Herb heads to Haiti 4 times per year. When he was 70, he was offered the opportunity to move to Haiti for ten years. He turned down the offer, but agreed to go to Haiti four times per year as long as his health held up. Among other things he teaches concrete technology and disaster-resistant construction. To help others take over his teaching job, he is working on three books to be published in Creole. Of course he has a technical team helping from the US and he has a Haitian team helping him learn the Haitian culture and ensuring that all that he does will fit the needs of the Haitian people.
One book will concern producing quality concrete in Haiti.
A second book will concern residential building with confined masonry techniques. This is the indigenous Haitian building technique. Starting with a manual Blondet and others published following the Peruvian earthquake, he will update and modify it to fit Haitian needs.
The third book, which has already been published, is an expansion of David South’s EcoShell I book. With Mr. South and others, Herb has been working on techniques to build disaster-resistant homes in the poorest slums of Haiti. They have been challenged to keep the material cost below $1,000 US. One of the construction problems faced is that most of the slums are in low lying areas and the high water table is loaded with chlorides. Conventional rebar often fails in 5 years. They are using basalt rope for reinforcing. This allows them to build thinner shells, which uses less concrete, which saves money.
Materials ended up costing $2,800. By the time labor is added as well as security and other things, a home can be furnished at between $7,000 and $8,000. For a home of about the same size, others are charging $35,000.
Herb may not have as much time to write as he thought he would. People from around the world are looking over his shoulder and asking if he would come help them.
Homes for Jubilee was published in June, 2016. Kay pou Jubilee, written in Haitian Creole, was published in August, 2016.
Quality Concrete for Haiti was started and had a publication date of 2019, but the Provost of the American University of the Caribbean asked that it be published by late 2017 so Herb could use it as a textbook when teaching in January 2018. Then others saw the draft and wanted it to be expanded so it could be used anyplace where quality concrete materials are not available. So now, the working title is Quality Concrete from Crap. Herb accepts that it might be published in December, 2017, in an unfinished form and that he will have to come out with a revised edition during the spring of 2018.