When we started this village, “Merci’ au Dieu” (Thanks to God) we decided to provide these families moving from tarps and tents with something quite special for Haiti. We started putting in a water system that would provide each house with their own showers and flush toilets. Only the upper five percent have such conveniences normally, in this country. The rest rely on streams or, if fortunate, a hand pump well not too far away.
Showers are typically accomplished with a bucket of water and a cup used to pour the water over oneself. For toilet issues, you are either fortunate enough to have a latrine nearby or you simply find a place in the woods to take care of business.
The well we dug when we started has only been able to provide water for about twenty minutes and then it runs dry. We have found that if we wait two hours, the well will produce water for another twenty minutes. And so goes the cycle of starting the generator and the well pump every two hours every day. Well, our second generator we’ve purchased just went out after only two months.
When the generator isn’t working, no water is pumping to the village and the village runs out of water. The villagers are then forced to find another source of water, fill a five gallon pail, which is generally carried on their head and brought back to their home for a bucket bath. Because of these problems, I and the crew have been bucket bathing for the last two days.
I finally made the decision to buy a good diesel generator to eliminate our generator problems. It cost $10,500.00 that was not budgeted for this trip. We will see if and how the Lord provides those funds as our expenses for the houses mount up.
With all of these issues with our old well we recently received a donation for a new well. Our new well will be an electric well for our water system AND a hand pump well for when our system breaks down. It will also be a blessing to the neighbors living near the village who don’t have water. The problem was that the Mennonite ministry that does the drilling couldn’t come until at least June 1st. I leave May 10th. We asked a number of people to pray for a resolution to this issue as I couldn’t stay another month.
We chose a secure site in the valley where other successful wells have been dug and were told that we needed to clear the site. As is wasn’t level and somewhat up the side of a hill, we were told to level it as they needed to put two large trucks side by side on that spot. Also blocking the road to the drill site are three dump truck loads of large rocks and a load of dirt. Knowing that we had until June 1st, we put those tasks aside as we worked to build our last eight homes.
Today I got the best bad news I’ve received in a long time. The well drillers called out of the blue to tell us that they will be here at 9 am tomorrow morning! When I first told Cliff that the well drillers were coming tomorrow, he said “Oh Jesus, oh Jesus” (I think he was praying…) Now the question is whether or not we can get the site prepared in time! So all of our workers have been diverted from house building to get the site prepared for the drillers. All of the rock moving and site leveling must be done by hand.
Please pray that we are able to get the site prepared in time without over stressing Cliff and the workers and pray that the drilling will produce a well with abundant water that will provide the village with an unlimited supply. That will solve our water problems in the village at long last. Praise the Lord.
(Tomorrow read Cliff’s blog for the continuing story)
John H Leininger