“The more people who learn about the new earthquake-resistant construction techniques, the more we’ll be able to sleep in peace knowing that our houses will have the capacity to better resist an earthquake.”Pastor Oriol
Originally from Jeremie, located in the Grand-Anse Department of Haiti, Pastor Clerge Oriol moved to Port-au-Prince in the 1980s. The married father of 5 children – 2 girls and 3 boys – lived in the Nerette neighborhood. He’s been an ironworker and painter since he moved to country’s capital. He chose those two trades because for him, those were the easiest. He explains, “When I arrived to Port-au-Prince, I wanted to do something so that I didn’t have to depend on others. What seemed most feasible to me was to become an ironworker and a painter.” Many friends advised him to choose these trades and today, he tells them that he is very proud for his family depends on these two careers he chose and has for a long time. “Today, I’m a pastor and my entire family depends on what I bring home from work.” Like many of his colleagues, he learned these trades on the job, without ever having gone to a technical school.
Today, Pastor Oriol lives in Petion-Ville, in the area of Bois Moquette. “After the January 12th earthquake of 2010, I had to relocate because I lost my house and some members of my family. It is after this that my good friend and foreman Frankel, with whom I’ve worked in the past, contacted me to tell me that he’s responsible for a new construction site and he wanted to count me to be one of his construction workers. This is enabled me to connect with Build Change.”
Pastor Oriol continues, “The construction site was in Cite Soleil. All of the workers had to receive training from Build Change engineers though before we could start working. This is how I first learned of Build Change’s existence.” He goes on to say, “The training was a blessing for me, for I learned a series of techniques that I didn’t know before, such as how to make better connections between the columns and beams, how to make the stirrups and how to place them to ensure that the columns were as solid as possible. We also did many hands-on practical exercises, which proved very fruitful for me, as I am now able to put into practice what I learned during the training.” Proudly, Pastor Oriol states, “Today, I continue to work on what I’ve learned how to do better and now I know that I much more qualified to do my job, more than I was before. And from now on, I am ready to tackle any work-related challenge because I feel that I received solid training
According to Pastor Oriol, everyone should receive this type of training, “The more people who learn about the new earthquake-resistant construction techniques, the more we’ll be able to sleep in peace knowing that our houses will have the capacity to better resist an earthquake.”
Pastor Oriol noted that his house collapsed in the January 12th earthquake because it was poorly built. “But if I knew these better techniques before,” he continues, “perhaps my house wouldn’t have collapsed.” He adds, “Build Change does an excellent job at improving the way we build our houses by enabling us to be trained on earthquake-resistant techniques to build and reinforce our houses. I think that an initiative such as this one should be enlarged so that more people can have the opportunity to receive the type of training that is offered by Build Change. This is my hope for the organization.”