Gift Of Life: In Haiti Even Water Can't Be Taken For Granted
Water is life. It is something we cannot live without.
The simplicity of washing one's face from a running faucet; showering and bathing in an enclosed environment; boiling water for tea or coffee or using running water to flush away our bodily waste are common to most of us.
Unfortunately for many Haitian, what we consider a normal practice is unimaginable. Children as young as 5 years old are forced to walk 2 to 3 hours in one direction and then back again just to gain access to water. This water has to meet the basic needs for their entire family. Despite growing concerns and a recent cholera outbreak --alleged to have been caused by Nepalese U.N. peacekeepers stationed next to the Artibonite River-- claimed over 7,000 lives and counting, sanitation systems in Haïti remain in poor condition denying thousands access to one of life’s most basic need – clean water.
In 2011, Community2Community (C2C) joined forces with one of our partner communities, and took on the challenge of restoring clean water in Petit Goâve by launching our Water Distribution System Initiative. The initiative is designed as a gravity-fed water distribution system that provides our mountainside partner community and surrounding areas access to clean, potable water. In less than 2 years it has already helped a densely dry population of approximately 16,000 gain access to water. In addition, C2C has worked with other partner communities and constructed over 14 latrines and distributed aqua tablets throughout Petit Goâve in a joint effort to fight future outbreaks of cholera and other waterborne diseases.
On Friday, May 10, we invite you to join us as we continue to Build Forward Together by participating in our “Hope and A Future” – A Celebration of Haïti. This free inspirational, cultural experience officially inaugurates May as Haitian Heritage Month and introduces C2C’s “Ayiti Marché”. The festive “Ayiti Marché” (Haitian Kreyòl for Open Market) will bring a multitude of Caribbean and American businesses and organizations together for a cultural exchange of information and services of interest to the Caribbean community. Those in attendance can partake in the taste and sounds of Haïti while exploring Haïti’s rich artistic and cultural contributions through various vendors and artisans. Festive Haitian music will be playing throughout.
Once the conch shell blows we invite you to gather with us as the Celebration continues with musical performances from Haitian Music Icon, Emeline Michel, international cultural artist Belo, Haitian Jazz Ensemble Mozayik with Melanie Charles In addition, the festive event will also include “Friends of Haiti” - an array of local artists, presenting an eclectic mix of inspirational, jazz, R&B, and Haitian music, spoken word and dance expressions utilized to tell “The Story of The Water”.
Themed Building Forward Together, proceeds from the celebratory affair will help us continue our ongoing efforts to restore clean water to the towns in and around Petit Goâve. In 2012, we completed Phases 1 and 2 of The Water Initiative and with your help and participation we are confident that we will meet our goal of completing the entire system by the end of 2013.
The most pressing challenge Haïti faces in moving forward is clean water. “Hope and A Future” – A Celebration of Haïti highlights C2C’s and our partners’ efforts in making a real difference by working alongside our brothers in sisters of Haïti. A Haitian proverb says, “Men anpil chay pa lou.” Its translation, “Many hands make the load lighter.” We invite everyone to come learn how they can help Haïti move forward by volunteering, providing technical assistance (in the areas of health, education, infrastructure etc.) or becoming a C2C Neighbor (to monthly support the completion of the water system).
So, join us and let’s Build Forward Together.
Marie Yolaine Eusebe is the Founder & Fire Starter of Community2Community (C2C), a non-profit, service organization based in Brooklyn. Since 2010 the agency has been on the ground in Haiti supporting efforts thru its C2C Haïti Restoration and Transformation Pilot Project in the town of Petit Goâve, just 42 miles from Port-au-Prince. “Hope and A Future” – A Celebration of Haïti is a free public event celebrating Haïti and the Caribbean Diaspora. For more information visit www.Community2Community.info