A Witch Doctor, A Sewing School and Construction Plans in Haiti

Vocational Sewing School

The sign on the entrance gate of the vocational sewing school

The Witch Doctor

There was a witch doctor next door. Literally. Right on the other side of the wall.

Mom and I heard children chanting the same phrase over and over as we worked with the sewing students at Atelier D’Apprentissage Specialise (the vocational sewing school) in Beudet, Haiti, and we asked Pastor Cadet what the kids were doing.

It turns out they were learning or performing some form of Voodoo. Pause and let that sink in. Children younger than my Lewis learning Voodoo.

As mom and I worked with this Christian pastor whose desire is for his students to come to know Jesus as they learn a valuable trade, we listened to the sounds of a witch doctor and his students.

I tell you this to preface the fact that the sewing school building, which many of you have donated funds for in the past, is not nearly as far along in the construction process as mom and I expected it to be at this point.

The Sewing School

We were pretty disappointed to see just the footings and concrete floor completed on the building we hoped would be finished by now.  And we were a bit confused by the large footprint of the foundation. But after speaking to Pastor Cadet, we learned that he adjusted his construction plan when the witch doctor moved in.

Pastor Cadet and his wife want to eventually have a building that will house the sewing school and a children’s school/activity center where kids will learn about Jesus – an alternative to the witch doctor’s programs in the community.

In order to achieve his goal, he more than tripled the size of his building plans.  To complete the building in the way Pastor Cadet envisions will cost thousands more dollars. Money that we do not have readily available to give.

But we do see great value in what Pastor Cadet is doing, so we discussed options with him to move the school beyond the open air, tarp canopy space it occupies right now. Options that would provide a usable structure while they wait and pray for funds to achieve their ultimate goal.

Haitian Construction

In Haitian construction, it’s very common to complete a portion of a building and then use that space while slowly adding more rooms as money allows. Pastor Cadet and his wife decided it would be beneficial to complete a central large room of the building now and hold off on big picture plans until sometime in the future.

Pastor Cadet currently has $1000 in a fund to go toward this phase of his project and needs $3000 more to be able to purchase materials and pay laborers to build concrete block walls and a roof. This number is subject to fluctuate depending on the cost of materials. You would think that construction in Haiti would be really cheap, but that’s not the case. In Haiti, labor is cheap, but materials can be exorbitantly high. For example, we were told that a gallon of paint costs about 4 times more in Haiti than in the U.S. It’s sad, but true.

We did not commit a certain amount of money to Pastor Cadet for this project but we hope to help him out as funds allow, and we wanted to give you the opportunity to donate toward this project if it is something that you consider valuable.

Donations can be made out to 500 Dresses and sent to Jan Nelson, 680 1st St. NE, Britt, IA 50423, or they can be made through Paypal by sending a donation to ervnelson@q.com. Be sure to note on your donation that it is for the sewing school.

Thanks for considering giving. The photos below show the new school construction project and the current meeting place for the school.

sewing school

The footings and floor of the school are nearly complete.

The school is currently held under the blue tarp pictured. The building to the right of the tarp is Pastor Cadet’s home.

 

Support Sewing School Construction ~ Win a Quilt

Construction of the vocational school in Beudet, Haiti is underway, but more funds are needed before it can be completed. Below is a drawing of the school sent to me by Pastor Cadet.

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Mom and I are planning to send another donation for construction costs in June. Every person who sends a financial donation from now until the end of May will get their name put in a drawing for this awesome ISU quilt that mom made. It measures just under 4′ x 5′. (I realize this may not excite all of our supporters who are spread out across the US, but hey, it’s a great school…maybe you should consider becoming a Cyclone fan. 🙂 )

Checks can be written out to 500 Dresses and sent to 500 Dresses c/o Jan Nelson, 680 1st St. NE, Britt, IA 50423.

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Vocational Sewing School

Haitian Vocational School Building Update

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As you know, we have been offering support to a vocational school in Beudet, Haiti. The current facility was rough to begin with, but is now in even worse shape since the tarp roof took a hit from Hurricane Matthew.

Prior to Hurricane Matthew (thanks to all of you) we raised enough money to cover the cost of the original plans for an actual building to house the school. The cost of building the school according to the original plans was around $2000 USD. If I understand right, in those plans, the new building would have utilized the current concrete slab, and would have kind of been the “bare minimum” as far as a real building goes.

Post Hurricane Matthew, Pastor Cadet decided it would be wise to rethink those plans and instead construct a building that could withstand the storms that seem to be drawn to Haiti like a magnet.

His new plans call for concrete footings and better construction overall, so that the structure will be able to better withstand nature’s fury. He also decided to double the size of the building, adding some office space, a storage room, a reception area and two bathrooms.

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As you can guess, this increases the cost significantly. I believe it is a good move however. The building will not only be well-constructed, but will be able to be used for a variety of activities including Bible Studies, meetings and educational purposes.

Please consider donating yet again to help cover the cost of the construction. The total need to complete the new structure is $5400. As always, God knows what we need before we even ask, and just a few days ago we received a very generous donation in the mail, of which we will earmark a significant amount to the construction need.

The following are photos that Pastor Cadet has sent me of the construction supplies they have purchased and the work that is already underway.

As a reminder, donations to 500 Dresses are unfortunately not tax-deductible. Because the amount of money that passes through our hands each year is pretty small, we decided the effort of creating a government approved non-profit is not worth it at this time.

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