Major Renovation Completed at HAH

Six months ago, HAH’s building infrastructure reached a critical turning point. Modifications over the years had affected the natural ventilation of the space, creating dependence on air conditioners that were in a state of disrepair. Patient rooms were stifling hot and humid and smelled of sickness and other bodily odors. Windows were broken, the paint was peeling, and the bathrooms were perpetually dirty. The chaplains rarely visited the ward because they said the patients were so focused on complaining about the poor conditions that they did not want to hear about God’s love.

When our hospital opened in 1981, it was in a building designed by architects in Long Beach, California. They designed a beautiful and practical space that took into account our tropical climate and the potential for earthquakes. HAH was the closest major hospital to the epicenter of the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that struck Port au Prince in 2010, yet it stood firm without visible structural damage.

In the weeks following the earthquake, we started to notice water leaking through the ceiling on the first floor. Unfortunately, the galvanized pipes running through the concrete walls and floors developed small cracks, which were not accessible or repairable. To address the emergency, we mounted PVC pipes and drilled holes through the walls to supply the toilets, sinks, and showers. This was ugly and dirty, but it did the job.before and after of the hallwaybefore and after of the bathroomsMission hospitals sometimes accept decay and lack of infrastructure as the inevitable outcome of working with a tight budget. At HAH, our mission is to continue the healing ministry of Jesus Christ by providing the highest quality care to all classes of people. If we follow this, then a clean, orderly, and attractive environment is compulsory. Our building had served us well for over forty years, but six months ago, we knew it was time for a change.

Isoph starts construction on the nurses’ station desk

man on a construction site

Will, our electrical engineer oversees installation of oxygen, suction and electrical upgrades

An Island of Beauty and Healing

At first, we took on small-scale projects and focused on utilitarian fixes. We wondered if spending money on our hospital was appropriate when so many people around us were struggling to survive. But as the small projects were finished, laborers were still desperate for work.

That was when we realized that there are multiple benefits to building infrastructure and beautifying our hospital. Workers learn new trades, and the income from their work keeps their kids in school and food on their tables. At the same time, our hospital is becoming an island of beauty and healing in a sea of despair, where staff are proud to work, and patients are given world-class medical care.

The Pavilion One renovation project involved redoing twelve patient rooms and bathrooms and creating a new stockroom and office for the head nurse. It was a huge project, and as it went along, we learned from our mistakes, discovered new materials, and fine-tuned our skills. Most of the materials were sourced locally, most notably the green mosaic tiles, which were made in Haiti by the same family business that made the original tile for the hospital.

new hallway

The ventilation window maximizes fresh air as the warm air pulls cooler air into the rooms by exiting out of the high windows and into the hallway transept.

HAH construction team is ready to start the next project! They pose on the new covered porch area at the end of the hallway, which provides patients and families a pleasant area to enjoy the outdoors

We had a setback when we lost a load of toilets, sewer pipes, and tiles to a fake heist led by the delivery driver. We received a call from the driver claiming he was taken by gangsters and needed a ransom to complete the delivery. We soon realized that the “kidnappers” were the driver’s accomplices, and despite our best efforts, we were unable to get back our supplies. This was devastating as we try to be such good stewards of the resources entrusted to us.

Eventually, we were able to repurchase the items and have them delivered incognito in a yellow school bus. The drivers claimed to have special powers, making their bodies impenetrable to projectiles. Sure enough, they showed up with the cargo in a bus full of bullet holes. We’re not sure when the holes were made, but we are grateful they made it safely.

It is no small task to get things done and do them well with all of the challenges around us. But we are blessed and excited to continue in our efforts to relieve suffering and offer hope to so many people who are in need.

nurses in a clean office

Nurses excited about the modern workspace

Clean, new hospital room

Patient rooms are simple and pleasant

man at a water fountain

Our physical therapist helps himself to a drink from our purified water spigot

nurses take a selfie in a new office space

Employees take a lot of selfies in the new space!

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