Saturday, January 14, 2012

Finally in the ground!

Day 1  Thursday January 12, 2012

Yes!  We are finally in the ground!  Officially the work began on Thursday morning with the erecting of the counstruction frame, actually the framework represents the height of the base wall which is built atop of the footing.  The height of the base wall will ultimately determine the level of the floor which is about 15 inches above the highest point of the land, so we can have proper drainage away from the building!

Day 2 Friday January 13 2012

The next picture shows day 2 when 6 Haitian workers began to dig the outline of the foundation after it was marked with lime chalk.  Yes only picks and shovels here.

 This is a picture of our lovely supervisor who will oversee the project with an iron fist, note the adequate attire for this type of work!  Day 2 ended with about 1 foot of trench dug out.
Day 3 Saturday January 14.
After 2 full days of digging with pick and shovel and a crew of 15 Haitian workers, we have reached a depth of 80 cm or 30 inches below grade.  I know that some of you must be thinking this is a strange way to dig a foundation however, here it makes sense.  The ground we are digging in is virgin soil and very compact clay.  Very good for laying a concrete footing in for our project.  Because the footings are so close together outlining all of the walls of the Guest House, we only need to dig out the space for the footing; much less expensive to build this way.  Heavy equipment here is not always easy to hire and can be over $2500 pesos per hour to use.  On Monday the concrete work begins, walls will be going up within a week!
All that waiting and now so much is happening!

Laura and I wish to thank all of you who are supporting our project with your comments and emails and prayers.  We still require more funding for the additional projects of a security wall and the dining area. All donations, both Corporate and Private are eligible for tax receipts through our partner in this project; Bridges of Hope International Organization of Development Agencies is handling all of our construction funding.  Please follow the link at the bottom to donate to this project!
Bendiciones todos!
Michael and Laura

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

NCMS Advocates

Hello everyone!  I hope you have all recovered from too much turkey and the festivities of the season; we have also settled down back to working as it is.  The D.R. has returned to a state of normal after much celebrations amid a very rainy December.  It seemed as though there were fireworks going off every night around us, (very much legal here!)
But with the passing of another week, the children in the D.R. have all returned to their school programs in many schools today; quiet again!
As most of you know, (and for those who do not) North Coast Missionary Services is an organization which is dependent upon the other Non-Profits and Charities who work near and around us on the island.  When I say dependent I mean that our Guest House will house many of their mission teams who come to the island to work in various mission fields.  I wish to take the opportunity through this blog to introduce our followers and supporters back home to these individual groups who we will be supporting.

The first group I will profile is a group headed by fellow Canadians Phil and Donna Williams; originally from Nova Scotia, the Williams have called Sosua home now for more than six years.  Servants Heart Ministries was spawned all those years ago after Phil and Donna had worked on the island with another organization.  After dedicating a year of service to New Missions here in Sosua, they stepped out on their own, after counsel and much prayer, to form Servants Heart Ministries.
Of course like most starts it was small as they managed teams for other organizations and then eventually began to manage their own teams in projects that they believed God was directing them into. Inspired by the preventable death of a little Dominican child, Danica, who lived in Villa Nazareth; Danica died from a simple infection that was left untreated, a five dollar medication would have cured her; they pursued a location for a medical clinic.  Eventually they found a location and started sourcing staff and materials necessary for the clinic.  Supported solely by donations, they ventured forth to establish not one, but two clinics today.  The Ministry continued to expand and they were approached by a local church in another community who were building a school for their children but had run out of money and resources.  Servants Heart agreed to help and today they manage the school with Pastor Cliebert in Cangrejo; all of the children in the school are sponsored by people all over North America.  The school adds 50 students each year as a new grade comes along.
Servants Heart also manages a construction program with teams who visit from all over North America.  Each team raises the necessary funds, about $5000 USD, and comes to the island to build a new home for a very poor family.  In many cases the families receiving homes have more than 6  people already living in shacks.
This is one home that was replaced after Hurricane Irene blasted through the North Coast area in late August.  A new home was built within a month.  You can see where the foundation of the house was before the storm, look where the house ended up, thank God nobody was hurt.  The rubble around all of the other houses is rocks that were thrust up and out of the ocean during the storm surge.
Servants Heart is constantly working on the next project that comes along, and there is always a steady stream of requests from the local poor who cannot provide for themselves.  Currently Servants Heart is working with another Pastor to build yet another school in a mountain village about 20 miles deep in the hills on the North Coast.  Cevere is the name of the village and is mostly made up of migrant workers who used to work in the cane fields.  If you recall a previous blog I wrote during the summer, the will remember that there is no work still in these lush cane fields; this time of year is normally harvest time for the tons of sugar cane which will grow until the land owners eventually burn them down.  There is no market to sell the cane and the fields must be cut, with no money to pay wages the landowners have no choice but to burn the fields; a sad sight indeed.
No matter the need, Laura and I have watched Phil and Donna dedicate their lives, their services and talents to the fulfillment of God's will for their lives; they would tell you that nothing they have done is for them for they are only servants for God's will; I have seen their hearts and I have seen the fruit of their labors, a testimony of a man and his wife, living for the Lord.  They are blessed and only because they have been a blessing to many here; blessings that change lives. Servants Heart has changed their lives and certainly the lives of those God puts in front of them.
I invite all of you to view their website as well as their short docu-video which can be found on the website below.

Rio Vista Guest House will be housing many of the teams who work with Servants Heart.  We ask you to send your continued support as we push forward together to establish the Guest House in a timely manner.

Michael and Laura