This Mother’s Day, families in Bellanger, Haiti are not only celebrating the lives of women they know, but also a new life-giving well providing clean water to the entire community located north of Port-au-Prince. The Haiti Water Project, a ministry of Nazarene Compassionate Ministries, recently visited the town to find that their only source of water, a hand-dug well, had stopped producing water after the earthquake. Since then, residents have been forced to purchase water for drinking – when they can afford it.
It is not hard to understand why one in eight children will not reach his or her fifth birthday in Haiti. Since water is so expensive, children, usually the ones responsible for the task of retrieving water, must find water for activities like bathing in a nearby stream. This stream is also where trash gets washed to and where cattle are watered. Contaminates easily find their way into children’s little bodies which have not yet had the opportunity to build a strong immune system.
Pastor Lamartine of the Bellanger Church of the Nazarene explained what a well means for these children and their families in the community: “We really need a well – people are thirsty. If they were not paying for water, they could pay for school or food.” Thanks to this well, parents no longer have to choose between paying for clean water or paying for their children’s education.
And Bellanger is not the only community receiving clean water resources through the Haiti Water Project. Pont Rouge sits on the coast in the metropolitan area of Port-au-Prince and has been deeply impacted by the earthquake. Many members of the Pont Rouge Church of the Nazarene lost their homes, and dozens are now staying under tarps in the churchyard. The Haiti Water Project has determined that since the church property sits so close to salt water, a well is not feasible and a cistern is the best fit.
Pastor Ilfrid of the Nazarene church has a desire to compassionately reach out to his congregation and community who are in need of clean water. Now, as they are working to construct a new building, they are also building a large cistern that will allow the church to meet the needs of those around them.
“Sometimes we have been able to buy five-gallon bottles of water to distribute water from, but we cannot always do this,” he explained. “It is difficult to find water on some days. People have to wait if a water truck does not come. They might have to wait hours, they might have to wait a day.”
The Pont Rouge church, which also doubles as a school for 125 children, no longer has to wait on trucks carrying small amounts of water to share clean water with others, but can do so daily out of their cistern. Classes recently resumed and this cistern will give students access to clean water each day while they are at school.
The Haiti Water Project is continuing to work to provide clean water resources to communities such as Bellanger and Pont Rouge in all parts of Haiti. Just this week another well will be finished in Petit Goave, a small community located along the coast west of Port-au-Prince. The Petit Goave Church of the Nazarene was also the first church building completed after the earthquake.
As we honor the mothers who gave life to us, there is no better way to celebrate than to offer children in Haiti the opportunity to enjoy another source of life: water.
The Haiti Water Project is able to provide clean water resources like wells and cisterns through the generosity of people around the world. Around half of the 9.5 million people living in Haiti do not even have access to clean water, but it does not have to be this way – and with the help of people like you, this fact is changing. If you would like to donate to the Haiti Water Project, click here. You can also join the Facebook Cause or follow us on Twitter.