Mahanaim, Haiti Aquaponics Part 7

Today the crew began pouring the concrete walls for the growing beds. The plywood was the 3/4″ thick board and had to be cut by hand, just as everything has to be done in Mahanaim. There is electricity here so if battery powered tools were available they could be charged and progress would speed up dramatically. Nonetheless the crew worked all day cutting the boards to size and framing the walls. By the end of the long day two of the growing beds had been poured before we ran out of plywood. Tomorrow we will remove the plywood and use it to frame the last growing bed and fish tank.

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It rained here for the first time since I have been here and it was quite a relief to get some cool weather in the evening. The tin roof shattered with sound but I can deal with that given the cooler night. It looks as though I will need to return on a later date to begin operation of the system as we will have finished construction, but we will not have the correct growing medium. Things are very difficult to find in Haiti, and much more expensive. Shipping to Haiti is very inefficient and since most products are not manufactured here, the cost of everything is higher than one would expect in a developing nation. This makes life even more difficult for the poorest population in the Western Hemisphere.

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When I return I will try and find a way to deliver the rest of the materials we need either in the USA or hopefully in Haiti. I have seen some swimming pools here but the epoxy paint may have been imported. Finding a suitable growing medium will be very difficult as most gravel and sand here is combined with various different rock types and soil. If we come to a point where we just cannot find a source for the substrate we may just have to try and source from the Dominican Republic. We would likely not be able to bring in truckloads of medium but perhaps we could bring in styrofoam sheets for a raft system. This would be disappointing because I feel in a place with limited electricity that the flood and drain system would be more appropriate. Only time will tell. With that being said we are on the right track.

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