It’s easy to get tangled up in the pace of the season. Even in Haiti, the expat community will come together to share a meal with gratitude and Thanksgiving. Yes, they found turkies in country! I won’t mention those who bring the 20lb. birds on a flight from the States in their carry on luggage, humoring TSA for sure.
As we share our gratitude and appreciation this week, I will remind myself that we shall give thanks, everyday. Find appreciation, everyday. Be grateful, everyday. Not just words. Heartstring emotions. A pause to say, this is good. Thank you and smile. Share one of those from the inside smiles that comes up through the eyes. Because life is hard, because we struggle and our heart aches for what it aches for, no matter where we are in the world. Nonetheless, be grateful. For everything, everyday, even the hard stuff.
Sometimes these lessons of gratitude come from the Haitians. A simple hello and how are you is met with a smile, a positive response and it ends with thanks to God. There may be a thousand difficulties, yet God gets the appreciation and gratitude.
So I will intently choose kindness, to be positive and show gratitude. I think I will be amongst good company.
kim snyder 25/11/17
Since living in Haiti, I’ve not had to really worry about my clean water source. Whether using aqua tabs, buying filtered water or now using biosand filters, safe drinking water has most always been available to me. Brushing my teeth with well water doesn’t make me sick. Buying filtered water in Haiti has sometimes made me a bit suspicious. It’s not the most sterile process; yet again I’ve not gotten sick from drinking it. This is one of the benefits of being a foreigner, my water source is clean.
Not the case for most Haitians. Data speaks, numbers don’t lie and the clean water challenge in Haiti is… well huge. In the Artibonite Valley, the region we serve, the numbers are staggering. About 57% of the residents, and there are 1.6 million of them, collect their drinking water from unimproved, open sources which are contaminated with human waste and biological pathogens. That means over 900,000 residents are drinking dirty water. Water that makes them sick. Water that most of us would not want to touch our shoes… let alone drink. Keep that image in your mind for a moment. Remember these residents include children too.
Clean Water for Haiti has installed over 26,000 biosand water filters. That’s impressive. But when you look at the number in relation to the whole country, we’ve only reached 1% of the total population of Haiti. One percent.
Let’s be fair. Haitians are clever. They use clean-ish water containers and bleach to disinfect this water before using it for drinking, cooking, bathing and the like. But let’s also be real, bleach doesn’t solve the issue of purifying contaminated and pathogen filled water. Sand does.
Oh the things I have learned since joining Clean Water for Haiti. Sand & gravel purify water. Our biosand filter technology saves lives. When cholera was accidentally introduced to Haiti shortly after the 2010 earthquake, people noticed that families with biosand filters weren’t contracting the illness. Truth.
I think awareness is important. I am grateful for the loyal followers of my work and life here in Haiti. I have always been passionate about clean water. I want to make a difference. My difference is water. Having access to clean water is a right, not a privilege. But we are not there yet. Now, I am able to share how Clean Water for Haiti offers this much needed technology to provide safe water, right in the homes of the recipients. No bleach, contaminates or pathogens. Just clean water. oh, and sand.
We call it Making Waves. Because we can, together. Make waves, one filter at a time.
kim snyder 16/11/2017
Clean Water for Haiti stands for so much more than our name. We make bio-sand filters in country for safe drinking water solutions in communities throughout our region of Haiti. In 12 years, over 26,000 filters have been installed. Those numbers are impressive, yet that has only reached 1% of the total population of Haiti. Our work is not finished.
Building in country means supporting the local economy. We don’t ship plastic filters from the US. We could, that would be easier and possibly make for faster distribution. But that would also mean 14 smart, disciplined and hard-working men wouldn’t have a job. The filters are made here at the manufacturing facility. These men are cross-trained in washing sand, making molds, installing filters and some have learned welding or learned to drive the delivery trucks. Some have been here since the very beginning. They are loyal and committed to serve their people.
We are disciplined. Keep in mind, I say ‘we’ collectively. I have only been here two weeks; yet feel very much included and part of the CWH family. Work starts promptly at 6:30am. We are called by Chris, our Director to form a circle and we pray together, Chris reads a verse and Evens, our Foreman gives out the assignments for the day. Leslie and now me take attendance. If someone is 5 minutes late, they are docked 30 minutes. This is the employees’ rule. Their discipline. They are strong together and if someone slips, it breaks the chain. The guys hold each other accountable to be the best they can be.
The Rolling’s manage the mission under Biblical principles. Respect, truth and integrity are non-negotiable here. We have a tight schedule, we are effective, efficient and always finding ways to improve. There are filters to make; the people are counting on us so they have clean water. There is a sense of pride, instilled by Chris and Leslie. They lead by example, with their faith, their marriage and their family values. The men working here are better for it.
We believe in sharing. In December, we are hosting Training Classes to spread our knowledge and expertise in this field with other water missions in Haiti. We improve our distribution numbers and help other missions utilize the bio-sand water filtration system and teach WASH. Everyone benefits.
The challenges are great. Life in Haiti is not easy, for anyone. The mission is clear; everything is vetted through three pillars. Empowering. Improving. Sustaining. It’s a good strategy, it’s working. And the plans to grow are vast.
I am pleased to be here. Excited about what I can contribute. Looking forward to what I will learn. I will be better for it too!
written by kim snyder 3rd November 2017