2015 was a year when we had money on our account but no project that was falling into place anywhere in the world! At a point of frustration, i remember saying to God, ‘You’ll have to make it come to me-let someone ask me to help them’.
That autumn, i spent some time with my Swiss family-my first prolonged visit with them ever. They spoke of one of their closest friends whose daughter had married an Indian man, and that they had a school in Haiti, and perhaps i’d like to go and work with them? I didn’t feel the tug.
Some weeks later, quite independently, my younger cousin mentioned a couple from his church who had taken a year out of their life as newlyweds, and who were serving at the school in Haiti- would i consider going and doing a water project in the area.
A few skype calls later, a surprise drop in airfares on new years eve…all fell into place in a very ‘God way’. In the first two weeks of January 2016, Wings of Grace International and Gospel Haiti teamed up in a very neglected region of the South Eastern part of Haiti, called ‘Foret des Pins’ to distribute 110 x 1000 litre (250 gallon) water tanks to the most vulnerable people in 10 villages.
Pastors in the region were informed of our criteria (the oldest, the crippled, the widows, those who had the hardest time getting water due to their circumstances). We asked them to look for hurting people, regardless of religious confession.
Church leaders in that very poor region looked beyond their own wants and needs, looked outside of their own parish and into the community as a whole, and alerted the most vulnerable that they had been chosen to be the caretakers of very large water tanks.
People told us later that they didn’t believe it at first-they were waiting for the catch (ie.how much would it cost them?). Would it actually happen? A very short while later, the big blue tanks began coming up the mountain. Pastor Bo from Metro Jesus Ministries and the other pastors were making rounds to check if people had their stands prepared (strong, flat, smooth and high enough to fit a jerry can under the tap).
A short while later I was brought to each village to paint Jezi Renmen ‘W (Jeus loves You, in Creole). They taught the people about caretaking our tanks, about sharing the water-even with people they didn’t like…God was giving them the chance to be a blessing-something they’d never imagined!
We’ve never distributed as many tanks during one project and I’m grateful to our co-workers on site for their help!
Gospel Haiti and Metro Jesus were great in their attention to detail and their welcome to our project in Foret des Pins (Pine Forest). The local Pastors looked at their community through God’s eyes, and helped the helpless. The young people who helped me sand the tanks before i painted them, who helped make plugs for the overflow holes, who did what needed to be done to help me and to serve the people…rarely have i encountered such hearty teamwork!
Donors gave graciously, our tank supplier Aqua-Systems gave us a good price on the tanks (in Haitian standards), our transporter was honest and as careful as he could be on those unbelievably rocky, bumpy roads going from city to mountain…
Our account was completely depleted-and we’d barely scratched the surface of the need in that region…God willing, sooner rather than later we’ll add many more tanks to help the neediest people in the northern hemisphere.
Young boys carrying water home. Children are now being found with hernia’s, as it’s their responsibility to fetch water. The weight is too much for their body, thus resulting in hernia’s
20 Tanks being loaded in Port-au-Prince
We meet with our first tanks at the Roche Ecrire School.
Helpers Nika, Jehu and Osniel
Jehu teaching some recipients about tank care and what we look for (sharing of water, no selling of water, clean tank, etc.)
Arun and Pastor Beaulière
Another tank caretaker, with crippled legs, at Sud-Est Department
Family and neighbours who will use the same tank at Sud-Est Department.
This man told us of nights he’d spent in a cave, waiting in line to get water from the tiny spring. Sometimes he’d come out empty handed
She walked down that way (direction of her arm) to go and get the water on her head
Another distribution (Barassa village)
Another happy tank caretaker at Sud-Est Department.
A tiny church
Tank caretakers from Derrière Mont
Painting 20 tanks in Gros Cheval with the words ‘Jezi Renmen ‘W’ – Jesus loves you in Creole.
A widow tank caretaker at Sud-Est Department.
Our faithful transporter, Barthelemy Joseph (aka Ti Pierre)
Teacher Roland-a wonderful, helpful gracious new friend!
A tank on a stand at Sud-Est Department.
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