As a result of our medical mission trips, we have identified that many of the illnesses can be traced to the lack of clean water. Therefore, Helping Hugs has initiated “Clean Water” projects to help improve the health and hygiene of the people of Côtes-de-Fer.
CLEAN WATER Projects
Water is basic to life. For those in Haiti it is a daily struggle to first find a source of water and then haul that water back to their home. For many, that source of water is the nearest stream or river. For others it may be rain water collected in a cistern at home or at their local parish. Unfortunately, Haiti is currently experiencing a severe drought leaving the streams, rivers and cisterns dry. Haiti frequently goes through cycles of wet and dry periods except, this year, the rainy season was not wet at all.
If finding water was not in itself a difficult problem, consider that most of the water is not fit to drink. The results are illnesses that we do not experience here in the US. Water borne diseases are a major health issue in Haiti. Many areas of Haiti are currently experiencing Cholera outbreaks. Other illnesses attributed to contaminated water are E.Coli, Typhoid, Hepatitis A,B,E, Salmonella Typhi, Meningitis, Worms, Amebic Dysentery and more. While many NGO’s in Haiti are working to combat this problem, there is much ground to cover.
Helping Hugs’ medical team recognized this problem early in their visits to Côtes-de-Fer and reported back to our organization. That is why, in 2016, we undertook and completed our first water project, for the St. Joseph Parish and the community of Cotes-de-Fer. Helping Hugs, Inc. funded the project which was built by World Water Relief, a water purification company founded by Dr. Kevin Fussell, a local practicing physician. The system uses a government supplied source of water, which is not safe to drink, and through a series of filters renders it potable. It is then stored in large tanks and distributed on a schedule to those in need. Our medical team has indicated that they have seen a decrease of medical issues related to clean water in this area.
Last year we identified a new area which needed our assistance to provide a source of clean potable water to that area. Mayette had a well but could not afford to purchase a pump to make water available. We agreed to undertake a project to provide the needed pump and build a purification and storage system so that the water would be available and safe to drink. Mayette frequently experiences outbreaks of Cholera especially during the rainy season. It is our expectation that the project will result in a reduction of health issues for the area as well as supply that community with a much needed reliable source of water. The project was completed the end of August 2018.
“Merci Seigneur” (Thank you God”) was the reaction of the parishioners of St. Matthias chapel when the pure water flowed, August 27th. These people have been working toward this day for many years.
Thanks to our partner, World Water Relief, we were able to provide water on the main street of the village for the community and behind the chapel for a children’s hand washing station.
While we are pleased with our accomplishments to date, we still have work to do. Our school children also need a clean safe source of water to keep them healthy and in school. We have authorized Father Islaire to purchase a small water purifying system, manufactured by LifeStraw, for one of the schools. This system will supply enough water for drinking and cooking. Hope for Haiti, another U.S. organization providing help in the area, is also helping to bring clean water to the schools and will be providing equipment over the next year for two schools.
We are currently investigating the feasibility and cost of drilling a well near the church and rectory in Cotês-de-Fer. This would allow us to provide a larger volume of water to feed our purification system there. The government water source has been erratic during the drought and there is always a fee for the water used. A well would eliminate the cost as well as interruptions in the water supply.
We appreciate the support you have given to the people of Haiti in supplying some of their basic needs. Your donations are greatly appreciated. Together we are making a difference. Let’s continue to work together to bring safe drinking water to the communities served by our twin parish, St. Joseph.
Thank you donors. The water purification system has been installed as of July 22, 2016. Clean water is available at three locations: the education/rectory building, the school and the church. Father Islaire is very happy that potable water is now available throughout the education/rectory building. A hand-washing and drinking station has been built at the school as part of the project. People from the village will now be able to access clean water in the center of town, rather than walking hours to the nearest government provided source. We are most grateful to Dr. Kevin Fussell and his organization, World Water Relief, for their commitment to this project, and to Kevin Kieffer, their engineer, for the installation. Please offer a prayer of thanksgiving for the completion of this project and petitions for the education, utilization, and maintenance of components.
As a result of the success of this project, we are beginning work on a second project to be located in the village of Metayer, a mountain community that experiences outbreaks of Cholera during the rainy season. Cholera being a water-borne disease, can be significantly reduced with a source of clean, potable water. We are planning to do a site assessment in the very near future and will begin construction as soon as we have sufficient funds available to complete the project. Your help would be greatly appreciated in getting this project funded.