Wayland planning humanitarian trip to Haiti

May 6, 2011

PLAINVIEW – Wayland Baptist University is planning a trip over the Christmas holidays to build homes for families in Haiti.

Organized through the Baptist Student Ministries at Wayland, the trip will be Dec. 27 through Jan. 7. The primary role for participants will be to construct two homes for families whose homes were lost in the earthquake which ravaged the island nation in January 2010.

BSM Director Donnie Brown first visited Haiti in March on a vision trip with other officials from the Baptist General Convention of Texas. On that trip, the group visited several regions of Haiti and learned about a unique process that was helping to build affordable housing for residents. For $4,000, a 280-square-foot facility called a “rubble house” can be constructed for a family. That cost covers all materials as well as labor costs for hiring trained Haitians to work alongside volunteers. That aspect of the work, said Brown, is critical.

“It’s more than just going to build a house. We’re empowering Haitians to make a living for themselves as well,” Brown said. “The long-term goal is to build a training center so more can be equipped to work. The building of these homes and training of workers will make a lasting economic impact.”

The rubble houses are constructed using recycled rubble from destroyed homes and property, which is poured into welded wire cages and used to make a foundation, walls and floor. They are then covered in cement plaster. The superstructure and roof framing are of lumber covered in corrugated steel. Two doors, two windows, a skylight and two small patios are included.

Work is being done through the Haiti Housing Network, a collaboration of Texas Baptists, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, the Fuller Center for Housing and Conscience International.

Specifically, the Wayland team will be working in Grand-Goave, Haiti, a city of more than 70,000 residents where 10,000 are still living in tents more than a year after the earthquake. Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the world, and conditions have only worsened since the devastating quake. The nation has a 70 percent unemployment rate, and daily survival for food and shelter is the main focus for most residents. 

According to the aid effort organizers, the people of Haiti have a strong love of family, are hard working and are committed to educating their children. A school in Grand-Goave is already being rebuilt in keeping with that priority. The Haiti Housing Network chose the city in order to make a greater impact physically, economically and spiritually.

Brown said he hopes to take 24-28 people on the trip, including students and others who may want to participate in the rebuilding effort. The trip will cost between $1,300 and $1,500 per person.

He is also in need of financial gifts to the effort, to either offset the cost of the rubble houses being built or to offset the cost of the trip for students involved. Gifts are all tax-deductible through Wayland.

For more information on the trip or on giving to the effort, contact Brown at 291-3595 or by email at brownd@wbu.edu.