Sunday, January 31, 2010

Searching for land to rebuild

Since the earthquake, Andre's stepfather Mathieu has made several trips up to the mountain village of Athis, about 12 miles from Port-au-Prince, looking for land. Several people are willing to sell land, but the cheapest piece that is suitable for building is $10,000. From what we understand, it's about 11,000 square feet in size, which is more than enough, but the owner won't subdivide it.

To get to Athis by road, you take the Route de Kenscoff from Petion Ville to Fermathe (about 8 miles). This is the location of the Baptist Haiti Mission, which we visited in June 2009. The woman hugging me in the top photo is Mathieu's sister-in-law who lives in Athis and works in the cafeteria at the mission. This photo was taken in BHM's gift shop. They also have a hospital, schools, and housing. I'm trying to get in touch with them to see if there are any houses to rent in Fermathe while we are collecting money to buy the land and build a house in Athis, so Andre's family won't have to camp on the streets of the capitol.

Before we went to Haiti last June (my third time to Andre's homeland), we purchased 6 dozen toothbrushes through our dentist in Santa Cruz. In the bottom photo you see Andre handing out toothbrushes to schoolkids on the road to Athis and Duval.

Originally, Andre's family was thinking to rebuild on his grandfather's land in Duval, but for several reasons they prefer Athis. First of all, Duval is even farther from the Route de Kenscoff. Secondly, the mountain road ends before you get to Duval so you have to travel the last mile by foot, making it harder to bring in building materials. Also, there is electricity in Athis, but not in Duval, so the quality of life (and value of the house) would be more in Athis. And the latest reason is that they've heard there was earthquake damage in Duval and very little in Athis. If his family is leaving Port-au-Prince to avoid damage from earthquakes in the future, they want to rebuild in an area that wasn't affected.

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