Archive for “October, 2014”

To Omaha for a visit soon?


We have cleared nearly all of the hurdles involved with having a Haitian travel to the United States…it is not easy!  We are now just waiting for the passport to be printed for our daughter Victoria.  The people at the US Embassy told me that all of our documents are finally in order and now she can get a US passport.  If all goes well, we could be back to Omaha late November or early December.  Nothing is a done deal down here though…so we are not buying tickets yet!

Victoria Renee Peters

I will just start off with some pictures of the sweet baby.  She is now just over two months old, still not doing much more that eating, sleeping, crying and filling her diapers.  But, she has cracked a smile now and then and I think she is beginning to make other noises than wahhh wahhhh!

Finished a big project

The project that I wrote about earlier is now finished.  My friend Jacob Sangster is the man on the ground here in Gonaives for a large project about 30 minutes outside of town.  They have built a big orphanage and a school already and they have plans for more…a medical clinic, vocational school, community center.  I have already worked for them building the large rolling cabinets for their cafeteria.  The project that I just finished was for furniture for the new school.  I built 24 bench desks, 12 chalkboards and 7 teacher tables.

It was a fun project, I got to design the furniture and Jean Philippe got to help me work as well.  I built a jig to build the legs for the benches…that worked great…they are very strong, attractive, and I was able to make them quiclky.  The chalkboards are a little over the top for down here, but I wanted them to be quality.  I glued a piece of masonite to a sheet of half inch plywood with contact cement.  I got to teach Jean Philippe what it is like to install laminate countertops – same principle, same tools.

The tables that I built are popular…I have orders for more already from people that saw me making the tables for this project.

Four of the 24 bench desks

Here I am standing over the Jig that I made for the legs

8 tables nearly complete, some of my in laws in the picture too.

Once in a while, I can convince my wife to help.  She likes the router.

Some of the chalkboards

The school opened a couple of weeks ago.  I was able to get them all of the benches and six of the chalkboards for the opening day.  I came up with the other six chalkboards and the seven teacher tables a week later…not too bad.  Here are a few shots of the classrooms.  As you can see there is plenty of room for more benches…and I am pretty sure where they will get them!

So, now I am trying to finish up any half finished projects that I have around the house.  For those of you that know me well, I could spend a lifetime doing just that!  But I would like to start getting ready for our visit back to Omaha.  I think we would like to spend about six months back with my family.  I will try to get a day job and also do my usual handyman work in the evenings and on weekends.  I want to build up some money for our return to Haiti.  
I plan to work and save in order to purchase a piece of land and build our house, my school and my workshop as soon as we get back.  I might have a deal on some land in a nearby village…I have some friends working on that right now.
Our friends in Georgia have a container that is coming down here in the relative near future.  I have some tools that are scheduled to go in it from a friend in Georgia, and I would like to put a few more things on it.  I would like a good shop vac, thickness planer, drill press…maybe even a radial arm saw.  They are loading the container on November 4th, so whatever I can buy on Amazon and ship to the container’s location, I might be able to see when I get back.  If you would like to help me buy a tool, please do so with the one time donation button up top and put “tools” in the space for “Special instructions for seller”
Ok, I think that is enough rambling for tonight.  I am so happy that many of my friends and family follow my journey down here.  Again, I will ask for support…please consider a monthly contribution or a one time contribution for my work down here.  
Thanks for reading!

Some advice from my friends please!

If you have been following me here for at least a short time, you know that I have been complaining a lot about needing a shop to work in…and if you have been following me on facebook, you know that I have also done my fair share of complaining about needing a house to live in.

My carpentry business was actually not planned the way it is going.  I wanted to start a school and eventually start to sell some of the items that the students and I made in our classes.   It turns out that someone found out that I was a decent carpenter and people started asking me to build things for them.  This is actually a blessing, because I am able to earn some money on my own for life and for the construction of the school.

I am not very efficient with my current location.  As you know, I live with Kathy and Beaver Brooks in a big house that is used for many things…a home for their family, a place for visiting teams to stay, a workshop and a retail space for 2nd Story goods, a place to park the big truck and where I live and work during the day.

It is not very efficient because I have to bring my tools out to the yard every morning and return them all to the garage or my room at night or during the day when it rains.  I don’t have a place to store ongoing projects that is not in the way of something else.  And, it is not “mine” so it is difficult to make it work exactly the way I want it when I know that I will not be there for a long time.

The need for a house seems obvious, I have been married for six months now and I go to my wife’s mother’s house every night to sleep.  We don’t have a place of our own yet, and I think we need that sooner than later.

So, previously I had mentioned that I found a house that would also work as a workshop…but, it is a little out of reach for me at the moment financially.  A couple of days ago, I called the property owner.  He is a local, he is a businessman, he is an engineer, he is a friend, he also puts a lot of faith in God.  I told him that I keep thinking about that house.  It is still available and the price that he has offered me is well below market value.  I told him that I want to be in that house, but I can’t get him all of the money before I move in.  Here in Haiti, the tenant usually pays for a year in advance.

My friend the landlord said that we need to meet next week to find a way to get me into the house.  On the phone, I explained that I will be heading back to the US for about six months, I will be working and I can send money back then.  I am nearly positive that when we meet, he will give me any terms that I want to get me into his house.  He knows me and he knows that I will take care of his investment.  This is a new building, there are still many things to be done to it…he even offered to give me a bit of a discount for building some of the things that are lacking like cabinets in the kitchen and bathrooms.

The house is on a major road and it has a lot of potential for business.  It is a two story structure with a three bedroom two bathroom apartment on the second floor and a two bedroom one bathroom apartment on the main floor.  It has a well and a pump, it has indoor plumbing, it has good power.  I would live on the second floor and turn the main floor into my shop.  The main floor has a very open floor plan and would be perfect for many things, like a wood shop now and class rooms when I build the wood shop at the back of the property.

I would like to do this soon so that I have a secure place to put all of my stuff before I leave for the US.  I know it sounds like an expensive storage unit, but this way I will have a home to come back to when I return.

So my request for advice is what do you think?  Do I take a leap of faith and tell him that I can afford it?  Is it too much?  Is it more than I need.  I would appreciate your thoughts and questions as well.  I am especially curious as to what those of you who are helping me finance this adventure have to say.

Please let me know.  You can respond via this blog – I believe it has a place for comments, you can send me an email at or you can chat with me on facebook.  If you want to talk, send me your phone number and a good time to call…it is a lot cheaper for me to call you than for you to call me.

Thanks for taking the time today…I promise the next blog will be loaded pictures of projects and of my wife and baby…