource

www.haitiantimes.com/ - Haitian Times, News, Brooklyn N.Y

www.uhhp.com/ - A Haitian Web Resource for News and Editorials

www.haitiwebs.com – Haitiwebs, News, Magazine, Web Resource

www.miami.com – The Miami Herald, News

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