Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Upgrades to Magdala's Shelter!

A few weeks after arriving in Haiti we met Magdala through our translator. At the time, we were searching for two families to live in our shelters and help us to understand how to improve the product. Magdala was living in a tent camp in Port-au-Prince with her mother and daughter. After loosing her home in the earthquake, Magdala's sister moved out of the city with her husband and children to an area called Croix-des-Bouquets. She offered Magdala to move out of the camp and onto this plot of land as soon as Magdala could find a way to build a shelter. The camps can be dangerous and it is hard for me to imagine the constant state of insecurity a family must feel when living in a shelter that leaves nothing between them and the outside but a tarp. After meeting Magdala, she seemed to be great fit for the second shelter. Click here for a 3 min video of the assembly.

As mentioned in the previous post, we initially finished assembling the shelter for Magdala and quickly realized that some of the "emergency shelter" features of the design were not reflecting Magdala's current housing needs. With Magdala's strong support, we decided to beef-up the original design to something more permanent. The canvas roof was replaced with a corrugated steel roof, plywood walls were added behind the vinyl fabric on the first floor for security, shelving was added in the interior, and a plywood door with locks replaced the velcro door. The upgrades went great and Magdala is now living in her new home.

We were worried that the steel roof might make the interior temperature unbearable, but were pleasantly surprised at how cool the interior temperature stayed during the day. The shiny metal roofing sheets reflect the sun and the punched out windows provide plenty of ventilation.

corrugated steel roof instalation

Franky and Val installing roof panels

To the left, Armand talking with Magdala's sister and a view of the sleeping loft overhead. To the right is a picture of the second room with punched out windows. These widows add  visual  space and make the shelter feel much larger.

Magdala and her sister checking out her new home

A special thanks to Franky and Val for their incredible work on the build!

Armand kicking Val's butt in a pull up competition...
Amazing sunset over Croix-Des-Bouquets with the mountains in the background. The stars and moon are equally impressive. There is no shortage of natural beauty in Haiti.

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