Saturday, June 11, 2011

Grassroots Engineering headed to the hills of Haiti: The Solar Tower, Circuit breaker, Control box, Kit and Kaboodle

Bos Eric Sabelman of Palo Alto Friends Meeting elaborates on the apparatus and highlights the features he's developing.

This video is  for Gwoupman GEZ and the CEO (Chief Eternal Optimist) of our small non-profit, "if Pigs Could Fly - Haiti."  GEZ will receive an instruction booklet and diagrams in 3 languages.  Randy Mont-Reynaud will carry a replica of everything to the Zoranje hills this month, June 2011.

Hiking the Hills of Haiti with e.e.cummings

 i thank You God for most this amazing
day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,

and this is the sun's birthday; this is the birth day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any--lifted from the no
of all nothing--human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

(Poem by e.e. cummings; photos by Marie-Josee Mont-Reynaud; compiled by Randy Mont-Reynaud)


In this too-raw footage which took forever to up load to You Tube, Eric Sabelman of Palo Alto Friends Meeting and board member of If Pigs Could Fly - Haiti, patiently describes to us lay folk the intricacies of pumps and panels here in Part 1.  Part 2 will demonstrate the building of the tower, with fittings and hooks and sinkers.  This information will be translated orally during my summer sojourn June-July, as this video is shared with our colleagues and Gwoupman (GEZ) of Zoranje zone.  An instruction booklet, in Kreyol and English and French, will accompany all the apparatus when the fine-tuning and trouble-shooting is complete.

Bos Eric's target date is September.  If you would like to lend a hand, either on the ground with us and/or with a donation or assist with a back-translation of the instruction booklet, please Join the Cause, here

Donations may also be made on the "If Pigs" website, or by mail, even!  Mesi anpil!

Sunday, June 5, 2011


So, tell me about it.  This needs a better camera and a better videographer, but you can get an idea of the terrain despite the jerkiness of the FLIP camera and, uh, the jerkiness of the beholder! Spectacular vistas, yet the vast erosion and patchy grasses and jagged path underscore that challenges to survival in this harsh, remote mountain zone of southeastern Haiti. We are maybe 4,000 or 4,500 feet max, give or take.  I'll take it!  You?


 Last week, there was a post on FB about how hurricanes will threaten (again) folks living in tents in the city.  Well.  Let me share with you: folks up here in the mountains would LOVE to have a tent - heck, even a tarp or two.  In a hurricane, we batten down the hatches (literally), pull out what's under any beds and put it on top of the beds and grab all the kivets and bokits within reach, to get ready to bail.  And then we sit and wait it out.  Me?  I'm lucky - I'm the one with candles, maybe even a tiny kerosene lamp made from a tin can.  Folks huddle at my place if they get caught in the storm.  Cosy? You bet.  Talk much?  Well, not after a coupla hours...

Now, this is the house of Mesye Sinelon, se pwopyete kay mwen li ye.  He put a new roof on and these are the new boards and doors, all prior to painting.  That's the cook house lean-to on the right.  It's pretty snug even during a hurricane, now that the roof ain't got a hole in it and I won't drown...