Monthly Archives: March 2016

Home from Haiti

Made it home. The trip was long, hard, successful, and had some very delightful experiences. I’m running behind in getting everything down in my daily log of the trip. It is currently 35 pages long.

On the trip we had Helen Roenfeldt, Scott Conover, Dave Vangsness and myself, as well as the Haitian team of Lophane, Noel,  Benjamin.  Bazole, and Roshnel.  We are training a crew from Jubilee to build ultra-low-cost earthquake- and hurricane-resistant homes.

Over the next several days I need to write a several reports. Besides the main report, there will be a report on two orphanages were I was able to break half inch rebar with my hands. Apparently I am much stronger than I thought I was. Can you picture the thoughts which went through my head when I broke the rebar that was keeping the concrete above my head from collapsing?

On the flight from Dallas to San Antonio, I was upgraded to first class, but missed out on the first class experience because I slept through it. They had to wake me up in San Antonio so I could deplane, and kept wanting to know if I wanted a wheelchair.

Now, I need someone to keep me awake during the sermon this morning. Judy will be singing in the choir. Craig Cannon says that if he mentioned my need to some of my granddaughters (a plethora of young ladies have adopted me as their grandpa)  at least one would bring me a pillow and another would tell the pastor to speak softer so as not to disturb me.

I suspect I will not get the Sunday paper read today.

Within a day or two, I will post the first of several reports on this trip.

March 2016 in Haiti with Herb

The following is a page from a church newsletter. I’ve added a few comments since the members of the church have a back-story which you may not have.

Demonstration Villages — We have sent in a letter expressing our interest in building sustainable demonstration villages in Haiti. The sponsoring charity is interested building demonstration villages around the world using the concrete dome home technology we are using. Each village is to be supported by a million dollar donation and will result in about 100 homes.

The Team — A team of 4, (David Vangsness from CA, Scott Conover and Helen Roenfeldt, (EX. DIR of Mission:Haiti) from FL, and Herb from TX) will arrive in Port-au-Prince on March 11 have a full agenda.

Petion-ville — Inspect a building in a Port-au-Prince suburb to determine whether it is safe to use as part of an orphanage. If the building is safe, we will also discuss remodeling plans.

Bien Aime — Bien Aime is located in the highlands north east of Port-au-Prince. When Helen brought toothbrushes to Bien Aime, the residents had heard of toothbrushes, never seen one, and had no idea how to use one. A class was held on the spot. We will be doing an assessment for building a sustainable demonstration village.

Colminy (Jean-Louis) — Mr. Orelus Natin deeded over a hundred acres to the church, rather IMG_2024Mr. Orlius in front of his homethan sell it and move into comfortable quarters. The land is available for community projects. His over 100 living descendents are just as generous. The photo was taken in 2015 when he was over 120 years of age.

At a Sunday service in 2015, he offered to get up and give Herb his chair because he thought Herb needed a chair. Mr. Orelus died in January. We will be doing an assessment for building a sustainable demonstration village.


Sophia Gabriel-croppedFaith Lutheran Orphanage – Girls’ Dorm — Sophia Gabriel is 7 years old, comes from Jubilee, and does not even know how to smile. We will be pouring the slab for the dormitory where she will be living. She and the other girls who will live in the dorm will be carving Candice Dominguez’s initials in the slab in honor of Candice who is currently undergoing treatment for stage 3 breast cancer. Cost for the slab (this trip): $4,000; Cost of dome (June /July trip): $11,000. Candice has been the team leader from Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church for the last two years and was disappointed that her doctor told her that she could not go on the July trip with SHLC.



Faith Lutheran Orphanage – Boys’ Dorm — Would you let your children sleep under this ceiling with falling plaster? The boys have been moved to other rooms. Herb will be doing a forensic analysis of the roof and ceiling to determine whether it is safe to patch or whether the entire roof needs to be replaced. A group from the Lutheran Church of Canada will be covering the cost of repairs. Meanwhile, Herb is working on a concept to build much lighter, and much stronger flat roofs, but the technology is not ready. Cost for repairs: $500 to $10,000, depending on what Herb finds.

In this photo Herb is holding some rebar from a structure not far from the Boy’s Dorm. It had been exposed to chlorides and the chlorides reacted with the steel which cause it to become weak. Herb broke these pieces off rebar that had been exposed when the plaster covering it sloughed off.

Concrete 5

Yes, those are concrete block that are stuck in the roof to take up space so they do not have to haul as much wet concrete up onto the roof. Herb’s major, but not the only, concern is whether chlorides got to the rebar and caused it to swell and weaken.

Jubilee — Herb will gently supervise the building of one dome home and play with the children while the crew starts work on another dome.

He will also teach the crew to whitewash the domes so they will be 5 degrees F cooler in summer.

The crew will finish the other dome after the team leaves. When it is complete, the crew will be fully trained to build homes without Herb being present. All they will need will be money to buy the supplies and pay the crew wages. Cost per dome: $7,000