Paulette, Haiti—Water has been an issue in Paulette for a long, long time. Whether drinking from filthy, polluted sources long ago, or drinking from salty wells just earlier this year, the people of Paulette have had a never-ending struggle get clean, safe water.
Now, when you travel a long way on a dirt road to get to this rural community, a two-story water purification system is one of the first things to be seen.
Housed in a vibrant blue little building constructed just for this purpose, the people of Paulette celebrated the grand opening of the water kiosk with a ceremony, prayer and song, and…water for sale!
That first day, people lined up with iconic bright yellow jerrycans and containers of all colors, shapes and sizes. Paying just a little fee, they’d get their containers filled with beautifully pure water and carry them home in wheelbarrows, on bikes, or balanced on their shoulder.
This was such an exciting, long-awaited day.
“Thank you,” Louis Marc said that morning. At 68 years old, he was born, married, and has had six children in Paulette. He has a long history in this community, but this was the very first time he was going to drink clean, safe water with his family!
He’s a farmer who grows nuts, beans and corn, and it is his responsibility to get water for his large family. He would normally get it from a well (which was salty) or rainwater catches, or was forced to go very far to get it.
How far is “very far”? Eight hours there and back, with a horse. And he would make that trek twice a week, he told us.
Louis thanks God that he is not dead from the unclean water he used to drink. And now he is sure he will live longer because he can drink clean water!
Because of this new purification system, over 40 households in Paulette are now regularly buying water from the kiosk built in conjunction with our partner church. The community used to truck in water to sell to residents, but water from the new kiosk costs about 40% less than it did from the truck. It’s a win-win situation for everyone because even the poorest households can afford to buy pure water, yet since the church is the one selling the water, they’re able to generate a profit that can be used for system upkeep and other projects.
Not only that, now the church has a shiny red three-wheeler they use to bring water to sell in three other communities. This means that about 600 more households now have regular access to clean water too!
On the kiosk’s grand opening day, Caciany Jean, another Paulette resident, told us he is never again going to drink the water he used to drink. Caciany said that this is the first good thing that has been done here in the community—the very first big project!
Before this, the people were suffering from cholera, tuberculosis and headaches. When they would drink the salty water it would increase their blood pressure and sometimes cause swelling and diarrhea.
A father to six children, Caciany said his kids used to complain about drinking the salty water, but he didn’t have any other option to give them.
But, even before the grand opening day, he was able to get a taste of this clean new water and he finds it very, very good. He is excited and thankful!
Because of this new little blue tower, life for many Paulette residents will be safer and healthier. Caciany told us he has plans to talk to his children and tell them: “Now you’re going to have clean and drinkable water that is good for your health.”