After having spent January 27th to February 3rd in the hot humid Caribbean weather of Puerto Rico, teaching the residents of San Lorenzo more sustainable construction techniques, the HOPE AGUA VITA team returned from our mission to a cold Ontario winter. It was a shock back to reality after the exhilaration of a successful mission.
One of the mission goals was to teach the residents how to be more self sufficient on caring for their homes. Besides faming wood roofs and teaching framing techniques, the HOPE AGUA VITA team bought all the equipment needed for a small concrete roof repair company, brought in industry experts who live in Puerto Rico and taught a local team of mothers and grandmothers how to repair the concrete roofs.
By training these women, who began with no knowledge of concrete, water resistance or general construction, how to be able to fix these roofs themselves, the HOPE AGUA VITA team is helping to create sustainable jobs for the local community, improving the health of the buildings and enabling lives to begin to return to something resembling normal (San Lorenzo will not have electricity for a very long time) much more quickly and affordably than if they had to wait for a contractor to become available.
San Lorenzo is one of the hardest hit areas affected by hurricane Maria. Many are displaced from their homes or living in homes that are severely damaged. Even the concrete homes with concrete roofs suffered from water damage and leaks from the hurricane. The roof of the home shown in the pictures was of high urgency to repair as an elderly couple with health issues and no family to care for them were sleeping on wet mattresses from the constant water leaking into the home when it rains.
“Empowering these women and mentoring them to learn what they were capable of is an accomplishment that our team is both proud and honoured to have accomplished. To see the smiles on their faces as they began to understand that they could in fact repair these roofs and help make their community safe. What an incredibly rewarding experience.” DT
Several HOPE AGUA VITA team members have expressed similar feelings that the most rewarding aspect was teaching the local residents and seeing their smiles as they began to understand the work. In the photos above, Gustavo from the Henry Company, demonstrates prepping the roof and applying the Henry Lifetime sealer to the concrete roofs. Taking in the training in concrete roof repair #1 are Nancy Morales, Norma Colon and Aglae Cruz, members of our San Lorenzo roof repair team.
For more information about the HOPE AGUA VITA efforts to help rebuild San Lorenzo, Puerto Rico visit us at www.hopeaguavita.com or check out Facebook.com/hopeaguavita. Fundraising efforts can be supported at www.GoFundMe.com/hope-agua-vita. To arrange an interview contact firstname.lastname@example.org