Water Truck Day
Today we are going to the city of Cite Soleil, this is one of the most poverty stricken cities in Haiti. We had 9 drivers and translators along for the trip, it can be a dangerous journey. The first thing we noticed is the smell changes from city to city. As we crossed over a river to enter the city, it turned into a smell of pig manure mixed with hot, steamy trash. The waterway was like nothing we have ever seen, full of trash being eaten by pigs and goats, green/brown in color, and used by humans for daily needs. The UN was present with guns working on projects, the streets were filled with garbage, there was more of a feeling of desperation here.
The taptap followed a water truck filled with 2500 gallons of water. The water is filled at a pump station, it's well water mixed with chlorine. We had four stops to make. The first stop was the hardest stop, it seemed to be the poorest of the poor, the housing was tin sheds, tarps, and branches, it reminds me of birds building their nests, using whatever is around to make a home. It seem deserted until the water truck stopped (like the ice cream truck) women and children came with their empty bucket and bowls to be filled. We helped fill the buckets, play with the children, and helped carry the water back to the homes. It was a very humbling experience, all we could smell was pig manure and wonder how the bare footed children ran over the pieces of glass without getting cut. Water is a basic human need that we take so for granted, the joy on the faces of the children as they splashed, washed, and drank it was amazing. We were not allowed to help someone to their home with their water unless there were two of us going. Our Haitian drivers keep close watch. Walking with the buckets through the streets of mud and manure and into the maze of huts was an honor as they included us in this picture of their private lives. It is hard to put into words, but it is nothing like you can ever really prepare yourself for. We were invited to walk out onto a path toward the ocean, it was covered with trash being eaten by pigs. Again, the smell. The children followed us like the pied piper with as much enthusiasm. Amazed again by the broken glass and bare feet. We did not even notice the ocean beyond the trash and tin huts. We were told that this is a place they bury their dead because they do not have a dollar to pay for a burial. The kids sang for us in this place praising God.
The next three stops we made were not so tragic, but none-the-less still dangerous and poverty stricken. This is a place where we got to play soccer and jump rope with the children. Our nurse Betsy cleaned a wound, children were asking for sandals and food, we felt useless, so many needs that we could not fill.
The water truck delivered 5000 gallons of fresh water today, an improvement as not as much water is needed daily, Healing Haiti has contributed greatly to filling this need since the earthquake. We had an extra hand today, Amy from Gertudes orphanage got to join the team today and she was a blessing to us all, her enthusiasm for God's work is inspiring!
We feel ungrateful after this experience for taking just the gift of water for granted, one of the team members, Joye, said that her word of the day was trickle because of the water that trickled down the faces of the children and then as the truck emptied, the last trickle out was used, leaving empty buckets behind. We take it so for granted. Our team's words for this day are broken, blessed, helplessness, open arms, open eyes, Jeff and Alyn, vision, and the beautiful TRICKLE.
Mountains beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder (thanks Clarisa)
How could a just God permit great misery? The Haitian peasants answered with a proverb: "Bondye konn bay, men li pa konn separe, " in literal translation, "God gives us humans everything we need to flourish, but he's not the one who's supposed to divvy up the loot. That charge was laid upon us.
Roy, CJ, and Sam Bomouse (the first water truck experience)
No child should ever go to bed thirsty, hungry or unsafe.........we are all human beings.