By Denny Bain
In Spring of 2013, Loving Haiti raised money to help make some important and basic upgrades in the Children’s Home that would significantly improve the quality of life for the kids. We called the project the Orphanage Maintenance Project. It focused on four basic areas in the Children’s home: plumbing, electrical, bedding and painting. If you’d like to read about the OMP please (click here for more info).
The bedding part of the project included getting new bed frames, bed mattresses and mattress covers. After the funding was complete, Loving Haiti purchased some awesome, high quality material from the States for Madam and her sewing center to sew mattress covers. We also purchased a few new mattresses. However, we had yet to deal with the bed frame issue/problem and we still needed to buy many more mattresses.
So, this past summer(2014), Grant Everitt, who owns a construction company in Fort Collins, CO, called (Myrtle Tree Contracting), came with us to Haiti to help build and TEACH the kids how to build bunk beds.
Grant brought(and generously donated) some of his own tools to Pignon and Loving Haiti also purchased some new tools to take down that we will leave down here!
We knew we would not have enough time to build all the bunk beds needed but we did the best we could and we trained the older boys in the Children’s Home on how to make them so that they could learn some new skills AND be able to make some more after we go home.
Lumber. There’s definitely no Home Depot in the small town of Pignon and quality lumber is very hard to come by in Haiti. After talking with people in the community about where to go to purchase good wood, we decided to borrow an American missionary’s huge truck and drive 1.5 hours on bumpy roads to the nearest town that sold good lumber. We took a few of the older boys with us( and the CSU girls, too!).
The lumber prices for each bed came out to be around $115 per bunk bed.
Eventually, the lumber was purchased, loaded onto the truck and it was time to head back home on the 1.5 hour drive.
As we pull up to the compound, we saw the kids running over with huge smiles to help us unload the lumber. They are always so eager to work and help out.
As we started getting out the tools we brought, the kids began eagerly moving in, all wanting to get their hands on a circular saw 😉
We decided to split up the kids up into different groups: measuring, cutting, sanding, screwing.
Putting together the first bed definitely took a long time. We were trying to really teach the kids so they could help us with the next ones, and eventually make them without our help!
After the first bed was finished, we pretty much let the kids make the next ones on their own, with only our supervision. We probably broke every safety code there is, but no one was injured and these kids really got a hang of it!
When it was time to assemble the beds, chaos ensued as every kid wanted to be in the room watching.
As soon as the beds were done, the kids were transferring their belonging before we had even left the room. In fact one guy fell asleep and we still had to screw one more board on his bed!
The children continue to come up to us thanking us for their beds. Pastor stopped me just today to tell me thank you, he said he see the kids are happy, not just because the beds, but because they know that many people gave money to help bring them new beds and mattresses. He said he sees the kids joy and they are able to have so much joy because they know so many love them.
Can’t wait to pics of more beds being made by the boys once we’re gone!