Keith Cobell, Extollo President:
While there continues to be considerable disruption to our construction and trade school operations in Haiti, we keep pushing forward with numerous back-end projects in preparation for when we can safely restart our full operations. Thankfully we have been able to restart water distribution to our local communities, and have slowly restarted some of our metal fabrication operations. And at the end of the month, we brought on board a new staff member, and added significantly to our network. A big thanks to everyone for all the good, hard work in the midst of a very challenging time.
The Trade School moved forward this month with administrative, curriculum and marketing projects, in preparation to hit the ground running in 2023.
Some final updates to the Electrical Level curriculum were completed and the manual has been sent out for translation.
Since things have been a little slower on campus, we thought we would reshare one of our videos that you may have missed. We are looking forward to the day when Haiti is secure and we can get back to our regular training schedule and operations.
The staff stopped water distribution to Bercy due to credible threats of gang violence, then restarted after a few weeks once it was deemed safe to continue.
A local Hardware Store, LV Fils, heard about our water distribution and sent a water truck to add water to our cistern as a way to help and say thank you.
Workers on campus have begun fabricating, installing and painting the steel security pickets that attach to top of masonry and tilt-up walls.
We were able to send two individuals to represent Extollo at the National Alliance for the Advancement of Haitian Professionals (NAAHP) Conference at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. At this conference, Extollo met many of the movers and shakers in the Haitian business and investment community, and the Haitian diaspora community, including the US Embassy in Haiti, USAID, the WK Kellogg Foundation, the American Chamber of Commerce in Haiti, investment banks, and development institutions.
We are so excited to introduce Ken Waterhouse as the newest addition to our Extollo team! Ken comes to us from South Africa and responded to our job posting on the American Welding Society (AWS) online job board. After the initial interview, we saw there could be a great fit between Ken’s skill set and approach to ministry and Extollo’s mission and approach. After numerous interviews and conversations with Ken’s references, we offered Ken the role of Welding Trainer and Metal Fabrication Lead.
A Note From Ken:
I was born in South Africa in the late 80’s, and at the age of ten, my family emigrated to Dubai where we lived for the next ten years. Being exposed to so many cultures from a young age, I have always had a natural drive to travel, and experience all that the world has to offer. At a young age I started racing go-karts, where I learned to work on engines, and which way to turn a spanner, spending 8 years of my life dedicated to improving, and winning three national championships in three different classes. It was in these years that I found I had a natural affinity for mechanical, hands-on work, and honed my skills as I grew. Once I had reached school leaving age, I had decided to study welding, as it ticked all the boxes, being technical, creative, and practical. I studied welding, completing the International Welder diploma with two processes in all positions, on various materials, as well as competing in the world skills qualifier event, winning the Aluminum category for South Africa in 2009. Once my training was complete, I was hired straight away by the Southern African Institute of Welding to be one of their instructors in the “Train the Trainer” program for the newly launched Nigerian Institute of Welding. A job I thoroughly enjoyed, and took many life lessons from. As I progressed in my career I studied welding inspection, and moved to Nigeria where I took on the role of Welding Technician, and worked my way up to the position of Welding Engineer, working on high budget projects for major Oil and Gas companies, finally leaving the company after reaching the department head level, and having trained a local successor to take my position. I moved to Saudi Arabia and took on the role of Quality Assurance and Quality Control manager at another Oil and Gas services company. It was at this point where I had the opportunity to move to Zambia and take over the family business, a small lodge in a very remote part of the country, living in the bush, taking on the challenge of running a small business in a new industry, located hundreds of miles from the nearest city. This was a dream job, with wild elephants roaming the grounds daily, and even two resident leopards to keep things interesting. It was there that I became aware of the problem of snakebite, and its impact on the local community, with very few medical resources available. I then got myself trained, and founded and registered an NGO devoted to snake safety, snakebite treatment and first aid, and community sensitization.
This was my introduction into the world of running an NGO and the challenges that came along with it. After the challenges of running a tourism-based business through the global pandemic, where travel bans halted the business operations for almost 3 years, I had to make the difficult decision to close the business in Zambia and return to South Africa. As it turns out, this was just the next step in God’s plan as it has led me to this opportunity to work with Extollo in such a positive mission, where I hope to put my varied experience into practice and look forward to working with this great team of people to be able to help in a sustainable way.
Jeff Ballard, our Metal Fabrication Lead, has taken a new role at Arkansas State University to help build out and expand their welding programs. Jeff will be perfect for this role and he starts in January 2023. Jeff and Teressa will continue to be an important part of the Extollo team, and will spend a portion of their summers on our campus in Haiti. Jeff will continue to provide the team in Haiti with his guidance and consultation throughout the year. Thank you Jeff and Teressa for your time investing in our program in Haiti!
You may or may not have already received our year-end card in the mail. We hope that you'll hang on to this to celebrate the official 10 year celebration (501c3 status) of all Extollo has done in Haiti as well as a reminder to pray for our bold plans for the future.
You can also JOIN US in paving the way for our bold vision for the future. 100% of your gift will be used to give Haitians employable skills in the construction industry. Private donors cover our U.S. operating costs, so you can give knowing your entire gift will help keep families together through job creation.