I know that I have mentioned to most of you being involved in CNP's launching of their safe water program, and with the help of CDC and other programs it officially launched a couple of months ago. As of now we are still learning and developing ideas, but currently our Monitrices from the nutritional program are being supplied with special buckets and a diluted chlorine solution called "gadyen dlo" to sell at a subsidized cost to families in their villages. Of course, in order to control quality of the water and to make sure the solution is being used properly we are training our Monitrices first at our monthly meetings, therein, allowing them to host training classes in their respective villages before anyone can purchase the bucket, top, and solution package.
The two full time employees of CNP that are working with the water program are Evans and Albert (who is in the picture above). Just after I arrived in Leogane, Evans took off for vacation so I have spent most of my time working with Albert. We have been going out approximately 2 times a week to supervise these class/meetings the Monitrices host in their villages in order to educate and answer any questions the locals may have. These meetings are a treat for me. Not only do I get to practice hearing/learning Kreyol from the locals during the meetings, I also get to hear personal stories, threw a translator, about how excited/thankful they are about this program and how the water in the past has made them or their children really sick.
These meetings are sometimes held in churches and before each meeting they like to sing a hymn and pray before they begin. These times are extremely peaceful for me and although I can't understand the words of the hymn I sometimes recognize the tune and hum along. To be in these mountain villages among these mountain people singing/humming hymns and praying is very invigorating!!
Usually the meetings last about an hour or so and without fail, no matter their living situation, they always offer some sort of "gift" before we begin our descent of the mountain. On this particular day they sent a child of the village up into the coconut trees to knock down several for us to drink. I have never had fresh coconut juice from the fruit before so it was truly a treat for me to have my first experience with my Haitian brothers and sisters!!
The preparation of the coconut fruit is quite a talent and I was mesmerized by the hatchet skills of the elder of the village who prepared the coconuts to drink. From an outsiders perspective it looked as though he swung aimlessly at these nuts sending the shell, like shrapnel, flying left and right, sometimes catching you in the face!! But it never failed, when he set his hatchet aside and rose to hand you the coconut there was a perfect size drinking whole ready for you to turn it up...and turn it up we did!!
As always I am humbled by the generous spirit of the Haitian people...