When the hands are many, the load is lighter!
A few months ago, women started gathering basic materials, small rocks and sandy soil and a committee of local managers began the purchasing of cement, iron for grids, blocks and PVC piping for the construction of ten more cisterns underway. I noted the involvement of women, since they are the initiators of the project, as a response to the extended drought in the northeast of Haiti.
This project which initiated last year is in its second phase. The residents of Lakoma have worked with Pro Consult, the engineering group, to complete the first ten cisterns. This phase is focused on the completion of 10 cisterns in Dityet. At the end of the month, we will have a total of 20 completed cisterns gathering thousands of gallons of water as the rain begins to fall.
People in Dityet are relieved and excited. I was talking to Marguerite, one of the women from the area of Jean Rabel where Dydiet is located, and her is what she said: "In our meetings, women are talking about saving." I asked in what way? She said "it saved the strength of women and girls who were carrying the water before the cisterns were built. Another thing is protection. The water we maintain in the cisterns is treated. As the rainy season begins, the rate of cholera is already increasing. So, treated water protects the most vulnerable, the elderly and the young ones."
She also added one element that did not occur readily to me. She said that pregnant women are especially protected with the addition of the cisterns. The vulnerability of the babies to Diahrea and other gastrointestinal issues, like worms, are greatly reduced.
I am elated, and you should be too, for having an active part in these changes. Having clean water and access are only two of the outcomes that are desirable but the impact over time will be a critical element for us to assess.
I am in Haiti and I am happy to have had internet access long enough to upload this report. Yesterday there was a conference for the students in school. It speaks to climate change, a world phenomenon. The drought is one aspect of growing concern in Haiti and now there is a projection of greater food insecurity as the drought continues to intensify, meaning longer dry periods. The cisterns are one aspect of the solution.
Thank you so much for your participation in making these 20 cisterns a reality. Ten more to go!.
A short musical interlude between the hard work
Some of the rocks gathered by the women