In 2010 Konbit Shelter, with residents of the village of Cormiers, began building a three room Super-Adobe community center. Our first goal was to create a public space, so that members of the community could build it together, and decide from experience whether this style of building suited their needs for housing. Partnering with the Mango Grower’s Association, we were told that they wanted a light filled space with windows that could close so that the older generation could take adult literacy classes in privacy, without the prying eyes of their kids and grandkids. Construction began in June 2010 and completed in January 2012
During the construction of the community center, one of our team members, Monique Pierre had a baby. She and the little one, and her two other children were living in a small tarp house, which collected heat like a green house — a situation that was not safe for her or the kids. The community came to the conclusion that they wanted to continue construction with Konbit Shelter, and Monique was the obvious candidate for the house that would be built. Special thanks to Creative Time, The Rockafeller Foundation, and Upper Playground for helping us complete Monique’s house.
In meetings with the community, getting feedback about the two completed constructions, and trying to decide on next steps forward, we learned that the super adobe style of building, although designed to be an affordable answer to the problem of durable housing, was still economically out of the reach of most people in Haiti, owing to the incredibly inflated cost of building materials. With our third construction we set out to adapt other earth-bag building techniques to create something more specifically tailored to current needs and circumstances of Cormiers. With the Mango Grower’s Association, we identified three families most in need of housing and began construction on Adelia’s house in March 2013.