News Blog

You can keep up with the latest project developments from the people on the ground making them happen via the BWB Blog. We want to hear from you and welcome your comments.

Tool Bus Arrives in Haiti!

The journey of the bus began with an idea from Sean “Jinx” Pace of Asheville, NC. Jinx is an artist and works with BioDiesel and is generally a really cool, interesting guy.  The plan was to have a tool drive, pack the bus as a shipping container and then modify the bus in Haiti as a flat bed and people mover for projects.
We pitched the idea to  the BWB community, knowing that Nathan and the Reno BWB community had thrown an awesome fundraiser for Haiti.   It turns out Kyle Larrain, a Tahoe kid, Heavy Equip worker and Pisco volunteer alumni  worked the fundraiser and then came and spent a month at GRU in June.  Its just such a crazy small world.
Reno BWB paid for the bus in Asheville and Sam Jane Bullock & Jinx and the Asheville crew held a tool drive for about a month at the Phil Mechanic Studio in Asheville.

In early May, Sam Jane & I went to Asheville and picked up the bus and drove it Miami.  No one could manage to get the governor off the engine, so we clipped along at a brisk 50 mph all the way to Florida!
The bus then vacationed for a few weeks in the parking lot of McCollister Transport, a shipping company in Miami that donated the storage space to us.  We had been promised a donation of shipping, but the customs situation in Haiti was really dire at the time.  Literally, Haitian Customs were holding up shipments for the UN and the government changed their rules on fees & processing at a schizophrenic pace.  At that point, we heeded the advice of some colleagues and waited to ship the bus, which was wise.
The time to ship the bus came in July and I spent week in Florida, again, compiling donations and prepping & inventorying the bus.
The South Florida Burner crew stepped up, again, and gave a hand with the inventory and shipping preparations.  Jack Trash and the Ft Lauderdale warehouse crew, aka the most amazing people on Earth, were having a work day for their playa vehicle, the Nauti Bus, and we all worked together on both buses.

Amanda & KK were there in full force, too.  KK & Jack Trash led the group to empty the bus, we cleaned it and then protected the windows(and cargo) by covering the inside of the windows with plywood.  We inventoried and loaded and were ready to go – it was a long day, but many hands make light work!

The bus came to Haiti via the port of St Marc, about 2.5 hours north of Port au Prince.  After a false start(the shipping company told me the bus was en route and it in fact, had not been loaded yet?!) We cleared the bus through customs within a week, which is pretty incredible in Haiti and its been working ever since.  I drove the bus on her maiden voyage in the bus to do a supply delivery to Belvue Camp in the commune of Belvil in Port au Prince.

GrassRoots United has been using the bus regularly to support the medical supply depot we have on property, orphanage distributions and much more.

Thank you to everyone who made this amazing project possible. We couldn’t have done it without you!

-Brenda Zimmerman


4 Responses to “Tool Bus Arrives in Haiti!”

  1. Nathan Heller says:


    This is SO WONDERFUL to hear, that the bus is indeed so incredibly valuable to support and redevelopment works in Haiti, and that it has found such a good home with all of you there in Haiti — Brenda, Sam, the crew of GrassRoots United, and the people of Haiti!

    Thank you very much for the updates, and for all of your help and support this past year, Brenda, and to all of the BWB and GrassRoots United volunteers in or that have been in Haiti this past year, or in support efforts for Haiti, and for this, our Tool Bus!

    I am personally very happy and grateful that the fundraiser the community put on here in Reno has come to such a beneficial fruition, and I’ll be sure to pass this update from you around the Reno community.

    Following the news shared from you, Brenda, and from you, Carmen Mauk of BWB, about this school bus in search of a new home back in the spring, there was great feeling for dedicating the funds from the fundraiser toward it, and I’m sure this latest news will bring smiles and cheers, and perhaps even a tear or two, to many 🙂

    Thank you!


  2. David Orel says:

    Thank you all. You make the world a better place.

  3. Claudia Chambers says:

    Thank you to all who worked to see this project to fruition. What a wonderful group of preople working to help each other and those in need. On the burning man census it asked, “are you ashamed to be a burner or do you hide that you go to burning man” Hell no! I’m always proud to be a burner and know there are people like us out there. And I’m proud to know people like all of you who worked so hard to help Haiti.

  4. Sally Kupp says:

    BWB and South Florida Burners are truly amazing!! My first medical relief trip to Haiti, as a nurse, for a month in February 2010 post earthquake would not have been possible without connections to BWB through my Burner family Amy and Brian Weiner. Although I was with a different organization, ACTS World Relief; the work of GRU in Port Au Prince was tangible from across the city.

    Through this first volunteer trip I was inspired to go home, fundraise, raise awareness, and bring back a crew of four nurses from Revelstoke, BC to Haiti for another two weeks. We also brought almost $3000 in funds to donate to the organization.

    Be active as a Burner; in and out of BRC. Get off the couch and help your neighbours. Act and inspire. That’s what makes us special!