In the US we take access to water for granted, so much so we don’t even realize the privilege clean running water in our homes is. Thirsty? There is clean city water from the tap, filtered water in your fridge, & if neither of those fit your taste you can open a bottle of your preferred brand. Need help perking up in the morning? A long hot shower usually does the trick in our house. Like to keep your car shiny? The monthly unlimited membership to the local car wash is standard in my circle. See water in the US is so available we don’t think twice about it.
We recently met with Haiti Outreach to coordinate the drilling of a water well at the school. They have been working in Pignon for the last 20 years with the mission of making clean water accessible to every home. Accessibility doesn’t mean water from the tap in your kitchen. Accessibility is defined as clean water within a 15 minute walk from your home. There is a water well down the mountain from our location, my guess is a 15 minute walk, accessible by definition but with two minor details. 1) this well doesn’t flow, it barely trickles 2) it’s contaminated with e-coli. The next closest well is another 15 minute walk towards the highway. A one hour round trip walk may not sound like much, but the seconds are long when carrying a 5 gallon jug. And one 5 gallon jug doesn’t go very far when providing for 180 students, meaning multiple trips. Every day.
A water well is located in the center of every green circle on this map. See that big blank white area. That’s where we are. Smack dab in the middle of a water desert. Literally. The only reason their hasn’t been a well drilled in this area is the simple fact there is no water there. None. Less than a 15% chance of finding water based on geological studies of the area. Talk about a punch in the gut. When the gentleman at Haiti Outreach finished crushing my spirit I quickly thanked him and got the heck out of there before I burst into a bumbling mess in the middle of his office. After a few deep breaths and quickly fired texts to Maegan it was on to the next agenda item (trips to Haiti are packed with too many things to accomplish and too little time) which happened to be a morning with our amazing builder Jim. While in the truck with Jim we filled him in on our meeting, our crushed dreams and uncertainty as to how to proceed with water from here. A mentor once taught me that "No" is a sentence in and of itself. If you know me, you know I don't roll this way. Telling me "No" is all the motivation I need to find another way, there is always a way you just need to think about things from another angle. Turns out Jim is my other angle. He promptly drove us to a construction site where his team had by hand dug a 91,000 gallon (!!!) cistern. A CISTERN!! Wow, why didn't we think of this first! If there is rain, there will be water, and on a tropical Island we can dang near guarantee there will be rain, ergo there will be water. Problem Solved. Prayer Answered. Jim has already studied the historical rainfall averages for our location, completed the math on the water requirements for drinking and cooking water for 200 people 365 days a year, and developed the plans for our very own 27,000 gallon cistern. The cistern is more expensive than the well, but it is permanent never needed to be re-drilled when it runs dry and with less maintenance. With the temporary school building up we have decided water is the next biggest priority and will be building the cistern first. Jim is ready and waiting on us to say go, the hope is that by the time the rainy season is in full flow (ha, see what I did there) the cistern is finished and ready to start collecting. Every day we are leaning on God and trusting in him, what he has ordained he will sustain. One day at a time and one project at a time, we can't wait to see what the future holds for these sweet babies on Grace Hill. Thank you for believing in our dreams for these kiddos. All my love, Kim