Our response to Pastor Claude’s, “Water, anyone?” is a unanimous, Yes!
The three hour trip from the Mission station to the remote outpatient clinic, located among the mountains north of Port au Prince, the capital of Haiti, had left those of us on the truck as thirsty and dry as the long, dusty road that carried us towards our destination.
Pastor Claude reaches into the portable cooler near him, pulls out several bottles of water and hands them back to us. With foreign missionaries on board, uncontaminated bottled waterwas a must bring item on the list.
As we make our way up the treacherous mountain road, our truck pitches precariously leftward and comes upon a scene, which after thirty years, I still remember. It made me even more grateful for the cold, refreshing water I had just consumed.
A large, muddy pond sprawls out on the side of the road. I could only imagine what lay below the thick, clay colored surface. From where I sit, I can tell this polluted, stagnant body of water serves as the neighborhood swimming hole, a place to do laundry, and a place where one comes to take a bath; and that included several goats that waded in.
Our truck continues to slowly mount the steep incline towards our destination, but the scene plays repeatedly with my thoughts…Men, women, naked children, animals, wading, washing , bathing, mud, filth…how could one survive the ravages of disease in such primitive conditions?
I think of the unimaginable hardships that result from the scarcity of clean drinking water, and my eyes moisten in sympathy.
“Where do the villagers go for drinking water?” I ask Pastor Claude. His reply makes me blink harder to hold back the tears.
“Children as little as six-years old often walk several miles carrying water cans to find the nearest stream. And even then, the water may not be up to standard.”
Twenty minutes later, the truck stops in front of a one story building with makeshift benches filled with patients, some hardly able to remain upright, after walking or being carried for several miles.
How could one survive the ravages of disease in such primitive conditions?
At the end of eight hours of non-stop evaluation and treatment of more than one hundred patients, I have the answer. Some don’t!
My experience with the unimaginable hardships that results from the scarcity of clean water occurred years ago. Yet, 42% of Haiti’s population still lack clean water to drink.
At our house, “Pass the water, please” comes with a guarantee that the water in the pitcher is safe to drink. If only families throughout the world could count on drinking uncontaminated water. Water4 Foundation knows the problem first hand and is doing much to address the problem in Haiti and elsewhere; but there’s much more to do. Don’t let their effort to supply safe water stagnate due to lack of funds.
Let’s make sure there’s water for anyone and EVERYONE!
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