It’s been more than three years since a massive earthquake devastated Haiti, killing more than 200,000 people and leaving more than a million people homeless in the Caribbean island country.

Today, long after the news media left and foreign aid dried up, Haiti remains very much in recovery mode.

A pair of local firefighters are hoping to export more than just their muscles when they join a larger group of Richmond firefighters on a trip to Haiti to build a school room for an orphanage in early 2014.

Dave MacDonald, who will be joined by fellow Richmond Fire-Rescue firefighter Brian Coombs, are planning to bring local expertise that will help the people of Haiti sustain their own needs for the long term.

During a trip last month to Haiti, where they were to help with an orphage, plans changed. Instead the pair connected with a Haitian man named Johnny, who served as the translator, and they immersed themselves in the food program.

“A lot of these people are under nourished, and can’t afford to feed themselves properly,” said Coombs, who noted that members of Richmond Fire-Rescue have participated in other charitable projects to developing countries such as Sri Lanka, Thailand and El Salvador.

While working in the food program, and visiting various tent villages, they learned that feral bee colonies were being destroyed for their honey.

MacDonald, a beekeeper, immediately recognized the lost opportunity of turning those bee hives into sustainable, replenishing sources of honey, and the key loss of the bees as an important polinating tool for food crops.