Teamwork…. A Shared Vision
There is a Haitian Proverb that states, “Anpil men, chay pa lou.” With many hands a load is not heavy.
Yesterday I witnessed this proverb in action here at Clean Water for Haiti as we poured the foundation at the construction site for our new facilities. In all the years of my working in the new home building industry, I have never seen a foundation poured quite like this one. More importantly, I have never been more impressed by a group of individuals coming together in a shared unified vision; the new home of Clean Water for Haiti. Especially so, as it is was successfully completed in the Haitian tradition of hard work and ingenuity; by that I mean, 18 pair of hands, 10 wheelbarrows, a single cement mixer, 62 sacks of cement, and truckloads of rock and sand in a 12 cubic foot area, in less than 6 hours in the hot sun. I stand amazed at the wonder of dedication, work ethic, and absolute teamwork of our staff and leadership team.
This day was a compilation of hours of dedicated planning, creativity, and never losing site of the goal, starting with the unceasing efforts of Chris and Leslie, and our construction management team, Chewie and Thony. Any successful project, whether large or small, begins with communication and the sharing of expertise, willingness, insight, and critical thinking. Andrew Carnegie once said, “Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” CWFH’s shared vision would not have been accomplished without the joint efforts of this highly effective management team as they directed the individual accomplishments of the whole team.
Let’s see if I can put a visual on the whole process for you. You pretty much had to have been there to fully get the scope of success that day, but I will do my best. We have two guys in the trenches where the cement is being poured, we have one guy each at, let’s say, work stations – cement bags, shoveling gravel, shoveling sand, cement mixer operator, water supplier, generator functions, and mixed cement pourer. It is like an oiled machine, the cement, gravel, sand, and water go in as the mixer churns, and then out pours the concrete ready for service.
That is just the beginning. The cement is strategically poured into wheelbarrows, already lined up and ready to go with its very own “wheelbarrow handler”. As the wheelbarrow gets filled, the handler then does a fast jog to the pour site where the foundation expeditor manages the placement and leveling of each load. The jogs from the mixer site to the construction site, in full sun and heat, was a sight to see and experience for sure. Later, after a section is filled and leveled, we have a water inspector to make sure the concrete isn’t drying too quickly as he sprinkles down the foundation; without the aid of a water hose, mind you, his hands do the sprinklings for him. Here is the amazing part – we have a most perfect foundation; one that was mixed, poured, delivered, formed, and tended to all with a unified and commitment to do a job well done. Teamwork in action …. A lot of action.
We also had teams behind the teams, participating in this joint effort. There was me, the trusty mission volunteer who kept everybody hydrated and fed, there was our smallest staff member, Alex, who made sure all the tools were not misplaced (not!) and he also kept us free of baby tarantulas as he kept them under a watchful eye, and the local deli/drive in café, Haitian style, that prepared our lunches to go. Even the mangos seemed to be dancing with delight. Every one pitched in, I heard no complaints (except for the mother tarantula) and at the end of the day we were pleased beyond measure …. And that kind of teamwork and the smiles at the end of the day …. Priceless.
Later that evening, as I thought back to the display of solidarity amongst many, from Alex, to the gracious woman who cooked our lunch, to all of our staff, and management team, I was reminded of an earlier masterpiece of teamwork that Paul talks about in Romans, the Body of Christ. He says that we all share in one body even though we may not have the same function, but in that one body we all belong to each other. I know that God sends us signs, He is evidenced in our everyday lives by people, things, and circumstances. Moreover, I know that God was with us at Camp Marie as we laid the foundation for our new facility, just as we are laying the foundation for good health through clean water for the families and children of Haiti.