If you have been asked by your twin parish to support one of their construction projects, there are a few guidelines that would be worth considering. Most importantly, you should ask for a copy of an estimate (“devis”) from the contractor/engineer. (Builders in Haiti are usually referred to as engineers). The devis generally gives the project cost in gourdes and also in US dollars.

Secondly, you should consider contributing towards the overall cost of the project in certain increments; for example, you might send the amount needed to build the foundation, then the walls and roof, and lastly, the amount for the finishes. Ask for electronic photos after each step.

There will be instances when you can choose to deviate from the above conditions. If the project involves a relatively small amount of funds (e.g $10,000-$20,000), you may want to give the entire amount after receiving the devis and photos during the construction. The decision about giving larger amounts, such as for the building’s foundation, walls & roof at the same time, would depend entirely on your relationship with the pastor — whether you know him well and have total confidence in him. If you have never personally met the pastor, I strongly urge you instead to follow the recommendations for sending funds in incremental gifts, requiring photo evidence of construction stages, etc.