BOCA RATON, Fla. - Construction is underway in Haiti of an orphanage that's being built in memory of a Lynn University student. When it's finished in a couple of months, it will be one of the strongest in the country, built to withstand an earthquake like the one that hit in 2010.
"Be Like Brit" is the name of the orphanage. It was built in honor of a young woman who came to build homes in Grand Goave, Haiti, but never got the chance.
Britney Gengel died in the 2010 earthquake. Her last wish was to build an orphanage for the children of Haiti.
Not only are her parents, Len and Cherylann, fulfilling that request, they want to do everything in their power to prevent children from dying the way Britney did.
"We've trained Haitian workers how to build buildings correctly so when the next earthquake hits these buildings will stay up," says Len Gengel.
The structure is made of constrained concrete and bound with steel reinforcement above a deep foundation - so it moves with the earth.
"I like to say when the earth has a quake it's like a wave and the building will be like a boat," says Paul Fallon, the architect.
For that, Fallon needs high quality materials, the kind that aren't available in Haiti. Crews made blocks from scratch to meet American standards.
"The earthquake was personally devastating because many more people died than had to. They died because the construction was so poor," says Fallon.
Children will start calling this home in January, on the third anniversary of the disaster. If Britney never came to Grand Goave, you may be wondering why her parents chose this site for the orphanage.This was where she and the other volunteers were headed next.
"As parents we wanted to finish their journey, to build an orphanage in Grand Goave," says Len Gengel.
One that is built to protect what is precious inside.