By Mario Andre, PWW Haiti, Country Director
Mrs. Charles Christiane (pictured) is a community leader in the greater Bouda Chita, Haiti region. She is one of the 300 families benefitting from last fall’s fundraising campaign to reach her underserved community with safe water solutions.
Mrs. Christiane is a direct beneficiary of the safe water program, as well as a designated Community Agent. She has participated in the extensive WASH (Water, Hygiene and Sanitation) training and education program and will be receiving her biosand water filter very soon.
(Learn more about Community Agents)
With most of our projects in rural Haiti, we rent a house in the area where we are working to reduce our logistics cost. The staff temporarily lives nearby but not exactly in the area of intervention. This allows us to bring our equipment, and it allows the staff to stay on location Monday through Friday.
As can happen while working in these areas, situations arise that we can never really quite prepare for. Such is the case with this project.
On Wednesday, July 20, 2016, the pickup truck that we use to transport staff and equipment to the training area failed to start. We did everything possible to get it to start, but it would not. After some time, it became clear that we would have to cancel the training for the day. Not a big problem; we would just reschedule that training for another time.
However, the twenty-five people who were scheduled for training that day were already at the training area, and the next day was market day. They did not want to miss the training and have to plan for another day.
Please understand that this is a very rural and poverty-stricken area. Family members walk or use animals to get from one place to another. But on this day, Mrs. Christiane pulled all her resources together and decided that the training was too important to miss or reschedule. She walked to town (about an hour’s walk) and made many attempts to solve the problem. She finally found someone with a truck that transports agricultural goods from the provinces into the city. She explained the situation to him and convinced him to take our staff to the training site, free of charge.
Meanwhile, we had to tow our truck back to the Port-au-Prince office for service. The problem was resolved for that one day, but we had to figure out what to do for Thursday and Friday.
Mrs. Christiane provided the solution. Our four staff members were welcomed into the homes of the families we would be serving, as was all of our equipment. Our staff was treated like kings and queens. With the very little that they have, these families fed us, gave us a place to sleep, and provided hospitality that we surely would not have received anywhere else.
What would you do for water? Would you share your house with a stranger? Give away the little food your family has? Mrs. Christiane and the families in her community did just that. They shared a deep commitment to make whatever contribution they could towards this project.
These families have very few possessions. They have little to no money or material goods. But what they do have is a profound desire for a better, healthier life. Thanks to our generous supporters, they are receiving the tools and knowledge to have just that.