We have continued to suggest that concrete blocks need to be made better in Haiti. The “culturally accepted” practice of forming cement blocks on the ground is not sustainable, because these old steel forms combine with hand-shovels to make some of the worst building blocks in the world.
Healing Hands International is taking six steps in the right direction. They are funding and installing six real-world concrete block machines in Haiti. Some of these units will make around 2000 blocks per day for use in building new churches, medical facilities and homes.
The block machines add to the water wells that this organization is providing for the Haitian people.
This is a trend that should be adopted by all the NGO’s working in Haiti. All should recognize that machines make better blocks and that continuing past practices is not acceptable any longer. Making an investment in the right tools will raise the quality of construction and put many good people to work in the communities around the island.
Good block machines will employ 12 workers at each location, creating a situation that is a win-win for all parties involved. But are machines mixing the cement for these block machines or is it still shovels on the ground?
I was not able to determine if Healing Hands uses mechanical cement mixers to create the block casting material, but I would assume that they are going to make that step as well, if they are true to their other positive trends.
These small steps in better methodology will eventually take Haiti down the road to a more sustainable future. What other tools do they need?
For reference purposes, here is what passes for a block machine in most areas of Haiti…