|Population: 3,000 people
|GPS: 18.761683, -72.807117
|Partner: Concern Worldwide
|Intervention: Spring Protection piped down to a tap stand. Rainwater catchment tanks will be built at the primary school. The community will also construct 280 latrines.
he only way to reach the village of Titans is by boat because there are no roads to drive there. Taking a small boat from La Gonave's main harbor, we docked at Titans and found a population of 3,000 people living without clean water.
There are three main ways the community currently collects water. They hike up a steep mountainside to reach an open spring, buy water shipped from the mainland, or drink the brackish water that bubbles up near the sea. Several children told us, “My water tastes salty. I don't like it.”
We quickly befriended Kiesha Michele. A confident, lanky and graceful 17-year-old, Kiesha looked more like a fashion model than a girl who regularly drinks from a contaminated spring.
Born in Titans, Kiesha's story is like hundreds of others on the island. Her older brother, Alex, got a job in Port-au-Prince and asked his younger siblings to join him. Alex worked during the day and attended IFC University at night. He supported his family so they could attend school and have a chance for a better future.
When the quake hit, Kiesha escaped from her house in the city and spent the night in the street. Her brother was in class when the university collapsed. Kiesha's mother told us, “I know he died because I never heard from him. It's very hard from me because he couldn't have a burial.”
Keisha and her brothers and sister are now back in Titans, uncertain of what will come next. Poised between tents dotting the beach, Keisha shared with us that she would like to “get a job, have school and no more poverty. Water is the big problem here. To have clean water is a necessity.”
The Michele family is grieving like so many in Haiti. Their loss is evident in their faces. The moments we shared with the Micheles were difficult and confirmed for us what is truly important. That life is to be treasured.
SOLUTION: Through local partner Concern Worldwide, we plan to protect the mountain spring and pipe it into the center of town. We'll also construct rainwater collection tanks and new latrines for the primary school, as well as help implement a trash collection system.
- story by: charity: water Programs Director, Becky Straw
- photos by: Esther Havens