By Rowen Jin
When I asked Pam, a member of our sponsoring St Francis missionary group for the WASH project in Plaisance, how she knows what she does is making a difference in Plaisance. She answered, “We watch for the small changes and we are grateful for them.” Pam has been involved with WASH issues in Plaisance over 15 years. As World Water Relief finishes the project here, her words resonate with me.
Plaisance is a small town located in Northern Haiti and has had a persistent water problem. People often walk 30 to 75 minutes every day to retrieve water from nearby pumps or pay the relatively exorbitant price of 20 Haitian goudes per bucket of unfiltered water. With our WASH project, we are providing safe drinking water to over 1000 children in three separate schools and to over 100 families in the community on a daily basis. Many of these children previously had not had clean water or, often, any water at all. The bathrooms, before our arrival, were not cleaned, constantly exposing the children to disease-causing agents. With the new handwashing stations, soap, and toilet seats, the children will have vastly improved access to sanitation. The hygiene education component further insures that students will bring these lessons home, expanding our impact beyond the school.
With this project, we began keeping record of the water situation, gastrointestinal health status, school attendance and performance at the schools and in the community. We hope to monitor and track changes in this community in the upcoming years. This will hopefully bring satisfaction and comfort to sponsors, from St Francis and elsewhere, that have supported and continue to support WWR efforts for the past years.
This is another project that World Water Relief will monitor and maintain for years to come. It’s a small start to bringing safe drinking water to areas that are currently in desperate need. However, collectively, these small changes we are watching and hoping for can amount to significant changes in these communities we continue to work and live in.
This little boy grinned wide, as he washed his hands at one of our newly constructed handwashing stations, happy to have water. The water from this handwashing station, then, flushes the urinals, maintaining the smell and cleanliness of the area.