New Well in Haiti

Post a Comment » Written on April 14th, 2011     
Filed under: Disaster Relief
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The Bertain Well: Difficult but not Impossible


Bertain can seem almost impossible to access by truck¸ certainly by heavy equipment. Chosen as one of World Relief’s target communities in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, it is clearly the most vulnerable as well as the most difficult to visit. Bertain’s oppressive poverty is worsened by its lack of water sources and woefully inadequate schools. Three years ago, Pastor Fritz Gilles of the Baptiste de la Grace Church invited World Relief’s MYFL program (youth program) to come teach the young people in the Bertain community about AIDS prevention, abstinence, and making good life choices. The program ended with commitments from two participants to continue training others, and a relationship began.

After the earthquake, Pastor Gilles told World Relief that their most urgent need was for a clean water source. Until now, having free water each day meant walking 25-30 minutes down steep paths to a river and hauling back a bucket of impure water. Not only is the route dangerous, the young people were using this as an excuse to leave the watchful eyes of their parents and become involved sexually. Pastor Gilles felt a well would meet the vital need for a close and clean water source as well as helping to keep the young people under more careful supervision.

“A well? Here?”


World Relief is not new to wells. After the earthquake, WRH put in 12 wells in key sites that have made a difference for communities who had no good option for water. However, Bertain presents its own special hurdles. To reach Bertain, one must drive through a river, up a narrow road that drops off dramatically. “It isn’t every truck that can make it,” Joe Crowley of WRH explains. The other obstacle is simply the rocks which make well drilling more than challenging. A machine will start drilling, but the rocks have to be dug out by hand. After long consideration, the engineer for the project stated, “Difficult, but not impossible!”

So, Bertain, arid, abandoned and poor has a new project. Pastor Mikael will visit in the next few days to see the progress, but estimates the well will be ready in about two weeks. Romnal, a leader of the U.S. Church engagement team, smiles when he shares, “This will bring great joy to Bertain!” “And less risk,” adds Pastor Mikael. So, while politics, epidemics, and failed plans swirl around Port-au-Prince, Bertain makes a step forward with the help of World Relief Haiti.

Written by Tina O’Kelly
Photography by Matthew Smith and David Uttley

From CWR partner, World Relief International, and originally found here.


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