"Fridolin" Workshop, supported through the "Südostschweiz" action, as well as DESWOS

Proyecto Sofonias / EcoSur, Haití
Por Kurt Rhyner - 20 Junio 2010


Victor Granja from Nicaragua is in Liancourt since June 3 and has begun the education of six youths. With construction of the Workshop they will learn some basics of masonry as well as how to produce various construction materials. Later additional apprentices will be absorbed and  work groups formed for production and construction. Victor, a young engineer from Nicaragua with experience in development and production, is backed up by an experienced mason as well as a „handyman“ who also serves as a translator from Spanish to Creole.

Unfortunately just a week later the mason was driven over by a truck on the main street. However, thanks to exceptionally good doctors at the internationally supported „Albert Schweitzer Hospital“ in neighboring Deschappelles, his severely damaged leg could be saved, and we hope that within several weeks he can be integrated again, although with some disability.

A container from Switzerland is underway to Haiti with an automobile, a small truck and two motorbikes, and from Nicaragua a container with the production equipment. We look forward to its arrival and await its release and customs formalities with great suspense as well as some fears, as much negative information circulates about the efficiency and legality of these formalities.

The workshop  will deliver its production to the DESWOS sponsored house construction project, and from the first day will market a portion of the production commercially in order to ensure the sustainability of the workshop. Already there are two orders, for a school in Liancourt as well as an educational center in Port-au-Prince.  In order to fulfill these commitments even if the container arrives later, we have a back up plan and have arranged that reserve equipment to produce wall elements be made in the  Dominican Republic and which can be imported with little difficulty.

The designs for the two commercial constructions are being drawn up by Sofonias Nicaragua, a south-south interchange that is usual in our network. In this case it is support for the poorest country of Latin America from the second poorest, and by professionals who have gathered experience in EcoSouth projects.

The first core shelters should be able to be built in September.


Education for Construction of Dry Toilets
The project for dry toilets sponsored by DESWOS and MEDEOR is ready to begin. Marie Josee Laguerre, the  Haitian-German initiator, has arranged  cooperation with a Christian organization and the workshop can begin under the best of conditions, at a countryside educational center 50 km from Port-au-Prince.  Franklin Martinez, also a young Nicaraguan engineer with wide construction experience, is expected to arrive at the end of June, after additional technical training in Cuba. Peter Arndt, the developer of the so-called Otji-toilet is expected in Haiti at the beginning of July and, together with Franklin, will prepare and carry out the education of 20 youths as well as set up the master form to pre-fabricate the toilet bowls.

Right from the beginning this project will also have a strong commercial component in order to achieve sustainability, and there are also orders in sight, again with the previously mentioned constructions as well as with other organizations.

Consulting for setting up two workshops for house construction in Jacmel
For weeks the contracts have been on the table.....and for as long it has been only the hours that are lacking for their signatures. Again we experience that collaboration with large organizations begins slowly. Two colleagues in Cuba wait to be  dispatched to their engagement in Haiti, and the team in Nicaragua awaits the OK to produce and ship the equipment. We are well aware that all must move quickly once papers are signed and the money finally flows.

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