A 2nd Reef From a Great Team!

In January, a team from Missouri and Kentucky traveled to Ile a Vache to help with putting a second badly needed marine habitat in the sea. The habitat had been built last year and had been sitting waiting till divers could come to do the installation.

The reef waiting to be dismantled and taken to the sea.

The first day the team was in Haiti, the guys built a raft out of 2 x 6’s with an opening in the middle to lower the pieces through. It would be so much safer than last year when they hauled the pieces out to the sea on a boat. Empty plastic barrels were installed underneath it to make the raft float.

The basic raft was completed the first day!

We had been discussing where we should put this reef when some folks showed up and came in to look at the reef. One of them was a marine biologist!! It was so exciting when he confirmed that our design for the habitat was a good one! He was able to advise us on the best criteria for where the reef should go, down current from the first one as the current would carry fish larvae from the first reef to the next. We were so grateful for this “meeting” which we felt like God arranged!

The raft was moved out to the beach and a dive gear platform and ladder were added. The habitat was dismantled and loaded onto the raft.

Dismantling and moving the habitat pieces out to the raft.

The raft is loaded with habitat pieces to be pulled out to sea.
The crown piece inscribed with all the guys’ names who were working on the habitat this trip.

The hardest part was moving the crown piece off the porch where it had just been poured the day before.

It took ten guys to move it off the porch…..
….so it could be rolled the rest of the way to the raft.
Hauling the raft out to the site for the habitat.

The pieces were lowered by ropes through the opening in the center of the raft (except the crown piece) and guided down about 25 feet to the site by the divers. Michael and B.J. who had installed the 1st habitat along with Shaun did the underwater work. Shaun also took pictures and video. (See the slideshow/video at the end of this post!)

The pieces have to be precisely placed…..
…..by the divers.

Pieces ready to go in the water.

Kirk, who worked to help from the top of the raft, wrote, “It was really a pleasure to be working with JUST MERCY along side Bill as we lowered the building blocks of the reef to the ocean floor for the divers to place into position. The smile on his face was a thrill to experience.  As we rigged and lowered the concrete building blocks of the structure, Bill would look at me and say ‘We are doing something right now that nobody else in the world is doing!’ The excitement of constructing a sustainable ocean reef that will help produce more and better marine life for the Haitian fisherman to feed their families on the island is quite satisfying.

More habitats are needed!  Forms for the structures are already made, some concrete, rebar, seashells and some willingness on our part can provide some Haitian men with a little work, some American’s some physical activity, and the fish in the sea a place to repopulate.   That’s how we can help!”

It took three trips to bring all the pieces out to the site. Finally the crown piece was lowered!! It was so exciting to know that another habitat was in place!

The finished habitat.

The Team: Kirk, Emily, Bill, B.J., Michael
Pam, Janet, Shaun, Mason, Gage

We are so grateful to everyone who came to help and those who gave so this could be accomplished. God worked out so many things to make it happen. There was much more done by the team on this trip but we will save that for later updates.

Kirk wrote, “If you have ever wondered what it would be like to disconnect from the chaos and transform your ‘doing’ into ‘being’ what God has planned, perhaps praying about a mission trip to Ile a Vache should be on your list, whatever list you choose, a prayer list, a bucket list, a to do list because whatever list you choose, it will transform your gratitude list and your heart.  You will come home blessed beyond measure.”

We hope you enjoyed the story and pictures. Please watch the video below for a more complete picture of the story of The Reef Project! Enjoy!

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