Haiti Construction Internship Post #2

Wednesday we drove from Cap Haitian south and inland to a small town called Pignon in the middle of Haiti.

We are staying at a school here and building a garden and outdoor classroom on the campus. On Wednesday we measured out the site and started digging fence posts. We put in all the fence posts around the garden and strung barbe wire around it to keep out the cows, goats, and pigs that roam here.

I also helped lay out the classroom, and we dug the footings for the posts. Once we got everything level, square, and plum, we mixed concrete and poured them. The classroom I am helping build is going to be attached to an existing building that is under construction as well. The footings dried over night. Next we stated laying out where the rafter ledger is going to be attached to the existing building. Screwing that in was difficult because all the drill bits we had were weak and the concrete screws were not self tapping. I am still trying to figure out how we can make it more secure. The last thing I did before we stopped for lunch was start putting on the rafters. The pitch of the roof is 2/12, and I am elated that I brought a speed square with me because cutting the rafter tails was much easier. For the rest of the day, I will help finish rafters, then put bird blocking in them, then put 1x2s on top, and lay the tin roofing over that.

I also have to make a couple gates for the garden entrences as well.

Henry Miller

(I am posting for Henry as his access to WiFi is limited.  Mike Schemmel)

Elementary School Internship Day 3, 4, and 5

May 21

The kids in my class are nice, and, before I started my internship, I was worried about not being able to understand them or that they would speak too fast.  However, since I started my internship, I feel like they are talking a lot slower, and, if I have something that I don’t understand, I just tell them to repeat it again.

The classroom is different than a Chinese classroom.  My mentor Darlene treats her students like they are family or friends, and her students treat me the same way, helping me go through any process I don’t understand, like where is a printer.  Chinese teachers just tell Chinese students what to do and don’t listen to the students’ opinions.  In China, teachers and students can not be close.  In Darlene’s class, she greets her students with a hug.  This would never happen in China.

May 22

Today we worked on the animals report again, and I poked the holes and made the strings for their masks.  We read a little, and we played Duck Duck Goose. The students and teachers are being really nice to me.

May 23

Today we did some math problems, and one girl in my group has really hard time with it.  I tried to explain to her, and she get some of it.  I learned that a teacher needs to be very patient and must try different ways to help students learn.

Zoe Zhou

Architectural Design and Carpentry Internship Post #5

May 22

David took me on a walk around downtown, and he introduced me some history of various houses and the materials used to build them. Therefore, I know Saloon Best is the oldest house because it was built in 1879s, and I saw how the little park and the end of Spring Street changed.  

The little park at the end of Spring Street before and after.

Then David sent me information about my internship project.  Using SketchUp, I will design a tree house.  David gave me the following directions:

  1. Imagine that the treehouse is your place to live.
  2. It must be at least 10’ above the ground. It could be more than one story, and there could be a deck on the roof.
  3. It needs a bathroom (toilet, sink, shower).
  4. It needs a kitchen (small refrigerator and stove, kitchen sink, counter space for food preparation).
  5. It needs a bed, clothes storage, a table with 2 chairs and a sitting area with 2 living room chairs.
  6. It needs a deck that gets lots of sun.
  7. It would be nice if the sun came into the living/dining/kitchen area.
  8. It needs a ladder or stairway to get between ground and treehouse.

In the afternoon I started work with Fred. I sanded some of the wood for the Adirondack chairs with a rotary sander and glued some of the wood for the chair bases.

 sanding and . . .


River Ye


Architectural Design and Carpentry Internship Post #4

May 21

I arrived at David Waldron’s office at 9 am. After I arrived, David started to introduce me to SketchUp, a program used to design buildings. I had already learned some information about SketchUp from the internet, and I have been using it for a project (making a model of the Spring Street dormitory) for my Pre-Calculus class.   I showed my project to David, and he helped me solve some problems with my dormitory model, including how to make a door knob.

 My mentor, David Waldron, working with SketchUp.

River Ye

Haiti Construction Internship Post #1

May 23

So far everything is going pretty well here. The last few days we have traveled a bit around the north side of the island, and I have been working at the organization center. It is in in Lambe, a small town outside of Cap Haitian where I flew into on Saturday.  I put tin roofing on an outdoor structure and built a few wooden benches for it too.


We traveled with another group to the Citadel, which is a large castle/fort that was built after the Haitian revolution to protect them from other invasions by the Europeans. I am finding that the history of Haiti is fascinating. The revolution of Haiti was lead by the slaves fighting against the French and Spanish that controlled it originally. It was the only slave revolt in the world that was successful.

Yesterday I thinned and cleared a orchard with banana trees behind the house where I am staying at. I built some other furniture for them as well. Tomorrow we are driving south to a rural school where I will be building a fence and an outdoor school structure.


(I am posting for Henry as his access to WiFi is limited.  Mike Schemmel)

Elementary School Internship Day 1 and 2

Day 1 – May 17

Today was my first day of helping my mentor Darlene with her second grade class.  In the morning we sat in a circle introduce ourselves. Then we did some math problems. I helped some of them read some of the books and work on their animal reports. The second graders where nice, and I had a lot of fun.

Day 2 – May 18

Today, a student from the high school walked me through the process of how to make copies and some other things.  In the morning, we did math problems, and we did some reading together. We had a outdoor lunch, and we did some more reading.  I got to read to them.  At the end of the day, we did some PE.

Zoe Zhou

Architectural Design and Carpentry Internship Post #3

Today, May 18, when I arrived at Fred’s house, I started to run the chair arms through the planer.  Then while I finished them, Fred and I began to pack up woodworking tools and set up these woodworking tools behind Spring Street’s dorm.

  chairs arms prior to running through the planer

 chair arms after running them through the planer

  “wood shop” outside Spring Street’s dorm

River Ye

Architectural Design and Carpentry Internship Post #2

Thursday, May 17, Fred taught me how to change the jigsaw blade. When I exchanged the blade, I started to cut the chair arms with the jigsaw, and Fred started to cut chair backs. I also used a chop saw to help make the chair arms.  We finished all the chair arms and chair backs at 12:25 pm.  Then Fred introduced me to the chair plans, and we will make the chair rails tomorrow.

Using the chop saw to make chair arms

River Ye

Website Development Internship #1

May 18

It has been two days since I set up my work studio and started to build the website (http://ssis.org.cn).  Yesterday, Karmen, my mentor, and I decided the website frame based on 7 sections: 1) home page;  2) about the school;  3) academics;  4) students life; 5) admissions; 6) more info (contact us and school calendar); and 7) the link to the school’s original English website (http://springstreet.org).  I finished the most important part of building the website. With the rest of time. I just need to follow the directions to design it.

The homepage of the website.

The notes we took of the 7 sections.

My work studio.

Nathan Li