Making a Difference After Mother Nature Strikes
After the devastating earthquakes in Haiti a few years back, humanity fought back. People rallied from all over the world to assist in rebuilding. Gould Design, Inc. (GDI) is honored to be a part of the reconstruction process in Haiti, beginning with the Bon Repos project, in collaboration with One Mission Society (OMS).
“Launched in 2010 to meet the needs created by the devastating Haitian earthquake, One Mission Society’s Homes for Haiti is far more than a compassionate construction initiative. To date, more than 700 volunteers have helped families build more than 55 homes that will now stand strong and long into the future. We have seen hundreds of lives transformed. Life-changing stories include families that lost everything in the earthquake but now have homes, Haitian construction partners who now walk closely with the Lord, and many volunteers who have traveled thousands of miles to lend their skills … and have also experienced life-changing journeys. In January 2014, OMS took the H4H project to the next level with the Bon Repos “good rest” project, building a community for the poorest of the poor. In the next three years, we will build 35 homes, a water well, and a local church.”
I was contacted by Daniel Meadows, of Maxima S.A. , in July of 2015 and began the relationship. Maxima has been in the woodworking industry in Haiti for over 3 decades and saw this as an opportunity to build trusses for these homes and make a contribution. This was something Maxima had never attempted before, so they reached out to GDI to assist them in getting their facility created from ground zero.
Since there is no building code in Haiti, Daniel was looking to get these projects designed to USA codes, specifically, South Florida codes. Since I grew up in the industry in South Florida, I am very familiar with the requirements and the added stringencies. We met in September 2015 and discussed details of the partnership.
The first order of business was to get the Bon Repos project underway and get the church building designed to the appropriate codes. Here is a view of the Bon Repos project site plan.
As you can see, there are 35 modestly sized homes, a storage building and a church in the works for this community. Several of the homes have already been constructed. However, for the church, OMS and Maxima wanted to treat this building as an “essential facility” where the community can go in the instance of another attack from Mother Nature.
Since many of the houses were already built and the playground was in place, the community anxiously awaited the completion of the church.
GDI took on the design and communicated with the necessary parties to get the project designed and sealed, providing bracing layouts and other various items. Since the Haitian market has never used trusses before, there was extensive communication to relate all the necessities and ensure proper erection of the product. The plans were drawn indicating 32” truss spacing, so there were additional challenges there as well. We educated them why 24” spacing was the way to go. GDI partnered with Kent Bice of BBD Engineering & Design Firm, LLC for the sealed engineering.
Once all that was worked out, we were off and running! Since the other homes were built with the concept of trusses (see below), it was very important that the essential facility be built with complete engineering. Notice the trusses on these homes used plywood gussets and not MiTek plates.
- If you would like to contribute to this amazing organization and make a difference, please mail your gifts to: One Mission Society, P.O Box 1648, Monument, CO 80132-1648
- Or, if you like, you can use this QR code and select Project # 407860
- OMS welcomes you and your church or synagogue group of five or more people to volunteer your time and work alongside local worked to help finish the project
- Individuals or groups looking to participate should contact MFM at (317) 881-6752 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Construction experience is helpful but not required
- Trip cost to you is estimated at $850.00 plus airfare. Trips typically last 8 days, with all in-country expenses covered
Just think of the devastation these folks felt when their homes were destroyed. I thank G-d that He called on me to be a part of this wonderful effort. I challenge you to help make a difference in their lives. Everything helps. This is the time of you that I urge you to give back, even if it’s just a little. Just think of how these families feel at this moment when they are handed the key to a brand new home.
Wishing everyone a safe and happy holiday season.
Christopher Gould – President
Gould Design, Inc.