|Population: 3,450 people (+300 post-earthquake)
|GPS: 18.9105, -72.063917
|Partner: Partners in Health
|Intervention: Spring Protection piped down to 8 tap stands. 50 latrines, 40 BioSand filters, 2 laundry stations, 1 animal trough, and 3 hand-washing stations.
lanchard is a beautiful village nestled in the hillside of the Central Plateau. Small wooden houses
dot the landscape, each tiny home filled with children and relatives. Blanchard has taken in
more than 300 people since the earthquake. As John Louis Fede showed us, his tiny two-room home
that used to sleep ten, now squeezes in 17.
We hiked down a well-worn trail, the residents leading the way to the source of their spring.
Children ran alongside us giddy with laughter, their barefoot feet confidently navigating the
dusty path as they scurried to keep up.
Soon, we arrived at one of the most magnificent trees we've ever seen. Its trunk was massive
and the limbs seemed to protect those near it from the outside world. A spring bubbled out from
under the exposed roots, and while the water was deceptively clear, worms and fish were swimming
in it, giving residents chronic parasites and diarrhea.
Here we talked to Micheline Leon, one of Partners In Health's Community Health Workers. Micheline
spoke passionately about the need for clean water in her community. Almost once a week she carries
a child to the hospital, sick with chronic diarrhea from drinking the water.
A mother named Michiln stepped forward, balancing an unhappy baby girl on her hip. Michiln
lifted up the back of the baby's pink cotton dress, and we saw a patchwork of open and oozing
sores spreading across her tiny back and pudgy arms. While her baby attempted to scratch feverously,
Michiln told us in a worried tone, “My children never had sores when we lived in Port-au-Prince.
I used to bathe them with Ivory soap.”
We asked what she uses to bathe them in now, and she responded quietly, “Nothing. We have
nothing but this water.”
Michiln and her five children have been staying with John Louis Fede in his home with 16 others
since the quake. Leaning against his small, broken-down house, John told us bleakly, “Michiln
and her husband used to support us when they lived in Port-au-Prince. They would buy us things
like sugar, rice and cooking oil. Now, we are supporting them. I don't have money. We can't even
save for food. I don't see how we can get out of this situation.”
We left Blanchard, dropping Micheline off at the gate to her house. Waving goodbye, we knew
that soon she'd be picking up another poor baby, covered in sores, and marching her off to PIH's
Solution: Here, through local partner PIH, we plan to protect Blanchard's spring, and then pipe it down to 8 tap stands throughout the large community. The residents will also help construct 50 latrines, 40 BioSand filters, 2 laundry stations, 1 animal trough, and 3 hand-washing stations.
- story by: charity: water Programs Director, Becky Straw
- photos by: Esther Havens