I have never lived without running water—most people in the United States don’t know what that’s like. However, there are still many Native people in the US who do not have running water. When I was growing up, my grandparents did not have water in their house—they drew water from a nearby well, so I knew having running water in the house was a “luxury” not to be taken for granted. Living without running water is a hardship many people can’t even imagine. Nevertheless, in countries like Haiti, everyone knows what its like not to have this precious element easily accessible to them. People in LaVallée have to walk up steep rocky trails or roads to get water and then carry it back home, usually on their head. I am amazed at the resilient energy and strength of Haitian people.
Flying over the mountains from Port au Prince to Jacmel is a quick flight and the view is always different. Here you can see the damage on the treeless mountains from heavy rains during hurricane season and you can see the damage caused by the ravaging water as it rushes completely in charge pillaging its way to the ocean—leaving nothing behind.
As I watched this beautiful storm blow in off the ocean, I couldn’t help but think about the river and what it will be like when we have to cross it. But this rain is desperately needed, especially for the crops, the animals, and the cisterns and reservoirs.
This river is crucial for the survival of the people in this country. They use it for all of their daily needs—they drink from it, they water their animals and their crops, its where they do their laundry, it is their main source of water.
Everyone crosses this river on the way up the mountains and back but during hurricane season and after a heavy rain no one can cross until the water subsides.
The bridge here was just one of many bridges that was built over the years but none could standup under torrential downpours and raging waters during hurricane season.
Last spring a group from China arrived with tons of equipment and started construction on a bridge that will hold up under the forces of nature during hurricane season.
Higher up in the mountains and away from the river people have to rely on underground streams for their water or they have tapped into the spring and installed a pipe to direct the flow making it easier to fill containers or bathe and do laundry.
When there is a dry spell, people get water where they can and often they walk long distances for it.
Rain is good during the dry season but this is Market Day and the rain is coming making people scramble to cover their wares but they don’t seem to mind at all.
When I first met this woman she told me she had been washing linens for the hospital in these pans, by hand, for a very long time—Not long after that, AHDH raised enough money for a large generator, built a water tower and put in a washing machine—no longer do they wash anything by hand at the Hospital St. Joseph.
This young girl walked to the source carrying soiled clothes and will spend most of her day here washing the clothes, by hand, for her family.
I am impressed with the young people in LaVallée, I never hear them whining because they have to carry heavy containers of water or that they might be hungry. I don’t know how far this young boy has to walk carrying water for his family but he does it without complaining.
I am always amazed at the energy and strength of Haitian people. With a heavy bucket of water on her head, she stopped and waited for me to get near enough to photograph her and her granddaughter.
This man is on his way to fill his containers with water, no telling how far he has to walk and he might do this a few times a day.
This area called Boursiquot is one of the main water sources. These boys were on the water truck filling large containers with water and then putting vines on top of the water to keep it from splashing out while driving back up that steep rough road.
This young couple was married in a small church and after the service we all walked to the home of the newly weds, which was quite a long walk, to help them celebrate. Along the way we passed the water source where women were washing clothes and hanging them on the fence—they all stopped and greeted the couple as they passed. Even though I thought it was a long walk it was a good time.