I’ve been visiting Terre Blanche on a regular basis since 1996. I’ve come to know and love the women of the village and especially the women who work tirelessly to cook for the school children. I’ve watched them trudge up the hill from the closest well (about ¼ mile up a hill) with 5 gallons of water on their heads.
They begin this task at 4:30 a.m. with the first flicker of daylight. I’ve watch some of the younger men carry 2 buckets at a time by hand. One time I watched my husband struggle to help one of the men. The bucket’s wire handle dug into his hand and it was very difficult to carry even one bucket.
One year, a long time ago, I saw JOY come to the school compound as a new well was dug on the compound. Remember all this hand-carried water is used to cook for 1,000 students and wash their dishes and give them a drink. This is no small task.
The JOY was short lived as the new well soon collapsed for no apparent reason and the women went back to carrying the water on their heads. I never heard them complain of this task. Pastor Delamy did share, “These women are getting older and frailer and are beginning to fall down when they carry all this water.” Think about a 5-gallon bucket of water – that weighs about 40-50 pounds. Yikes! No wonder Haitian women complain of neck and back pain.
Last October I saw JOY return to the Terre Blanche school compound. First, two successful wells were dug in August. One was by the church and one was behind the kitchen. When the HFH board team arrived in October, one of the board members was prepared to install a solar pump at one of the wells, which was done successfully.
Now there is water in the kitchen for cooking, drinking and washing. There is much JOY and HFH is grateful to have a small part in making this daily task easier.
By Linda Markee, HFH board member