Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Closing down

It is Tuesday evening and by now the remaining four of us have all returned to our homes.  Amazingly, this morning, Gene's fever had broken and he redeveloped his appetite and felt fine all day.  His sending church held a special prayer session last evening for him and he is certain that the abatement of the fever was a direct answer to their prayers.  God is good, all the time.  Satan has been hard at work the entire time of this work trip, and you can sense that from a number of posts.  Haiti is definitely a dark place, but God is at work in the country.  YWAM is a beacon of light in this dark country and we are convinced that the small amount we played in the work of this mission will just help them in their efforts to take the Gospel message to their neighbors.  Pray for Haiti.

This concludes the I-TECblog for this memorable trip.  As each team member retells the story to their home churches and friends you will gain a lot more insight as to what happened these past three weeks. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Starting for Home

Today we spent some time on the roof and around the grounds of the Ears to Hear complex in Barahona.  We measured roofs for potential Solar Panels.

We took some photos of our host family as we prepared to head to the capital city of Santo Domingo, DR.
The property has a lot of potential and many short term mission teams will continue to go through the doors to minister to the local communities in Barahona.

On our way to Santo Domingo, we again passed many acres of sugar cane and bananas.  We went through a number of towns and lots of traffic.  Even this wheelchair hitched a ride on the back of a motorbike.
At present we are at the Plaza Yu Hostel in Santo Domingo awaiting the alarm clock at 3:50am to meet downstairs with our luggage for the trip to the airport and the beginning of our journey home.
Gene is still suffering high fever and there is a possibility he has malaria.  He has a doctor appointment first thing Wednesday, and we are hopeful that whatever he has is not long lasting and does not have any long term effects.  We appreciate your prayers for our journey.

We have worked on the YWAM project and the Agricultural Project near Bon Repos.  We have looked at the radio station in Saint Marc, the Mission of Hope project in Carries, discussed the second project site for Mission of Hope, the Solar needs at Dr. Morquette's home, and the potential needs of the Ears to Hear project in Barahona.  So, this trip has had many different facets to it and we will be working on the survey results for weeks to come once we arrive at home.  This is what we do and we certainly thank you for your interest in I-TEC. We will let you know our homeward progress and close out this blog.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sunday in the DR

Last night the neighbors ran their PA system all night long, playing Dominican music.  It was a bit difficult sleeping, and I was hopeful that the passing thunderstorm might arrive here and slow things down a bit, but it didn't happen.  That, plus the dog that barked non-stop all night long, kept some of us awake.  It helps to use ear plugs with noise cancelling headphones but they don't make for the most comfortable sleep...

Anyway we awoke this morning and after breakfast we went to a local church.  The pastor and his wife are sent from the Calvary Chapel in Delta, PA.  He had a good message.  We did the best we could to sing along with the Spanish worship music, but only one song did I recognize. 

We came back here and spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing and catching up on some of the surveys we have done this trip, as well as some preparation for such things as Missions Committee meetings coming up this week once we arrive back in the US.  Even a short afternoon nap was helpful...

This evening we made contact with our generator people  back home regarding the generator end problems we had on Friday.  This was very helpful conversation and it seems we did not have enough original information as to how to set up the voltage sensing on the Automatic Voltage Regulator, so the fix to all this seems like it will be easily done by one of the technicians from DynaTech in the near future.  This is a relief to us as we breathed a sigh of relief knowing that we didn't do anything wrong.

Gene F. has been suffering with a high fever since we were at Dr. Morquette's house in Port au Prince.  Symptoms seem to be in the area of possible malaria, but we are hopeful it is just a passing fever.  This evening his fever broke, so we are relieved.  He has had a lot of sleep since coming here and perhaps the neighbors will be a bit quieter this night allowing all of us to sleep better.

We will conclude our measurements here in the morning and will pack up and leave this place sometime around noon.  The DR is on Atlantic Time so we are an hour ahead of the Eastern US here, but in Haiti we were on Eastern Time and even matched the US in changing from Daylight Savings time to Standard Time.  My laptop does not indicate the change but my cell phone picked it up.

We would appreciate your prayers as we head to Santo Domingo tomorrow afternoon where we will stay at a hostel there overnight.  Our flight to the US leaves Santo Domingo around 6am on Tuesday and we travel through Miami to Reagan National in Washington where we will be picked up by one of our volunteers who left Haiti on Sunday.

It has been good to meet the staff family here at the Ears To Hear Mission in Barahona.  They are the host family here who quit their US jobs, sold their home and moved here, seeking to do God's will wherever it takes them. They have five children, the youngest being age 12.  They are learning firsthand what it takes to put all their lives and possessions in God's hands and relying on Him completely.  They are a good example to all of us.  We have also met their pastor and his wife and another family of three who have done the very same thing and are all ministering here in Barahona.

At some time in the future we may return here to install a solar array on their concrete roof, which is facing the right direction for optimum sunlight.

I do not know if we will have Internet where we are going in Santo Domingo, but I will somehow let you know when we arrive safely there or in Miami on Tuesday.  Thanks for following along.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

First evening in the DR

We traveled today from Dr. Morquette's home to the location where we had transferred luggage last evening to see if there was a possibility that Gene's bag might have been spotted by someone honest.  This was not meant to be.  We are hopeful that whoever has the bag will find the devotional book inside and read it and receive a changed heart.  We have let it all in God's hands now.  The bag and all that was inside are all replaceable.  The loss is probably between $1500-$2000, so whoever gets their hands on it will probably have a field day.  It doesn't make it feel any better at this end, though.  But it is not the first time someone has lost something valuable in travels.  I personally lost a toolbox worth more than $1000 while working for a mission organization locally.  I know what it feels like.

After leaving that location Dr. Morquette took us to the airport where we were met by Claudy from YWAM.  Claudy then took us to the Dominican Republic border.  The ground border crossings usually take a lot longer than the ones in the airports and this proved true here.  We were told that we might have to carry our bags across, but we were fortunately able to be driven across by Claudy.  This was good as the walk would have been more than 1/4 mile.  Imagine carrying two 50lb. suitcases and two carry-ons that kind of distance.  Anyway we were met at the DR side by Todd, who is in charge of the guest house here in Barahona, Dominican Republic.  We are blessed to have limited Internet here at the guest house.

The DR is like a different world from Haiti.  Outside of Port au Prince we traveled over a mountain range and this was likely more than 3000' elevation and may have been more.  The view up there is breathtaking. 

Gene H. rode in the back of the pickup truck with Claudy's brother and all of our luggage. Once we were inside the DR the scenery changed drastically.  Farmers here actually have tractors, there are massive farms, the roads are much better, and there are trees on the mountains.  Since the making of charcoal is forbidden in the DR, the trees are not stripped off the hills like they are in Haiti.  The huge sugar plantations just are unbelievable, also they grow rice and bananas here in abundance.  And coffee, but we did not see that as it has to be grown above 3000 feet elevation.  The last few pictures are from the guesthouse with one facing toward the Atlantic Ocean from the balcony.
 Roads are being improved in Haiti and it looks like it is being done by a company from the DR.
 The mountains in the DR have trees...
 And the big Domino Sugar plantation must be thousands of acres.

Friday, November 14, 2014


Today is Friday and it has been awhile since we were able to post to the blog.  Yesterday we were asked to go to a local Nazarene church to give them some ideas as to how to be able to provide power for their radio station.  This was very close to YWAM.  We will likely propose a small solar installation for them.
After this we visited the nearby YWAM Homes Of Hope projects and looked at the existing electrical service there to give some suggestions.  After that we visited a new property purchased by YWAM that will house a guest facility and staff housing for local conferences and work teams.  This project is in the very beginning stages, but looks like one that I-TEC will fit into very easily.  We look forward to more communication on this project.
After all this we were transported to the agricultural foundation that is part of a very large complex near Bon Repos, a nearby city to Port au Prince.  Our task was to install a new generator end onto an existing and non-functioning generator.  When we were on the way the roads reminded us of many rural places we have been in Africa and other places.  Once we got started working on the generator, we were pleased to find that the Haitian workers there had some tools that made up for some we were missing.  They also had a nearby crane truck that showed up and was ready to hoist the generator into place, but we needed more time, so we instructed him to come back tomorrow (today).
As daylight time was getting away from us we went to a guest house that is one of the units being built by this foundation. The foundation guesthouse provided us with a good meal before returning to the unit where we would spend the night.  There was no electricity at the unit and on our return to it a torrential thunderstorm was pounding on the metal roof making a deafening sound, so we just turned in for the night at around 8pm. 
This was the new generator end.  It probably weighs somewhere around 700lbs. so the crane truck was essential.
Here is one of the units like we stayed in.
 Mosquito nets were a must tonight!
Well, we worked hard  today to change out this generator.  We discovered we needed to remove the connector plate from the old unit and put it on the new one to make a good fit.  However we needed a very large (14mm) Allen wrench, which we did not have in our possession.  One of our Haitian friends did have this tool, so we did not give up at that point, but were able to successfully connect the generator to the motor flywheel.  As we were finishing this we discovered that the wiring harness to the motor had some major shorted wires in it.  After an hour or more of taping and replacing wires we felt we might be ready to turn the generator on and see what voltage it would put out.  As it turned out it seemed OK, then there was a flash and a "pop" at the head end of the generator (not the end we connected to the motor).  Voltage discontinued being stable and correct, so as darkness was nearing again we were unable to let this unit be in service for this foundation.  After some discussion with one of the technicians at DynaTech, we agreed that the Automatic Voltage Regulator and an MOV probably were the culprits in this failure.  I was assured that it is all fixable and we will begin negotiations with DynaTech to send one of their technicians to Haiti to correct this problem as well as do some fine tuning to the system at YWAM.  We were, needless to say, frustrated that the mission was not accomplished as hoped.

After this we were transported to a location where we would meet with Dr. Morquette of King's Hospital.  This trek took us through rush hour traffic in Port au Prince as we just literally crawled most of the way.  Once we met Dr. Morquette we traveled with him to his home where we were treated to a wonderful meal and fellowship with other missionaries staying at his home.  When we arrived at Dr. Morquette's home we discovered that Gene F. was missing one bag of luggage, a bag that has his wallet and credit cards and some cash in it as well as some expensive electronic equipment.  We do not know where or when this bag might have been misplaced or stolen.  This is a devastating ordeal for anyone, and certainly for Gene.  After our meal at Dr. Morquette's, the entire team sitting around the table (that consisted of a family from Quebec as well as two pastors) prayed that this lost bag could possibly be returned to its rightful owner, or at the least, that God would use this in someone's life for good.  One good thing is that Gene had his passport in another bag that did arrive with us.

So, the frustration of today was some of what Satan uses to cause us to stumble.
1.  Rough travel
2. Not having all the right tools
3. Being unable to successfully complete a project
4. The loss of a very valuable piece of luggage

God knows where the luggage is at and he knows all about the generator.  We are heading to the border crossing to the Dominican Republic first thing in the morning tomorrow.  We will only be able to communicate with home if there is adequate Internet and WiFi at the mission we are going to survey.  Our Haitian phones and this modem stick which is using my Haitian phone SIM card will expire at the border.  So we are unable to know if we will be able to post more to the blog, but I am hopeful that we will be able to do so.  At any rate, please pray that we will be able to rest in God regarding all of this, and that the rest of our time in Haiti and the DR is without incident.  Thanks for your interest and prayers.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Last Wednesday in Haiti

Today was another busy day at YWAM for the I-TEC team of Tom, Gary, Gene F., and Gene H.  We finished relighting the cafeteria with LED fixtures and this has been very good.  We removed sixteen fluorescent fixtures drawing 80 watts each and replaced them with eight LED fixtures drawing 30 watts each.  We have essentially the same amount of light for about 1000 watts less electricity.  As I look out at the Arena, I can visualize replacing the twenty-seven 400-watt fixtures with LED fixtures for a similar reduction in electricity.  Perhaps another time...

We replaced a pole and light fixture at the guard station at the main entrance.
Would you say it needed replaced?

Another thing we did today was to give some training to the workers at YWAM for generator maintenance.  This was well received and we are convinced that the equipment will be well taken care of.

One thing that may be taken care if by our sister generator company in the next few weeks or months is a slight leak on the generator head gasket.  All of the other leaks have been closed up.
This evening we attended church with the YWAM family.  In the morning we will visit a local ministry that has asked us to look at their electrical needs.  We may also visit the YWAM Homes Of Hope project site not too far away.  After that we will be picked up by someone who will transport us to our next job site near Port au Prince.  We are hopeful that we will have the tools and information we will need to make this generator changeout.

If we have internet in our travels after YWAM, it may be in short supply.  I have so far been unable to update the blog using my cell phone, so unless we can get to a place that has Internet we may be limited.  We moved up our travels to Port because we were told that the border crossing into the Dominican Republic is usually closed on Sunday when we were going to cross it.  So we are planning on doing that on Saturday instead, as our time will slip away quickly before we have to be in Santo Domingo for the flight home on Tuesday morning around 6am. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Into the Light

Today was Tuesday and the four of us kept busy putting up lights, mostly.  I, Gary, spent about half the day troubleshooting the wiring done by a recent team in the new Depot shop.  The electrical work there looks like it was done with what equipment was available at the time.  In some of the wall boxes the mounting screws protruded too far into the box or PVC conduit and shorted into the wiring inside it.  Anyway the shop is now in usable condition.

Tom and the two Gene's worked on lighting on the new poles.  We have been putting up 40-watt and 30-watt LED fixtures.  At night when these are lit up, it almost seems the 30-watt fixtures outshine the 40-watt ones.  At any rate they are very good fixtures. 

After working on the shop and poles, we moved down to the dining hall to install new lighting there.  The present setup is open 2-tube fluorescent fixtures and we are in the process of replacing these with some of the 30-watt fixtures mentioned above. 

The photos show some of the work we have done in the last few days. (If I can upload them)  The generator has run through several cycles now and is working flawlessly.  The leaks have been fixed and what remains to be done pertains to the second generator, which is presently not in running condition due to most likely needing the control board replaced. In the remaining days we have here we will continue to install lights where we can as well as doing some cleaning up of leftover materials.  We have made contact with the next mission we will visit on Thursday.  Then on Friday we will move on to a project near Port au Prince.  From there we will go to the Dominican Republic for a finial survey and flight home.  That will be in less than one week now.

Just to show you our accommodations the men of the team have had over the last week, this photo is the men's dorm.  Some nights the sounds inside the room outdo the sounds outside.  I have probably slept pretty "soundly" myself from time to time.