Tuesday, December 09, 2008

New Horizon and a Haitian Lumber Mill

If you looked from the North across Cité Lumieré you used to see a large "Christmas Tree" looking tree in the vicinity of our house. Those types of trees are called Norfolk Pine. It is said that the wood is so strong, unlike other types of pine trees that they are used to make masts for large sailboats.

This particular tree has long been a type of landmark for the area. You could see it from the main road that goes into town as well as from other places. On a clear day you could even see it from the mountain with a good pair of binoculars. But no more!

We have long feared that this tree, though beautiful was a danger to our home. In recent years it has begun to lean over towards our house. Now where we come from in Texas this would not be a problem. However, there is one big difference between Dallas, Texas and Les Cayes, Haiti. Hurricanes!!!!!!

About a month ago we decided to see what it would take to bring this tree down. After talking with a local missionary we decided to hire someone to climb the tree and cut the top part off section by section.

It was quite a sight to watch this old Haitian man climb the tree, tie off a section and then cut it and lower it gently to the ground.


He did this several times until about half the tree was gone and the pieces got so big that they threatened to pull him from the tree.

Several days later a missionary friend brought his chain saw over. We put ropes around the tree to try to guide it safely down during its dramatic timber. You see our house is on one side, a driveway with a big almond tree on the other side, and an ornate metal fence surrounds it all. The problem was, we could cut out a section of fence, but then the tree would have to fall perfectly to miss the house, driveway, and land between a water hydrant and a cement pole used to wind up and store a garden hose.

As you can see, there was very little margin for error.

We tied the ropes and with several guys pulling to try to guide the tree, we held our breath and prayed as we watched our friend start cutting this monster down.

It started to fall! Timberrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!!!!!!!

It landed with a boom that rattled our teeth and sounded like the Walls of Jericho coming down.

We couldn't believe it. The tree had landed perfectly.


It was as if God had grabbed it and lowered it to the ground.

It was no sooner on the ground than the man who did the first cutting up in the tree was stripping it of its bark.

One my way home today I noticed that a scaffolding had been erected to make some planks out of the tree.

Waiting for the saw!

Who needs Home Depot? Welll, I would love a Home Depot here, but the Haitian people somehow come up with a way to do things.

I guess necessity truly is the mother of invention and we have a new look to our horizon!

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