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Changing Rain Water Into Drinking Water – Haiti

August 24, 2014
Plain English Version
10.Madam Felix_DSC00871

Contributor: Judith Ritter

An American named Bob Keesee is bringing drinking water to a rural part of Haiti. He is in Seguin. It is a remote village high in rugged mountains. Villagers used to walk three hours a day to bring back muddy water. Today that is changing.

Over many years and many trips, Keesee worked on the problem. He says it rains 60 inches a year in Seguin. “These folks needed clean water. I thought why not come up with a simple system for each house to collect the rain? Why not just catch it?”

The rain catcher is odd looking. It is fastened on shack roofs. It is a gutter made from a length of PVC pipe, tubing, brackets, strapping and a plastic barrel. His device collects, filters and contains rainwater. It changes lives.

Bob Keesee

Bob Keesee

He says quietly, “The first time I saw one work in Seguin, I actually cried. Neighbors were running over with every kind of vessel they had. Each drop to them is precious.”

A Seguin clinic worker says, “The quality of water from his rain catchers has greatly improved the health of the people. Cholera was our biggest worry. But we have seen fewer and fewer people coming to our clinic with typhoid or other waterborne diseases.”

The village lies 6,000 feet up on the rocky Seguin Plateau. The mountains have no trees. Soil slides down the slopes. There are no roads, no latrines, and no electricity.

Getting to Seguin is a 10-hour trip from Port-au-Prince on mostly unpaved roads. People use  old open-back trucks or decorated buses as public transportation. After that there is a long hike up the mountainside.

Keesee amazes everyone. He goes to Haiti very often. People greet him warmly when he asks them to volunteer to help install rain catchers. He buys local.

One woman says, “Bob is different. He comes back.”

Source: The Christian Science Monitor August 15, 2014

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