A group of young men come together to save their water system
Deb Go is the water, sanitation, and hygiene program manager in Haiti.
The community of Anana sits just off the national road through Petit Goave. The health committee there is an intelligent group of seven men and women with great smiles and an affinity for laughter. They meet in a small church with just enough room for a pulpit and a limited, yet diverse, assortment of benches and chairs.
In January, Anana’s health committee used the knowledge and skills they acquired from Samaritan’s Purse in the previous year’s trainings to write a proposal to save their heavily burdened water system. The plan was to re-outfit their well with a submersible electric pump and distribute water via kiosk, eventually piping water to individual homes.
The committee supplemented the grant provided by Samaritan’s Purse with money collected from water users, and they coordinated with the national water authority to make sure their kiosk abided by government standards. They took the lead in contacting their community leader, drawing up designs, and creating labor agreements. On May 20, the kiosk was declared open for use.
It’s hard to believe that just two years ago we drilled the aforementioned well and installed the hand pump. Shortly thereafter, we called a community-wide meeting to discuss the accompanying construction of a bathing shelter and laundry pad.
We were met by a group of rowdy, uninterested young men who outright refused the responsibilities laid out for them in the community agreement. They wanted to be paid to participate in the betterment of their community, but they certainly didn’t want to collect the sand for construction or the rocks for the soak pit. I vividly remember our team driving away that day frustrated and uncertain of a way forward.
Without knowing the history behind the well, Anana’s accomplishment is the stuff our team dreams about: a community taking their water situation into their own hands, sidestepping foreseeable obstacles, and working hard for what they want. But the inauguration of the kiosk meant so much more having experienced that meeting less than two years prior. Anana is a shining example of a community surpassing low expectations and is an indicator of Haiti’s great potential.