Follow us as we document our philanthropic adventures rebuilding Haiti with Architecture for Humanity.

Breaking Ground to Bake Bread

Sending well wishes to Haiti Partner’s, Extollo International, and to the people of the Bawoysa, Haiti community, as they break ground on Sunday, April 7, for the new bakery building at the Children’s Academy and learning center outside Port-au-Prince.

This new building will have multiple purposes: A bakery is located on the first floor, and will create jobs for locals who will work there, as well as a means of income through enabling community members to buy the bread as well as to take bread to other nearby villages to sell for profit. The second floor will be a multi-use classroom training space for the school and community, and the third floor will be a dormitory.

Construction of this new building will involve training of the local tradespeople in safe construction techniques, and in using materials and systems readily available in Haiti. This newly trained construction team will then go on to build the rest of the school buildings for the Children’s Academy and learning center.

Special thanks go to Yunis Social Business, co-founded by Nobel Peace winner Muhammad Yunis, who provided the loan/funding for construction.

The Haiti Partners Children’s Academy (ADECA - Academie Des Enfants et Centre Apprentissage) dedication on February 24th represented the culmination of efforts by so many people.  People from all around the globe gathered in Bawoysa, Haiti (southeast of the Port au Prince city center) to recognize the beginning of a new future for this community and the educational system throughout Haiti.  BAR is so fortunate to be involved with Haiti Partners by way of Architecture for Humanity and the joy this project has brought to our lives is almost indescribable.  Many have thanked us for our help and efforts and most times those thanks are met with OUR thanks for the opportunity to be involved.  There is a running joke amongst those of us who worked and lived in Haiti that a piece of our hearts will always be there.

BAR had the chance to meet many members of the community over the weekend prior to the ceremony as we helped clean, decorate and even finish painting parts of the building, such as newly installed handrails in prep for the big event.  “Getting our hands dirty” couldn’t have been more fun!

Haiti Partners’ commitment to the community served by the school has been one of inclusion all along and that continued up to the day of the ceremony when the final accent paint color for the building was chosen by vote.  Additional photos of the ceremony and freshly painted school can be seen at http://haitipartners.org/2013/03/the-color-of-democracy-at-the-childrens-academy-dedication/.  Additional information about the school can be found at www.adeca.org.

Thanks for joining us so far on this journey!

Following our siteseeing parts of downtown we headed to John’s house to settle in.  John lives southeast of Petionville in a more remote part of the City.  Our journey up the hillside ended with a warm greeting by his lovely family- wife Merline, son Daniel and daughter Leila.  We all commented on how at home we were made to feel right away!  In the evening we headed back to Petionville to attend an open office meet and greet session at Architecture for Humanity’s office (http://architectureforhumanity.org/programs/haiti-rebuilding-center) where BAR employees worked on-site while in Haiti during 2011.  Many of the same amazing staff remain, continuining their efforts in Haiti to rebuild following the earthquake.  Such a treat to see old friends!  We concluded the evening with a stop at the Hotel Montana for dinner and views overlooking the City’s nightsky.

Thank you all for your patience in our posting of photos following the Dedication Ceremony trip!  To catch up, our group arrived on February 22nd to a quick day of sightseeing.  We met John Engle (our client and friend) in Petionville and headed off downtown to take in some of the wonders of downtown Port au Prince.  We made our way past the Cathedral (still sitting in ruins from the earthquake), the site of the former President’s Palace and then to see the Iron Market, a bustling open air market where many Haitian crafts people sell their goods.  We had the assistance of John’s colleagues (Benaja, Robinson and Harold) in traveling around the City from site to site and with their connections had the chance to see the view of downtown from the rooftop of the Market.  Such an amazing view!  All around us the streets were bustling and travel from place to place was filled with vibrant colors, close calls with nearby vehicles and pedestrians filling the streets.  An active arrival and whirlwind tour for many of us who had never been to this part of the downtown.  We ended our first afternoon before heading up to John’s house (where we stayed during this trip) with a pitstop at Harold’s restaurant, La Reserve, a beautiful venue in Petionville with outdoor seating and some amazing traditional Haitiian Rhum Punch.  Delicious!

Dedicated!

The attendance at the ceremony today was incredible! So many people from the community came out to support the school and hear the beautiful words shared by so many great people. Our client, John Engle led most of the ceremony with the help of his brother-in-law Alex and fellow Haiti Partner Benaja. He recognized the long list of groups involved in making the project possible, including BAR Architects and Architecture for Humanity. We all joined John on stage when recognized with a plaque and were so thankful to be a part of the ceremony. There aren’t words to express how moving it was to see the families, the children, the community and all who had traveled from far places to be together in honor of the opening. We ended our evening at the Engle home with a celebration dinner…and just a little more dancing. Lucky isn’t even a big enough word to say in sharing how we feel to be here, seeing and helping with this great and exciting event.

A quick image from our drive on Friday of the typical transit method for many people in Haiti.

A quick image from our drive on Friday of the typical transit method for many people in Haiti.

Children’s Academy Dedication!

The day has arrived and we are soon headed to the site to celebrate the dedication of the school. We spent the morning at the site delivering more art supplies, sweeping, decorating and making last minute touches to the painting of building elements such as the newly installed handrails. The site looks amazing and the community has really stepped in to help make the space clean and fresh for the ceremony. Our Internet connection is not excited about uploading photos but they are soon to follow. Bati Byen! Congratulations to the many, many people who had a hand in making today a success.

The BAR crew arrives safely!

The BAR team arrived safely in Port au Prince to be pleasantly surprised by an updated airport arrival terminal. Such progress has been made in a short time since our last trip! We spent our first day out around PaP and attended the AfH monthly meet-n-greet in the evening. We’re so lucky to be here and seeing many friends and amazing sights. Our adventures yesterday included seeing the Cathedral, the Iron Market and a stop at La Reserve, a great outdoor restaurant on our way home. In the evening we spent time with our AfH friends at one of the beautiful hotels in PaP, the Montana. Salsa music filled the air, conversation and laughter surrounded us and there may have been a little dancing. :D Some pictures to follow!

The Haiti Partners Children’s Academy Dedication Ceremony will take place this Sunday, February 24th on site near Port au Prince.  A portion of the original design team from BAR Architects is traveling to Haiti to attend the ceremony and share in the celebration with the community we have been so fortunate to work with.  Stay tuned for photo updates of our trip and time spent acknowledging the hard work of so many people to make the Children’s Academy a reality!  Bati Byen!  See the event page for more information about the Dedication Ceremony: http://haitipartners.org/what-we-do/schools/haiti-partners-childrens-academy-and-learning-center/

The Haiti Partners Children’s Academy Dedication Ceremony will take place this Sunday, February 24th on site near Port au Prince. A portion of the original design team from BAR Architects is traveling to Haiti to attend the ceremony and share in the celebration with the community we have been so fortunate to work with. Stay tuned for photo updates of our trip and time spent acknowledging the hard work of so many people to make the Children’s Academy a reality! Bati Byen! See the event page for more information about the Dedication Ceremony: http://haitipartners.org/what-we-do/schools/haiti-partners-childrens-academy-and-learning-center/

… but who needs a Roof?

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The trusses are being installed now, but well before that (in October 2012) the youngest students began their education at the Children’s Academy. They used the lower level as classroom space, as you can see in these photos. Soon they will be able to move up to the main floor and take advantage of the fresh air and sunlight as they learn. The lower level will become administration space, as planned.