safeguarding cultural heritage, social and architectural wooden houses in Cuba

Sauvegarde du Patrimoine Culturel, Social et Architectural des Maisons en Bois de Cuba

Sauvegarde du Patrimoine Culturel, Social et Architectural des Maisons en Bois de Cuba

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Saturday, 22 May 2010 19:28

Bruno Panis, Chief of the Mission Camaha for Haiti, accounts for the latest events which have taken place. The construction of the temporary shelters for the affected population. The goal is to build 40 bungalows per day.

Léogane, May 14, 2010:

  • After some hesitations regarding the area for the urgency-shelter model which will be built, and its approval by the UNOPS – UN dependent organizations in charge of validating the plans proposed by the different NGOs present there – the area of the model chosen will be of 18 m2 .

  • The tender carried out by ACTED at the beginning of our contract has been reassessed in different occasions. At the beginning, the two models were of an area of 12 m2 and 15 m2 each, and as these numbers have change, the prices are different now. The investors of the NGOs have been paying close attention to the final destination of the invested money.

  • In spite of everything we have managed to secure some materials to build a first prototype, which we used to put the finishing touches the 18-m2 model. It is at the complex which will be used as warehouse by ACTED in Léogane.

    It must be taken into account that ACTED procedures to sign a contract with a local enterprise are very discouraging: They have to make an estimate of costs with four different enterprises with a minimum total amount of 100 USD.

    The current delay is easy to understand since it is hard to read and write for the local population. It is also easy to understand the reasons why we have not been able to achieve much in the field after two months of work. Everything has been developing faster for the last two weeks, some materials have arrived for the construction of the workshop that will be ready to be hoisted next May 20, and has to be operational by the end of that week.

    The wall that will set the boundaries of the complex, construction which I have partially undertaken, will be ready in a short time.

    The grilles and the entrance portico are been built.

  • CHF, an American NGO, has used the filler resulting from the houses destroyed by the earthquake.  It will be spread all over the inner surface of the lot because there is a risk of flooding during the rainy season.

  • I hope to have the opportunity to arrange the work plans and other rough drafts that can be used to carve the bungalows, install the electricity and two power units at once.

  • Then, all we will need is to receive about 2600 tons of timber necessary to build these facilities.

  • The portable electric equipment and the lighting would be the next phase. We are planning to work in two shifts of 8 hours each since it is necessary to build 40 bungalows per day. A challenge?

  • Indeed it is, however, it does not seem to be the most difficult task:  ACTED is responsible for choosing the beneficiaries, and everybody jostles one another to enjoy this service.

  • It is my duty to recruit the workers to build the temporary shelters and for the implementation in situ. Assistants, workers, team chiefs (here known as bos charpent), workshop chiefs and foremen. I started to make that recruitment with the workshop construction and the formation of the teams that will build the houses.

Tense social and political situation:

Apparently, the Haitian population is pretty unhappy with the things the government is not doing, and as a result, the demonstrations in Port-au-Prince have turned into riots, shootings, and stones are thrown against the NGOs’ cars.

There is a tense situation in the capital. Léogane is still calm, except by some intimidation attempts by some individuals to have access to the things that are been distributed or just to have more.

The local representatives are not left behind and try everything they can to put their hands on the money of the “cash for work” (money that is distributed by the NGOs to give employment to workers in different jobs), which they assert is used to pay for jobs in synergy with the NGOs, but the fact is that they keep the money for themselves.

Bruno Panis
Mission Chief of “Camaha for Haiti”