Tuesday, April 15, 2008

HAITI: building chairs

Our main project for our trip was to visit CEPAM, the Methodist home for the aging, and build nine chairs for use on their outdoor patio. This project has been a long time coming -- we worked on cutting, drilling and countersinking, and routering wood back in January! We packed up the pieces, loaded them into tubs, checked them on the airplane, and planned on visiting CEPAM on Tuesday the 8th, to visit with the residents and build their chairs.

Unfortunately, the manifestations spread and intensified on Tuesday, and we were unable to safely leave the guesthouse. We decided instead to assemble the chairs at the guesthouse, with the hopes of delivering them to CEPAM later in the week. Our Hatian friend, Tony "Boss," came over to help with the construction process.

First, we unpacked all the wood and sorted it into piles:
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Then, we worked together to make one "box," which stands as the base for each chair:
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Next, we made "kits" for each chair, laying out all of the pieces, and pre-assembling the boxes. This is when we discovered we forgot all but 8 of the backslats, which meant we could really only finish two of the nine chairs, but we improvised later, not to worry:
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We all decided to pose for a picture once we finished the first chair! Back row: Don, Deidre, Ed, Ginny. Front row: Myself, Tony Boss, Dan:
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Don, Ed, and Tony really did most of the work, once Dan and I made all the boxes and put all the legs on the boxes:
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Don't they look great?
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The hard workers, taking a load off after they've finished:
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And, lastly, Mme Florette, the director of CEPAM, came to visit us on Friday, (we were unable to deliver the chairs -- although things calmed down, we didn't have enough gas and all the gas stations were still closed!), and she tried out the chairs. She thinks her residents will be very pleased!
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Overall, building the chairs was a great way to deal with the boredom of being stuck in the guesthouse . . . for the first day, anyway! The only hitch was that Tony got stuck with us that first night -- he tried heading for home just before dinner, and returned ten minutes later. The streets were too violent -- he called his family, had dinner with us, and the management found him a room in the guesthouse for the night. He did make it home safely the next day, though! He also returned later in the week to visit again, before we left.

2 comments:

Courtney said...

The chairs look great! Even if you didn't deliver them, you did such a wonderful thing and I am sure they will be appreciated!

Courtney

Vicki's Vegan Vice said...

What a generous and wonderful thing to make these chairs! I'm saddened to hear about the violence in Haiti and hope for peace ~ the good will you've shown must be all the more appreciated. Take care there!!