This month's Impact Report is a long one - as there is much that happened in August!
The earthquake in the southern part of Haiti on August 14 was devastating to those living in the south. Thankfully our staff was safe and there was no damage to our campus. Sherman was on campus during the earthquake and videoed the water towers, with water level gauges bobbing up and down (see below).
On campus, much progress is being made on the Tilt-up Operations and the Metal Fabrication Facility, now that the containers are being unloaded, equipment set up, and construction on the infrastructure of each are making good progress. On the training side, our new campus in Port-au-Prince officially launched this month, with a successful Masonry Level 1 class graduating 15 students.
Now that we have two campuses, Bercy (main campus) and "Extollo in Port-au-Prince" (EIPP) here is some of what has been happening on each campus:
Much work is being done on the Concrete Level 1 training in anticipation of the start of our Tilt-up Operations and the need for multiple work crews that have the skills and attitude to become part of our construction company. Revisions to the Concrete Level 1 curriculum will give students a more thorough understanding of the concrete process and prepare them to begin tilt-up concrete work.
Two of our alumni continued building their skills through a Practicum (Level 2) experience building out two sections of security wall on campus. Working primarily as hod carriers, they practiced stocking and preparing materials for the mason team in addition to preparing rebar, laying block, finishing joints and pouring grout. The Level 2 Practicum gives top graduates more education while earning a daily wage.
EIPP (Extollo in Port-au-Prince) CAMPUS:
The training team successfully launched Extollo's first Masonry Level 1 class at the EIPP campus in cooperation with Haiti Outreach Ministries and MICECC (Mission Communautaire de l'Eglise Chretienne des Cites) HOM's Haiti-based partner.
Of the class of 15 students, a couple of students proved to stand out above the rest and there is already interest in future classes. All 15 students successfully graduated!
HOM is interested in hiring masonry graduates on small construction projects on their campus. This is a big win as it is the kind of job readiness/job placement/skill development we want to see more of.
This month there has been a significant amount of progress on construction projects on the Bercy campus. A selection of the work being done:
The Ford L8000 dump truck has been lengthened and the mixer has been installed for our Tilt-up Operations.
Gravel and cement hoppers have been installed at the tilt-up mini batch plant. Backfill and grading have been completed.
The internal and external walls of the restroom facility have been painted and the countertops are currently being fabricated.
The Metal Fabrication Facility (MFF) has been covered with a temporary roof and staff has begun setting up the equipment that was purchased with funds from a generous foundation grant.
The concrete pad at the backside of the MFF was completed.
We are already getting inquiries about our metal fabrication operations and we will be very busy when the MFF is fully up to speed.
The construction of the masonry security wall next to the staff/guesthouses is making good progress, giving staff privacy and protection from the road that runs along the property line.
As an organization involved in improving the quality and resiliency of buildings in Haiti, after the earthquake we received interest from media outlets about our work. Our founder, Sherman Balch, was interviewed about Extollo's unique approach to development in Haiti.
While we do all we can to help during an emergency, Extollo is not a disaster-relief organization. Our focus is long-term, sustainable change through skill development in the construction trades, economic development through jobs in the construction industry, and bringing earthquake-resistant homes to the housing market - particularly to those who need them the most. Thus we are working hard to prevent innocent lives being lost to the next natural disaster in Haiti.
We are proud of our team member, Carlos, who temporarily worked with the US Coast Guard and other branches of the US military involved in the rescue efforts after the earthquake in Haiti. Carlos was at the epicenter of the earthquake, serving as an interpreter and logistics support, assisting the US military’s broad rescue efforts. We are happy Carlos was able to help the US military and we are proud to be, in a small way, part of the rescue efforts.
Since Aug. 15, U.S. Coast Guard crews deployed to #Haiti have:
- flown +240 evolutions
- saved/assisted +370 people
- transported +380 urban disaster & relief personnel
- transported +19,000 pounds of disaster & relief supplies.
Carlos met many people while helping with the earthquake relief efforts including food distribution and coordinating evacuations. He was very happy to cross paths with a Haitian American soldier (pictured below). This soldier was born and raised in Haiti before moving to the U.S. Coming back to Haiti during this relief effort, he describes his visit with one word: "bittersweet."
Carlos also had the opportunity to speak and work with Dr. Chris Colbert (pictures below). Here is some of Dr. Chris' story:
"I am from Chicago Illinois here working with USAID and the United States Army. I am an emergency room doctor and grew up in a military family. I moved around a lot and knew at a young age that I wanted to become a doctor. I went to high school, college, and medical school and completed my emergency medicine residency in Chicago, where I currently practice. This is a huge privilege for me to be here and work in Haiti. The people of Haiti are very resilient and my life is enriched by meeting patients and the medical staff that are Haitians.
Most of what we see are crush injuries, open fractures, closed head injury and severe dehydration. However, there is a significant outpouring of support...medics and physicians from all over the world, volunteer French and Creole interpreters, Doctors Without Borders, British Royal Navy, US Military, and even the occasional celebrity support as well...Ryan Reynolds, Rihanna, and as pictured, Sean Penn. It is very refreshing to see so many people with so many different backgrounds working for one purpose."
Since 2016, Craig Janofski has been working with Extollo in one capacity or another. He and his family lived on our Bercy campus for three years as our Country Directors before moving back to the U.S. in 2019. While in Haiti, Craig helped lead the development and build-out of the new Training Center and the numerous programs we see today. Once back in the States, Craig transitioned to the role of Director of Strategic Initiatives. In this role, Craig led Extollo's communications and donor engagement, along with taking lead on many special projects to expand and strengthen Extollo's organizational capacity.
We are thankful for the many ways Craig has pushed forward Extollo's mission over these last five years, we are thankful that he will continue to stay in the Extollo orbit as an on-call contractor and overall champion of Extollo.