The biosand filters arrived yesterday and the majority of them were stored at the Flower of Hope School in Clory. The community members who receive the filters are tasked with figuring out how to transport them back to their houses. The filter as a whole weighs 200 pounds. One method of transportation that struck us as particularly ingenious was laying the (heavy, concrete) filter laterally across two thick sticks. The more families take part in the transport and maintenance of the filters, the stronger the sense of ownership they will feel over them. Each filter takes around 30 minutes to install, and about 20 minutes of education usually follow. The education aspect has five points: how to pour the water in the filter, where you stand when you pour it, the priming of the filtration system, clean water storage, and how to protect the tube where the water comes out. We have chosen a community member to attend the biosand workshop in Jacmel, Haiti, in two weeks. He will learn how to properly monitor and evaluate the filters in the community and how to repair/take care of them, should future maintenance issues arise.
One of the technicians said, “This community has a large water issue and needs help.” After one filter had been installed, the head of the home that received it said, “Thank you. Water is life; it is the most important thing.” It warmed us, more than words can say, to see so vividly the tangible impact we are having on people’s lives. And what’s more, this project stems directly from the community’s own wishes. This approach – basing projects on evident need — renders a sense of just propriety and meaning unto our work here, and we are already beginning to see the results.
While installing the filters, we also mapped the houses in order to more easily and efficiently follow up on the next trip. In between installations, we chatted to the gaggle of girls who were following us closely. Wadley, a girl whom we met in November, joined us again throughout the day. We loved the opportunity to see familiar faces again! Claire and Elizabeth developed an especially keen bond with two fifteen-year-old girls at our third house. Once again, we were humbled by the stark contrast between these girls’ lives and ours. They are charged with taking care of the family in addition to enduring the heavy workload familiar to any serious student.
Wyatt, Brian, and Gabi worked to build a “tippy-tap” hand washing station at the school and will work with some teachers tomorrow to implement hand washing as a habit at the school. Lawson, Aneesh, Olivia, and Hunt trekked from house to house to continue to distribute Luci lights to provide much-needed light in the village.
Although the day did not go exactly as planned due to an extremely late lunch, we had a great afternoon. The 18’s and 16’s bonded by grabbing Cokes across the street and playing some raucously competitive games of hearts.
– Liz Heckard ’18, Claire Cunningham ’18, Bridget Dickinson ’16, and Elizabeth Lilly ‘16
Highlights from the Day:
Liz: Installing the biosand filters in the community
Hunt: Handing out Luci lights
Wyatt: Watching the biosand filter technicians installing the filters, how meticulous they were and how they valued their job. Haitians helping Haitians
Aneesh: Distributing the Luci lights
Lawson: Seeing how the Luci lights are impacting the community and seeing their reactions when receiving and learning about them
Olivia: Seeing more of Clory today than I have before
Gabi: Watching the installation of the biosand filters
Brian: Hearing one of the biosand filter recipients tell us thank you and how “water is life”
Elizabeth: Amazing to help the community in ways that they had explicitly expressed need
Bridget: Watching the community members innovate to carry the heavy biosand filters to their homes
Stuart: Continuing to work with Oxanne on the women’s empowerment curriculum and having it go much more smoothly and quickly than last time
Claire: Bonding with some girls our own age in Clory