An Update on Water and Electricity in Jeannette, Haiti December 2015:
Thanks to the many generous donors who gave to this summer’s Matching Campaign for Clean Water and Electricity, lights are on at the campus and simple water purification measures have been introduced at St. Marc’s School and community. If you would like to designate a donation to our clean water fund, please click here or select Clean Water from the donate menu..
In the late 1990’s Nancy Frana, a long-time Haiti Project supporter and nurse, worked with the community of Jeannette to introduce a simple water purification system administered through Gift of Water (www.giftofwater.org). This system was embraced by the community and education and upkeep was coordinated by two local water technicians. After the Gift of Water closed, many systems in Jeannette no longer were kept in working order. More recently, Gift of Water opened under new ownership and is reconnecting with the communities they served.
During the Haiti Project March trip, water technician, Jacsonn Leger, expressed concern about a rise in water borne illness in the community. People in the village were asking Jacsonn for Aquatabs (chlorine tablets) for their double bucket systems after noticing a rise in intestinal sickness. After verifying this report with Pere Jean Lenord Quartorze and the nurses at the health clinic, Terri Longo, in consultation with Nancy Frana, researched steps to reintroduce Gift of Water to the community. (Terri Longo is a member of St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in Barrington, IL and coordinating water issues for the Haiti Project).
June-August: Diocese of Milwaukee Haiti Project conducted the successful Matching Campaign for Clean Water and Electricity raising $27, 000 that was matched, bringing our total to $54,000.
September visit: Gift of Water staff, Michael Herriman and Jenjenio Conserve, visited Jeannette to conduct a community assessment. Since that time, St. Marc’s water technician, Jacsonn Leger has identified households with systems needing upgrades.
November 7: Gift of Water, Haiti Project and St. Marc’s Jeannette Water Committee met to agree on the details of managing the water program in Jeannette. Water Committee members include: Pere Jean Lenord Quartorze, Jean Tonal, Hilaire Govain, and Jean Blemur.
November 13: The Haitian team of Jenjenio Conserve and Jacsonn Leger provided a full day of water and sanitation education at St. Marc’s School. Delivering age-appropriate, dynamic instruction, Jenjenio engaged all ages of students in conversations about this subject that impacts so much of their life. Calling out their prior knowledge, actively participating in hands-on games at the middle and high school level and giggling at Jenjenio’s humorous discussion of hygene habits, students were transfixed.
November 14: Eleven double bucket systems were delivered to St. Marc’s School. 49 were distributed to community members at a cost of $300 Haitian dollars ($3 US dollars). After many years of community work in Haiti, all partners agreed that each household should pay something for their system. People take greater ownership and care for the purification system if they invest in it.
November: Water education will be completed at the high school by Jenjenio Conserve and Jacsonn Leger. Jacsonn will continue community education as he assembles and distributes the remaining 140 double bucket systems. He will also begin household visits to test water systems.
January-March 2016 The Haiti Project will consult with the St. Marc’s Water Committee to plan for the delivery of an additional 200 purification systems for members of the community. Heidi Ropa will do site visits to schools in Leogane and St. Boniface Hospital in Fond des Blanc to learn about large water purification systems as well as sanitation systems.
By day, the preschool rooms are lit. Roderique Sully’s computer class is no longer theoretical but engaged in hands on learning. The computers are on and students are learning skills essential to interact in today’s global village. The health clinic has electricity as well as the rest of the campus. Pumps that move water from underground cisterns to roof tops are working.
At night, men gather to play Dominoes at an outdoor gathering place under a street light. By night, the St. Marc’s campus is illuminated. Evening basketball is available as an activity for the young men. High school teachers who stay on campus during the week, are able to work by light and use technology for their planning. On the weekends, children gather together to watch movies on a small laptop shared by a community member.
In February, a health group will be able to bring a sterilizing machine for dental tools now that there is an electrical source. Electricity is a good thing to have.
Transportation was one of the stated needs in the summer Matching Campaign. The Haiti Project’s Budget Committee will meet to discuss whether there are enough funds to assist in the purchase of a vehicle for St. Marc’s Parish. This is a much needed resource for both the priest and the community as a whole.