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