In 2008 we had a flood here in Cazale. It was a bad flood and caused a lot of damage. The road was washed out in two places and the water system was destroyed.
We went for 6 or 7 months without running water. The only solution at the time was to dig a small hole beside the rushing river. Some of the river water filter through the sand and we were able to collect semi-muddy water.
We use a lot of water here at RHFH. All the clothing, bedding, and diapers are hand washed, all our drinking water, bath water etc had to be hand carried in. We were going through around 3,000 gallons of water per day. All this water had to be hand carried to the facility from the river. I began hiring people to just keep up with the water supply. It was mostly young guys that took split shifts throughout the day. One afternoon I had a lady named Chrismene stop me while I was walking and ask if she could have a job of carry water. I told her it was a very hard job carrying 5 gallon buckets of water on your head. She came for three more days in a row asking for the job. Finally she did a half shift for one of the guys to show me that she could do it.
After the dirty water was collected in barrels we passed it though towels over and over again to get it as “clean” as we could for baths. Those are times that I have hard time talking about. It was a very difficult time for all of us and thorugh it all we became very close with the community.
After a few months we received a large water filter system. It was a HUGE blessing to us. We were having a hard time keeping up with keeping clean gallons, to fill with filtered water, to give out to the community members. We created a job for someone to wash these gallons daily. Chrismene was very happy to fill this position. Since that time in 2008 she has been doing this job. She also washes the linens for the clinic every week. Some days when the cholera house is really full and they need lots of gallons of water she comes in twice a day. She is a very hard workers.
Chrismene lives with her mama in a 3 room house that RHFH build for her mama after the earthquake. She has 5 living children and one that died when it was 5 months old of fever and diar. Before she worked here at RHFH she bought bread and rice in bulk and resold it to those in the village. She had a lot of people that bought on credit and later did not pay. She felt like she was always struggling to make ends meet. She had a lot of debt when she began working. After having a steady income for about a year she was able to pay everyone off that she owed. She is very happy and proud of that. She does not feel like she would have been able to do that without the job here at RHFH. She loves to also help where ever she can with other things going on at RHFH. We often find her buying food for patients, helping the sick and disabled walking to wherever they are going. Holding a crying baby or helping to feed the little ones in the ICU. She loves to be apart of our team here. She is a great encouragement to the staff and we are blessed to have her working along side us here at Real Hope For Haiti.