Monday, March 31, 2014

How BWB started up many years ago.

Builders Without Borders: Southwest Floridians making a difference a world away

Dan Dodrill is a builder who goes way beyond the borders of Southwest Florida. He’s a builder who has no border at all. As a founder and president of Builders Without Borders, Dodrill heads up teams of local builders and residents who journey to Africa to build schools for children who desperately need a safe, clean place to learn.

It all began more than a decade ago when Dodrill, president of Daniel Wayne Homes, met Jean Baptiste, the national director of Rwanda Youth for Christ.

“He had a contract to purchase 1,500 acres, but had no money. It was kind of a daunting thing. He needed about $150,000. He felt that to help the country he needed to establish education. To prevent future genocides, he needed to start with the children.”

Baptiste had been in Colorado attending a general assembly. When Dodrill heard this story he had Baptiste fly to Florida to see how he could help.

“I probably could have given him $500, but he was in a country that needed help, so we donated money personally and we shared him around, and in two weeks he left and had the whole $150,000,” Dodrill said.

Dodrill thought that was the end of the Rwanda relationship. But he was wrong.

“A year later he closed on the property and I got a call from Jean and he needed money to build on the property. Jean asked if I would come over and build. My first response was ‘absolutely not.’”

Dodrill spent about nine months trying to get out of helping any further. Then he decided a little long-distance help would suffice.

“In Wauchula we found steel products. We thought we would send a building kit to Rwanda. But that did not work because they needed someone to show them how to do it. He (Baptiste) said, ‘That won't work, we don’t have any skilled people.’ We could not just send over a kit with instructions.”

That was the turning point in Dodrill’s volunteering. He realized for a school to materialize, he had to make it happen. Dodrill helped raise $100,000 for materials for the first building. Then he rounded up volunteers and in 2003 headed over to Kigali, Rwanda to help build a 7,000-square-foot multipurpose building. Locals poured the slabs before he arrived. Volunteers came over in two one-week shifts. The project was complete in about two weeks.

Haiti trip

Day 2

Voodoo Spirits. Papa Doc cast his spell through the artful use of voodoo, which in effect is Haiti's national religion. Duvalier affected the staring gaze, whispered speech and hyperslow movements recognized by Haitians as signs that a person is close to the voodoo spirits. He solicited the allegiance of voo doo priests in the countryside, often bringing them to Port-au-Prince for a presidential audience, and he encouraged rumors that he possessed supernatural powers. "My enemies cannot get me!" he used to exult to his followers. "I am already an immaterial being."

François Duvalier (14 April 1907 – 21 April 1971), also known as 'Papa Doc' Duvalier, was the President of Haiti from 1957 until his death in 1971. He opposed a military coup d'état in 1950, and was elected president in 1957 on a populist and black nationalist platform. His rule, based on a purged military, a rural militia known as the Tonton Macoute and the use of a personality cult and voodoo, resulted in the murder of an estimated 30,000 Haitians and the exile of many more. Ruling as President for Life from 1964 until his death in 1971, Duvalier was initially known for successfully fighting diseases, gaining him the nickname 'Papa Doc' ("Daddy Doc[tor]" in French). 

Day 2

What a day. I really don't know where to start so maybe the beginning is best. Been about 18 hours since my last blog.  We all thought last night would be relatively uneventful and for the most part it was. But I must say I felt really bad for the guys from Florida. Because even Wade and I froze last night with the superpowered air-conditioning unit freezing up the inside of our tent.  I don't know that any of us expected to see a snowstorm in Haiti but it around 3 AM nine of us would not have been surprised to see snowflakes coming down inside the tent.  All of us at one point or another had to make trips outside the tent to the facilities. Each of us commented on the security guard that spent the entire night outside of our tent.   Haiti isn't the safest place and love a child goes to great lengths to make sure we are all safe. 

Bill made sure we had early-morning beef jerky snacks before breakfast. So much for losing weight on this trip.  Breakfast was great, pancakes and coffee. It really doesn't get much better than that.  

Because it was Sunday none of the Haitians work and we had the day off.  We knew we were going to go to church down at miracle village, the community and church built by love a child.  The residents of miracle village are earthquake victims that have been relocated by love a child. The earthquake demolished over 250,000 residences in the Port-au-Prince area.  

While we were eating breakfast Sherry, with love a child, introduced us to a former witch doctor. Quite a fascinating story.  He once worked with and was consulted by François Duvalier (14 April 1907 – 21 April 1971), also known as 'Papa Doc' Duvalier.  He was the President of Haiti from 1957 until his death in 1971. His rule, based on a purged military, a rural militia known as the Tonton Macoute and the use of a personality cult and voodoo, resulted in the murder of an estimated 30,000 Haitians.  A desperate  horrible time without a doubt 

The witch doctor,whose  name escapes me, was converted to Christianity and is now an evangelist.  His stories, through an interpreter, where pretty amazing to say the least.  After we talked with him for a while we all piled in the vehicles and drove to the church service.  

I think what struck everyone was the great joy expressed by those that are in such despair.  The service was great, but in Creole,  which a couple of us had some difficulty understanding.  Haha.  The former witch doctor, now an evangelist did give a sermon toward the end which was translated for us.   

Since we had Sunday off we wanted to see some of the surrounding areas so Carlos, one of love the child's terrific employees, took us around in a 6 Wheel Dr., German made vehicle. It was like riding a mountain goat, it could climb straight up hillsides.  Yes the flatlanders from Florida were a little bit afraid, and Wade and I needed to calm them assuring them that any American-made four-wheel-drive vehicle would be able to accomplish the same feat.  I think the poor guys from Florida are still shaking.  

We ended up at a  village that for most or all of us represented the greatest poverty we have ever seen. Truly these people lived in mud and stick 6 x 6 shacks .   A couple  of dozen kids ran to meet us, All dirty, many  unclothed, and all clearly hungry.  We did not have food to give them, but handed out would toy cars that Fuzz and his group donated for the trip.  All of these people were clearly in great need .     

After the stop at this village Carlos drove us to Fonds-Parisean.  Yes I am sure I messed up that spelling.  All of us had a chance to relax for a little while and have a cold refreshment. Jim and I talked a lot about what it would take to get Haiti on the road to recovery and prosperity. Peter, shared his heart for others all across the world. He is truly driven to help humankind whenever and wherever he possibly can   Scott, Wade, Warren, Carlos, Emily, and Bill didn't sit near me so you'll have to ask them what they talked about.  I know we all thought a lot about what we witnessed. 

Before dinner we wrapped things up with a visit to the love a child orphanage.  Beautiful children everywhere.  And really a spectacular orphanage. Love a child has just done an incredible job for these kids.  After our visit to the village earlier today, the orphanage really raise our spirits to see all the love that was being poured out on these kids. They were playing and loving on us as much as possible.   I know we all wanted to stay and just love on them. I have to tell you the hugs I got will stay with me for a very, very long time. God bless all of those babies.

Pardon the voice dictation errors.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Builders without Borders blog

Haiti trip 

Day one. Wade and I were up at 1:15 AM Denver time to meet the guys out front of the hotel in Fort Lauderdale to drive to the airport for our 6 AM flight. The flight to Port-au-Prince was uneventful and I know Wade and I tried to get some shut eye.  Peter looked wide-awake and ready to go as usual. He is definitely the energizer bunny in disguise.

A couple of gentleman from love a child met us at the airport and shepherded us out to a truck for the 45 minute drive to love a child village.   Bill thought the truck looked more like something to transport prisoners.   We were literally in a cage in the back of a flatbed. It actually worked pretty well for us.  

Everybody took in the sites and there were plenty on the bumpy drive.    Scott and Warren we're definitely unfazed by the significant poverty we witnessed, surely as a result of their many trips for builders without Borders .  Jim made some comparisons to his mission trip to El Salvador but I think was struck by the lack of infrastructure that surrounded us.

Once we arrived at the love a child village we were shown our accommodations. We are all in military style tents. And while that may sound rustic they are actually quite nice and even air-conditioned. The trailer is 50 yards from Martin serves as a bathroom and shower and actually does a very nice job of it.  

Warren and Peter whipped us into shape pretty quickly after our arrival and we begun to unload the shipping container .   We were all somewhat surprised about how little material there was for this project, certainly in comparison to our last adventure to Rwanda in September 2013. 

We got all of the trusses built and roofing beams put together which should be installed sometime tomorrow afternoon and Monday.

Breakfast at 8 AM tomorrow followed by church, and then probably some lunch. We will get a slow start tomorrow but I think everyone is looking forward to the service and enjoying it with the Haitians.    As always please forgive any voice dictation errors. 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Next trip to Rwanda is January 2015

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Builders Without Borders News

Rwanda 2015

We have received some good news regarding our next trip to Rwanda.

After confirming with the Rwandan gang we have settled for the first group to leave on Thursday the 8th of January 2015 and  will be back in the States on Sunday the 18th. The second group will leave on Thursday the 15th and will be back in the States on Sunday the 25th of January 2015. The cost for 11 days will be $ 2600,00 and if you stay for the full 18 days the cost is $ 3000,00. This price  is based on double  occupancy. If you would like to have a single room the price will most likely go up, how much we don't know yet. 

Included in this price is, flight, hotel, meals, health insurance ,transportation and an excursion in Rwanda.
There is a chance we might be flying through Europe or Qatar due to cost, but more to come about that.
We will be building three 120' x 32' buildings, 9' tall in the province of Rwamagona, about one hour from Kigali. The interior of the buildings will be a material called " smartside" and it comes  in 9'x4' sheets so no cutting for top piece. The exterior will still be vinyl siding, because it will keep maintenance costs down. We will most likely ship the containers in early September of 2014.
We will also be doing things a little differently this time when it comes to the planning of the work. We learned from our last trip that we need to be more structured and organized in the way we do things.  This year we will have one superintendent who will oversee the project. We will have a daily meeting where people are assigned their task for the day so we all can work more as a team.
We will also, again, take Wednesday off , and make a day out of it like we did on our last trip. This trip is not just about building, but also about experiencing a little bit of how the people of Rwanda live and see the country side of this beautiful country.
In the coming weeks and months the planning of this trip will continue and of course you will be kept up to date with information and updates. We will have a couple of orientation meetings to discuss the progress of the trip and to get input from you. Any ideas or suggestion you might have we want to hear about it.
We are hoping for at least between 35-50 people coming on this trip, the more the merrier, women or men, young or mature, tall or short, construction experience or not, it does not matter, we want you.
Please tell your family, friends and business acquaintances about Builders Without Borders, share this on your Facebook page or email this to everyone you know.
This is an experience you don't want to miss, so mark your calendar, start saving and start looking forward to the trip of your life.
If you have any questions please contact:
Tom Ashwill @
Dan Dodrill   @
Peter Fenger @
It is not to early to sign up, so if you know for sure you are going, please write a check for a deposit for $200.00 and send it to:
Builders Without Borders
5961 Northland Road, suite 1
Fort Myers, FL 33905
Also for your information, we have a 1 woman and 7 man team traveling to Haiti on Saturday the 29th of March for one week to help construct two roofs for Love A Child at their campus. This is a new partnership between BWB and LAC we hope to build on into the future. Please include them in your prayers.

Please follow the trip on Facebook and on our website. We will try to post every day, but internet connection is not the best in Haiti, so please bear with us if you don't hear anything for a day or two.
Again we would like to thank everybody involved with BWB for everything you do for us. Without you it is not possible to do what we do.

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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Next trip back to Rwanda


Greetings To BWB Brothers and Sisters

The July trip to build three classroom buildings for Rwanda Youth For Christ in Rwamagana, Rwanda has been delayed until January 2015.  The reason for the delay is that RYFC needs a bit more time to complete the infrastructure (road widening, new concrete culverts, etc) and other related issues.

For all of you who are interested in joining us on this adventure, now would be a good time to make sure your passports and vaccinations are in order.  Also, it would be very helpful if you would let us know that you are planning to go.  It is not too early to fill out the trip application and send in the $200.00 down payment.  Peter will reserve airline seats as soon as we know the approximate number going.

You can find information about the trip, hotel accommodations, forms, etc. on the JOIN US page of the website.  The website address  If you have any questions you can call Peter at 239-572-4813 or Tom at 239-633-5753

We are so grateful for all of you.  Without you all there is no Builders Without Borders.

Gitega international Academy in Burundi

Students at GIA playing soccer and basketball