Saturday, March 11, 2017

Church in Fourrien, Haiti Receives a New Roof

Fourrien, Haiti - At first glance, the humble cement building located in the mountainous region of Fourrien may appear to be a simple house of worship. Pay closer attention, however, and it becomes clear that this church is an important hub within this remote Haitian community.

This building serves as a church, school and gathering place for the community.

It is a place where connections are formed, relationships are built, marriage vows are made, and lives of the departed are honored. Now that the church has received a new roof, along with room dividers and chalkboards, it also serves as a schoolhouse where young minds are developed and potential is nurtured.

The construction of the new church roof is the result of disaster relief efforts that followed the destruction caused by Hurricane Matthew when it hit the southwestern tip of Haiti in October 2016. Along with many other buildings in this region, the church lost its roof, as did the local school.

The destruction of these two buildings put a halt on many community activities.

“The church is the only solid structure that is large enough to serve the needs of the community,” said Suzette Goss-Geffrard, Bright Hope’s Partnership Director in Haiti. “Without the church, weddings and funerals could not take place. School was not in session.”

After conducting a survey of the school, it was determined that the school structure was not sound enough to hold the weight of a new roof. So, the decision was made to repair the church, which would not ordinarily receive aid from traditional relief organizations.

According to Suzette, this decision was ultimately the best one. “With the construction of the new roof and the addition of the dividers and chalkboards, the community now has a school and a church. The church is the center of their lives,” she said.

To complete the project in the most efficient and cost effective manner, Haitian contractors were hired to create a work plan. A team of three contractors plus workers from the local community were hired to construct the roof within a six day timeline. Local building supply stores were also used to purchase materials. This collaboration between local workers and suppliers provided jobs, income and hope to the community.

“During the construction, there was a wonderfully festive atmosphere. People in the community came out to support the relief efforts,” Suzette said. “Community members cooked food for the construction workers, hugged each other and were joyful at the progress that was being made.”

 

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