KAMPECH: LOUIS'S STORY
|Population: 7,020 people
|GPS: 19.111833, -72.0581
|Partner: Partners in Health
Spring Protection. 50 latrines, 40 BioSand filters, 1 laundry station, and 1 animal trough.
e arrived in Kampech to find a hundred people waiting for us. The adults sat patiently on a grassy
slope, watching as their children gathered water trickling from the roots of a large, weathered tree.
This spring was located in a small valley off the main road. Community members took turns sharing their
stories and struggles with us. Sickness and disease from the drinking water was a serious burden here,
and many children got diarrhea and missed school. It was here that we met Louis Charles Mackenzie.
The thin yet sturdy eight-year-old was gathering contaminated water shared by animals and people in
a community of now 7,000 people.
Today, Louis lives in Kanpech. Last month, he lived in Port-au-Prince.
He spoke in a monotone whisper, describing being at home when the quake hit. “I ran outside and was fine,” he says. “But my dad was out. And he didn't come back. I cried and cried and cried when my mom told me he died. Now I am living here with my mom's friends.”
“Actually, I am not a friend,” interjects a short, plump woman in her sixties. “I am Louis' mother's mother's cousin. My daughter went to Port-au-Prince to get him after the quake.” Louis' mother had stayed behind in Port-au-Prince to earn some money for the family, selling cookies in the street.
We ask Louis what the difference is between drinking water in Port-au-Prince and drinking water from the open source here. Again, the woman interrupts.
“Oh he is just helping me collect water, he doesn't drink this. Everyone in the village drinks this water, but because Louis is from the city and had piped water in his house, we know he can't tolerate this. I don't have any money, but my daughter's husband has bought him some bottled water.”
Trekking the steep hillside, we walk back with Louis to his new home. We learn that he is nervous to go to a new school on Monday but excited to be with his friend named Peter. Louis' favorite subject is Haitian history. He's obsessed with cars.
Our partner here - the primarily health care organization, Partners In Health (PIH) will be implementing a water project in Louis's village. They work tirelessly here in Haiti to prevent what they bluntly classify as “stupid deaths.” These are deaths for which Americans or Europeans would never be put at risk. But for young kids like Lewis who don't have a safe supply of clean water, stupid deaths happen far too often.
charity: water plans to fund a new spring protection through PIH, complete with 50 latrines, 40 BioSand filters, 1 laundry station, and 1 animal trough. Kampech will also receive sanitation and hygiene education.
- story by: charity: water Programs Director, Becky Straw
- photos by: Esther Havens
The Smile Generation performs more CAD/CAM crowns than anybody in the world. So they think it’s fitting to help transform the world in return. For every CAD/CAM procedure they do, they will donate $1 toward the commitment of $91,000 to bring clean drinking water to the village of Kampech. Having access to clean drinking water can change lives for generations.