I've been to Haiti three times now with the Ubuntublox projects. The first thing that got my attention big time was all the street welders welding with sunglasses.

There is one huge obvious problem with that and then there is the obvious only go guys like us. They are trading their future eyesight for short term monetary gain. And as all of us know from when we first started, if you can't see the puddle you can't weld, tack if you are lucky. But it is when you see the puddle that you learn to manipulate it to make welds. You can't see a weld with sunglasses.

The obvious problem is no one I know can afford to take enough hoods to Haiti, even at Harbor Freight prices, to make a dent in the problem. Besides that, the worst thing about cheap hoods is the head gear and they will be broken in no time at all. Haitian street welders are like the welders here, if it breaks the first thing they tend to do is either toss it or take it back to where the bought it.

Ten to twenty years ago a friend told me about seeing welders in China using a shade ten lens in a cardboard plate for welding. I could see a future for that concept in Haiti with the street welders.

I went to my LWS and leaned on the owner, his dad and me were buds back in the day. He agreed to sell me shade ten lens for about half of what they get at the box store for them. A Wisconsin middle school teacher named Mitch Lown had his class make a video with instructions in English, French, and Kreyole on making cardboard hoods with the lens. I try to take at least a hundred lens with me each time I go. I hand them out to street welders.

I was told the Haitians wouldn't know what to do with the lens once they got them. BS. I can stop by where some street welders are working and I pull out some lens and they all know exactly what I have and what to do with them. As we know, welders talk.

I've taught welders there using the lens in a cardboard shield and it works. I have to wear my safety glass readers because I don't have the cheaters like I do in my hoods at home. But it works.

So if you find yourself in a situation where you need a cheap hood you can buy a lens, some tape, and find a piece of cardboard, and have at it.

What I like the best about this besides the obvious thing with preserving eyesight, is the empowerment of the welders. If they make their hood then they can repair or replace it themselves. This is important when it's a week's wages to get the cheapest hood available.

One of the best times I had in Haiti last trip was with some welders. Their welding machines are homemade transformers hooked up to the grid. All their metal is thin wall of course and their rod is 5/32 to 3/16. They do awesome work when it comes to hand forming metal with no heat or tools beyond pins and hammers.

The owner of the shop where he had six or so guys working on different projects told me, "you have a passion for this."

Yep, I do.