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By Dr. Katie Wolf

The month of January is already speeding by and I feel like I wasn’t quite finished with December!  We had a peaceful holiday season here in Haiti with warm, sunny weather and fewer patients in our clinic than usual.  Many people assumed that we would be closed during the holiday, so they didn’t attempt to walk several hours to find out it wasn’t so!  We rewarded our pediatric patients with toy cars and beanie babies, and gave out lots of pillowcase dresses to the little girls.  It was fun to bring some joy into our little patients’ lives, especially during the special holiday time.

Young girl holding her new beanie baby gift

Young girl holding her new beanie baby gift

Construction has continued to move forward, for which we are very grateful.  The stairwell addition is nearly completed and the front of it blends in well with the rest of the pharmacy/lab/xray building.

View of the stairwell addition at the right side of the lab/xray/pharmacy building

View of the stairwell addition at the right side of the lab/xray/pharmacy building

The stairs inside the stairwell addition were recently framed and poured, allowing us to walk up to the second floor, rather than climbing up and down a ladder.

Stairwell before stairs are framed and poured

Stairwell before stairs are framed and poured

Framing the stairs prior to pouring the concrete

Framing the stairs prior to pouring the concrete

Stairs after framing is removed

Stairs after framing is removed

The roof on top of the second floor residence is in the process of being framed.  This involves placing 2×4’s, on top of which plywood is placed, then iron rebar and then the concrete is poured.  The frame is held up with bamboo, placed every 1-2 feet under the 2×4’s.  The carpenters requested 50 dozen bamboo poles to accomplish the framing!  That’s a lot of bamboo.  We buy a bamboo stand, have a group of men cut the bamboo and then transport it to the road, where the dump truck picks it up and takes it to the site.  Here’s the dump truck taking a load of bamboo:

Load of bamboo poles going up to the construction site on our dump truck

Load of bamboo poles going up to the construction site on our dump truck

Bamboo poles waiting to be used up at the site

Bamboo poles waiting to be used up at the site

We also have bought a lot of wood planks that are used for the borders of the roof.  The planks come from local trees that are cut down, then cut by hand to the thickness desired for the planks.  Many of them are “veritab” or breadfruit trees and planks are very sturdy and durable and do well for framing like this.  Here are some “veritab” planks that we bought recently:

Breadfruit tree (veritab) planks at the clinic site waiting to be used for framing

Breadfruit tree (veritab) planks at the clinic site waiting to be used for framing

A few weeks ago, I came upon an interesting site while the carpenters were at work.  In order to frame up the beams and roof on the stairwell addition, they had actually built a scaffold in a tree next to the stairwell.  Here’s a photo of their “tree house”:

Scaffold built into a tree near the stairwell addition

Scaffold built into a tree near the stairwell addition

The past month has seen construction on a small house built over the well that was previously dug on the clinic site.  This house will protect the well and allow access to the water pump that will pump water up to the cistern on the side of the hill, after which water will flow by gravity into the clinic buildings.

After the floor was poured, the walls began to go up:

Walls going up on the pump house

Walls going up on the pump house

Completion of walls on the pump house

Completion of walls on the pump house

Framing prior to pouring the pump house roof on December 31st

Framing prior to pouring the pump house roof on December 31st

One of the big projects the workmen have undertaken these past few months has been to pour another surface on top of the bridge, in order to improve drainage.  The columns were re-done to make them more sturdy and a new floor was poured over the bridge.  Here are photos showing the improved bridge construction:

Bridge prior to pouring the new floor

Bridge prior to pouring the new floor

Digging out the sides of the bridge before filling with rocks and gravel

Digging out the sides of the bridge before filling with rocks and gravel

First day of pouring new concrete bridge floor with creation of drainage ditch at top of the bridge

First day of pouring new concrete bridge floor with creation of drainage ditch at top of the bridge

Pouring the concrete floor of the bridge

Pouring the concrete floor of the bridge

Stay tuned for future photos of the completed bridge!

Framing has begun on the roof of the second floor residence, in preparation for pouring the concrete roof.

Here is a photo of the walls and upper beams as of December 24th:

Second floor walls and beams

Second floor walls and beams

Nearly completed framing of the roof:

Bamboo poles holding up the plywood framing for the second floor roof

Bamboo poles holding up the plywood framing for the second floor roof

Bamboo poles being placed under the roof framing

Bamboo poles being placed under the roof framing

We are blessed this week with the return of architect Tom Lee and a work group from several churches in the New Brunswick Presbytery in NJ, including my home church in Kingston, NJ.  Tom is offering his expertise and helping to supervise all aspects of construction and the rest of the team is painting and building shelving for the new pharmacy building.  We’re excited to have them here and feel privileged to share our ministry with them, as we are with all of our visitors.  Please pray for the Lord’s blessing on all of our activities this week.

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