Today was our second water truck day going back into Cite Soleil. Unlike the first day, I was one of the first out of the tap-tap. As soon as the door opened there were 4-5 kids already waiting to be picked up and hugged. Their excitement at seeing us was consistent from one stop to the next.
The second day of an activity could probably grow monotonous, but each stop is different. The team really doesn’t have any assigned roles, you just pick up the hose, or a child, or grab a pail after it is full and go from there.
The first stop today was completely different than any of the stops on Tuesday. This stop had an organized and orderly feel to it. Unlike the three stops on Tuesday the local men also joined in both filling pails and carrying them home. They showed respect for each other and seemed to really appreciate the help we gave them delivering the water to their doors.
While pails were being filled and delivered, everybody took part in playing with the kids and giving them the love they craved. There were some crazy moments where members of the team provided impromptu entertainment either dancing or starting a game with the kids, while the filling and delivery process continued. Eric, one of our team members had written Jezi Renmen Ou (Jesus Loves You) on the inside of his hand. He told us tonight that he showed it to one of the children, who in return told him Jesus loves you too. Their love of God is apparent, and shows through their smiles.
We have all been told to keep the tap-tap in sight when delivering to a house. Each of us had a story tonight about how far we went, and the maze of corridors that we took that sometimes went beyond our expected boundaries. I, myself made 6-7 trips to the same house off the main path and inside of a narrow courtyard. On one of my trips back to the truck I was surprised to see one of the tap-tap drivers waiting near where I had left the street. I am sure he was there should I have gotten lost, not out of fear for my safety. After each pail I delivered I heard a “Merci”, knowing that they were grateful for the help.
After each stop we follow the water truck out of Cite Soleil and back to the water filling station. Healing Haiti provides such a valuable service to Cite Soleil. Last night I read a report that said less than 50% of Haiti has access to clean water. There is no other delivery method throughout the country other than water trucks. The in ground distribution we have in the US doesn’t exist here. Water is truly a precious commodity and not taken for granted or wasted.
After having lunch in the tap-tap we were on to our second and final water stop for the day. The same greeting by the children was there, waiting to be held as soon as the door to the tap-tap opened.
The efficiency of the second stop was not as strong as our first, but still provided some memories. Most notably a number of members of the team carried water for one of the “organizers” and delivered them into her house. Most of the people asked for us to leave water outside of the door, but this time they were invited in to see her home. She was obviously proud of the home she created for her family and judging by the photos that we saw this evening had every reason to be proud. The house looked remarkably clean, and had tile floors, and nice furniture. It definitely stood out from the majority of the other houses in Cite Soleil.
The water flows constantly at a water stop and I am amazed at how quickly 3000 gallons of water pours out. The size of the containers changes by the second, with most people bringing open top 5 gallon pails. Some times they have small mouth openings on 5 gallon cans that look like would be used for fuel, and there is also a mix of wash tubs, and smaller containers. Most stops also have a number of 55 gallon drums that become wells for the community after the smaller containers are empty. They go through this ritual with or without help six days a week. Life just shouldn’t be this hard!
After the water delivery was complete we made a short stop near the bay, and saw fishermen took in the view from the docks. We took more photos of the team and a few minutes to catch our breath before we left for Fleri Farms.
I would describe the Fleri Farms as more of an orchard, with a mix of avocado, mango, coconut and plantain trees. The two drivers got us mangos from the trees. We met up with the farmer on the property who cut open a number of coconuts for us to drink, and after he cut them open for us to taste the coconut meat. The orchard still has room to plant more trees and increase the output which is expected to be used in the bakery, and a restaurant.
Tonight’s recap of the day was very upbeat. Yesterday’s visits to The Home for Sick and Dying Babies took its toll on those who were there. Today, was fun for everyone. The team is enjoying working and spending time together and looking forward to tomorrow. We are grateful for the opportunity to serve the lord and help the people of Haiti.