Haiti ~ mission success!

No time for details now, but the eagerly awaiting crowds of blog followers will want to know what happened. Well, the level of devastation was extreme. The visuals and reality were often heart-wrenching. Chaos, both physically, but more importantly, in terms of government and NGO actions to reconstruct Haiti, was evident. To be sure, this is no easy task.

But the mix of Colonial history and perhaps well meaning western initiatives, combined by the inevitable bureaucracy or bureaucratic inertia that befalls large scale civil reconstruction, lead to a sense on my part that there will surely be a large gap between today’s promises and tomorrow’s execution. At the end of the day, Haiti itself will need to find a path to rebirth, hopefully accompanied by external support. At least Haiti benefits from an international desire to help. This is more than some countries experience. But from desire to action, only the future will tell how successful the current buzz in the international community will be.
For our part, we are going to do all we can to ignite a bamboo fire and seize every opportunity that we can create to get bamboo structures in Haiti as soon as possible and demonstrate that reconstruction does NOT have to equate to yet more concrete, yet more polluting materials. Reconstruction CAN be green.
We made the greatest progress in establishing a CO2 Bambu team. Already, I am completely confident about the intent, integrity, cooperative spirit and professionalism of the emerging CO2 Bambu Haitian family.
The reforestation effort that our bamboo expert, Gib, launched in concept, is already a reality. Four distinct groups now have Guadua seeds from Nicaragua and even if there was nothing else we did going forward (not planning on THAT!), it would already be a meaningful contribution, albeit, for the longer term.
We met all the people we intended for me to meet, and then some. We met bamboo enthusiasts from Kenskoff and Leogane areas. We met people who had zero connection to bamboo and were simply looking for housing solutions, robust and quickly deployed. We developed relationships that, like bamboo seeds, will sprout and grow tall and strong, and flexible as we unfold our role in the Haiti reconstruction story.
As Regine says, I met a lot of new people who are “bon bagay” (Creole for “good guys”). I intend to move with alacrity from the outer circle of observers to an inner circle of doers. The path will be tortuous and slow to be sure, and if it is not, that means that we will be quickly flooded by demand for our sustainable housing solutions. If that is the case, we will have the mother of all industrial ramp ups. Good news is, I have been professionally trained on the largest industrial ramp up in aerospace that I can think of, and if I can do that, I can do bamboo ramp up. Still, it will be an enormous challenge, and of course that’s the point. Our challenge will be much less than that facing 1,000,000 families struggling to restart their lives.
I am concerned and apprehensive about what will happen when the hurricane season hits and the looming disaster of flooding, spreading disease, and involuntary side effects of the NGO driven rush to build tent cities that may, or may not, be safe environments when hurricanes hit.
Of one thing I am sure. Haiti is not a “project” for CO2 Bambu. It is now a core motivator and will define who we are as a company, and to some degree, as individuals.
Pictures will be posted soon.
Ben

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