Installation 5 and 6 – Trip Report
Reflections on BHCC’s Latest Haiti Water Project Trip: From Steve Boisvert
To see more about the latest Haiti Water Project trip, go to http://bhccinhaiti2.blogspot.com.
In December of 2003, Deb and I became members of BHCC. Little did I know that this was the first step on the road to Haiti. In spite of reading the previous Haiti Water Team trips’ blogs, all of the training at Living Waters’ Clean Water U, and conversations with veteran team members, there was no way I could have imagined what a profound adventure was in store for me. And what an adventure it was!
It’s impossible not to fall in love with this beautiful and challenging country and its people. At the same time, how difficult it is to try to describe our recent trip. The gardener in me was constantly delighted by the lush gardens and landscapes as we traveled through the southwest corner of Haiti, even as the ever-present poverty of Haiti reminded me of the myriad of challenges facing our Haitian brothers and sisters. Despite the difficulties they face, our Haitian friends and partners maintain a wonderful combination of pride, joy, and faith. So many of the “problems” of life back home faded away to insignificance as the week progressed. As much as it is a cliche, you come home having learned and received so much more than you can “give” having been blessed enough to be able to actually see our water project in action.
This became evident over the course of the week at our second site, Pastor Daniel’s orphanage. When we arrived in Torbeck Wednesday, we found out that the water building at the orphanage was not even close to being ready for the installation. From the looks of things, there was no way it would be completed before we had to leave. Oh we of little faith! Pastor Daniel assured us it would be ready Friday morning, giving us two, maybe three days to install and test the system, and train the operators. Thursday afternoon didn’t look much better, but we all began assembling components of the system outside, working until close to sundown. Our Haitian partners kept working on the building, working from 6:00 AM until 9:00 PM. When we returned Friday morning, it was completed enough that we could begin installation of the system while work on completing the rest of the building was going on at the same time. By mid-afternoon, we had a working system in place. We were back on track for training the system operators and a joyful celebration Sunday. What a humbling experience that was.
The system in Les Cayes presented the opposite test of our faith. The water building was ready and waiting for us Wednesday. Installation went like clockwork, until the on-and-off-again city water system shut down Thursday just as we were ready to fill the cistern to supply the water system! Once again faith, patience and flexibility became our mantra and we headed to the orphanage. If push came to shove, we would order a water buffalo to fill the cistern to allow us to test the system and have a celebration Sunday as planned. Saturday city water returned and we had enough water in the cistern to complete testing, training, and have our celebration.
As we got together Sunday night to reflect on the week, we were flying high, and yet acknowledged how much we had to learn about Haiti, its people and culture to work effectively with our partners in the long term. Providentially, our host at the guesthouse that night was Betsy Walls who has 30 years experience working with groups in Haiti. Long into the evening we picked her brains and discussed how much we have to learn and ponder how we would go forward. Monday afternoon, as I boarded the plane, I was filled with mixed feelings. Anxious to be home again and see Deb after being out of touch for most of the week, I was still wistful. All I could do was smile, knowing that I would be coming back to this wonderful and challenging place.
Throughout the entire trip we all felt the presence of your prayers and support from home. All of the time and effort so many of you devoted to make the week possible was with us the entire time. It is indeed a privilege and a blessing to have been able to see the fruits of months of faithful commitment to our team and Haitian brothers and sisters. Thank you!