The two basic essentials… water and shelter are lacking in much of Haiti. Almost half of Haiti’s people lack access to clean drinking water. Many rely on polluted rivers for drinking, cooking, and washing, which means people are constantly at risk for waterborne diseases like typhoid and cholera. Women and children often walk miles to fetch water. The situation in Bondeau is no different— and South Florida Haiti Project followed the community leaders’ prioritization for clean water by undertaking a well-drilling project.
Potable Water Remains Priority
Partnering with the non-profit group, Water for Small Villages, a team of hydrologists was sent to Bondeau in 2014 to test for the presence of water on the Bon Samaritan campus. Based on previous testing, the team was hopeful a new source of drinking water could be identified. Drilling with a Haiti-based non-profit well-drilling organization coordinated by Water for Small Villages occurred in 2017. Nine holes were bored with only two reaching water, which was unfortunately not potable. However, two wells were installed including one with a hand-pump yielding a dependable supply of water for sanitation purposes, bathing and washing, but not drinking. Currently a proposal is under review to pipe water two miles into the community from a spring located up the mountain above Bondeau.
A proposal to build a bathroom for the school has been researched and is waiting funding. Currently, the children use latrines which require regular maintenance and replacement. Funding is actively being sought for both vital infrastructure initiatives of potable water and sanitation.
Homes in Bondeau are usually difficult to term as “houses” with most made of sticks, mud, or corrugated tin. In 2016 when Hurricane Matthew decimated southern Haiti, including many of the homes in Bondeau, SFHP worked with the Bondeau leadership to identify the most urgent needs. The most badly damaged buildings on the campus were housing units, so funds were raised to build new roofs.
In 2017, Food For The Poor collaborated with the Bondeau leadership to build new concrete block homes for residents who owned their land. Over 40 new homes have been built to date all over the mountain side!
In Haiti, most people do not have the luxury of electricity in their homes. When darkness falls, candles and cooking fires are the only sources of light and owning even the simplest electricity-powered items is impractical. Without access to electricity, people find it difficult to raise their standard of living.
South Florida Haiti Project addressed this problem in Bondeau by installing solar panels, the first in the community. This system produces clean, sustainable, and low-cost electricity for the Guest House, Bon Samaritan School, and Bon Samaritan Church.
All buildings need maintenance and expansion for growth; however, in Haiti that is even more challenging. Supplies are often not the quality we have in the US and availability is limited. Mission trips have assisted with some major projects such as building a roof for the secondary wing of Bon Samaritan that had never been finished and abandoned for 5 years.
Maintenance is an ongoing issue that mission teams are often a catalyst to overcome working side-by-side with Bondeau community workers.