Hi friends! I'd like to introduce you to Madame Meristel.
In Haitian fashion, she's called by her husband's name. For example, I am called "Madame Ben".
Madame Meristel (say it MARE-ih-stell) has five children. They range in age from 18 to 5. Her husband has been a maintenance worker at Quisqueya for many years.
Madame Meristel cleans my house. She comes two days a week. She has never missed a day in two full years.
I've spent more time talking to her than any other Haitian (excluding fellow teachers). I've certainly spoken more Kreyol with her than anyone else. On Monday she brought her five-year-old daughter Kristel to work, and Ben got out our puppy. Kristel giggled when Jefe licked her.
Two weeks ago when Hurricane Isaac rolled through, I found out more about where Madame Meristel's family lives. They lost their home completely in the 2010 earthquake. Over the years since, they have been saving and rebuilding a small concrete house. They would construct the house as money allowed- buying a bag of cement here, a dozen concrete cinderblocks there. The roof is the last part to be finished. Their current roof was a blue tarp, which they call a tant (tent).
The night of the hurricane their tarp roof blew off and was destroyed.
Miquette spoke to Meristel and asked him to get a quote from the boss mason about finishing the house with a concrete, permanent roof. This is the proforma. I had my French-major pal Ruth help with translation.
1 roll of wire ($90)
35 pieces of iron rebar in a certain size ($320)
15 pieces of iron rebar in a certain size ($80)
40 pieces of rebar in a certain size ($70)
5 pounds of nails ($5)
25 metal bars to support the roof weight ($50)
6 sheets of plywood ($60)
6 planks ($15)
1 truck of sand ($165)
1 truck of gravel ($65)
labor for the carpenters and the ironwork ($250)
labor for the cement guys ($125)
The total on Mr. Meristel's proforma is 11,800 Haitian dollars, which equals $1,475 US.
(If you add up the dollar amounts above, you only get $1,250 US... I lost some money somehow in my exchange rate calculations for each item and rounding.)
So I want to find $1,475 so that Meristel, his wife, and his five kids can have a roof. Not a tent, but a real concrete roof that will last. They have done the hard work of rebuilding their house, and now it's time to help them finish.
Would you like to help? Maybe your family can sponsor one or two items off the list. Or your office? Or class? Or small group?
If you'd like to help, you can give through our Paypal link on the top right corner of our blog. Make sure to put in the "notes" box that this is for Madame Meristel's home. If you want to make doubly sure, you can make the donation AND then email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to tell me that your gift was for the roof.