From December 5-10, Brian Snyder, Darenda Lease and Rick Jacobs were in Haiti to visit many of BHCC’s existing water purification systems and to lay the groundwork for our seventh installation in the village of Lanarge, Haiti. It was a very productive and promising trip!
Saturday night was spent in Port-au-Prince so that we could be close to our first visit, which was the large church and orphanage called Life is Wealth in Carrefour Feuilles. We installed a water system there in November of 2014. Brian was invited to preach on Sunday sometime during their 7-9:30 a.m. service (yes, those are normal church hours! And Sunday school is 5-9:00 a.m.!!). He delivered his message in French (Haiti’s official language), only to discover that most of the congregation only speaks and understands creole! Those that did understand told him it was a wonderful and uplifting message…Brian was not so easily convinced! However, the congregation was very happy to see us there and welcomed us afterward with many hugs, handshakes and smiles!
After the service, we met with their Water Committee to congratulate them on the great job they are doing with their water purification system and to hear from them their thoughts and ideas going forward to distribute pure clean water to the surrounding communities.
We drove to Les Cayes in the afternoon for our next visit, which was a dinner meeting at Torbeck Rectory to meet the new priest and revisit with their water committee. We had asked our Haiti coordinator, Ancy, to arrange this for us (we provide funds for the meal). The Priest and his wife prepared a delicious variety of Haitian foods for 14+ people. It was a very inviting way to reunite with this water committee and their new priest. There was much to discuss. This site is in need of a new well and total rehabilitation of the existing system. The system has been shut down for the past eight months. We continued discussions with them again the following afternoon.
We were able to spend time at two other sites in Les Cayes, having productive conversation at each. The one need all sites expressed is a desire to own a tri-motorcycle with a built-in large trailer that would help them deliver 20 or more 5-gallon bottles to those that can’t get to their facility. It would provide a way to sell more water and minister to those in need of clean water. We saw many of these cycles being used for various services all over Haiti.
Our proposed 7th site is a birthing center called Maison de Nassiance. They are the only medical facility that caters to women in the Les Cayes area. Between 2013- 2014, they birthed 2,000 babies without any mortality! The problem at this site is a very contaminate well that supplies all the water for this facility. They have been treating their water with chlorine for quite some time. Providing a water purification system at this location would give the staff, their patients, visitors and the community access to pure clean water. Pregnant women and children are especially susceptible to water borne diseases. We will continue our covenant discussion via email and are currently working on funding for this facility with great hope to do this installation in the spring of 2016!
We arrived back to Pittsburgh on Thursday evening full of good Haitian food, a few extra pounds and a renewed enthusiasm about working with our partners in Haiti. God has truly blessed BHCC through this mission. Our Haitian brothers and sisters send you, the congregation, of BHCC many prayers of blessing and gratitude. We heard these words at every site we visited. It was the first thing they wanted us to know! It is very important to them that you know this.
We ask for your prayers as the BHCC Haiti Team works to make decisions on how best to move forward at each of our sites.
Happy New Year!