|Population: 2,450 people
|GPS: 18.830267, -71.827217
|Partner: Partners in Health
|Intervention: Spring Protection. 50 latrines, 40 BioSand filters, 1 laundry station, 1 animal trough, and 2 hand-washing stations.
avigating a twisting trail, we came around a bend that opened into a large ravine. Water bubbled
beautifully over rounded boulders and smooth pebbles. About 20 villagers sat on rocks collecting
drinking water and washing laundry. Many had brought their animals for a drink.
Getting to Nan Simon isn't easy. It's not really close to anything. It takes 30 minutes just to reach the nearest building - a schoolhouse that doubles as church on Sundays. Walking to the nearest hospital takes 3-4 hours. But that was before the community built their own road.
“Now,” said a man proudly, “if there's an emergency, driving to the hospital only takes us an hour.” This community may be remote, but if you ever get the chance to meet the residents of Nan Simon, you're in for a treat.
Sunlight streamed in between the trees as we sat on rocks surrounding the open spring. We talked with Inora Santine and her son, Luc. Inora grew up in Nan Simon and guessed her age at about 70, although she remembered Borno's presidency, which would put her at 80 plus. Sitting against the trunk of a gnarled tree, Inora spoke of the constant sickness and disease caused by the dirty water over the years.
Her son Luc chimed in, “For years, politicians have been visiting us, promising clean water in exchange for votes. They get elected, but we never receive clean water. They make false promises.”
After the earthquake, Luc's church took up a collection, and he donated his entire savings of 25 Haitian Gourds ($0.62 USD) to help survivors.
“They are our brothers and sisters. And they would support us if we were in that situation.”
Luc went onto say that almost every family gave something. If they didn't have money, they donated vegetables or rice.
We were amazed by Luc's and the other families' generosity - he's a farmer struggling to raise eight kids and these families are struggling to get by themselves. So often in this line of work it's easy to lump people into two categories: the needy, and those who help the needy. We foolishly assume it's the needy that wait around for someone to help them. Yet a village without clean water far away shares our collective desire to change the world.
We hope to fund a spring protection box protecting the source, and construct enough taps for the community's drinking water, as well as a separate area for washing laundry, and an animal trough. The neediest families will also receive latrines and BioSand filters.
- story by: charity: water Programs Director, Becky Straw
- photos by: Esther Havens