While clean water is vital for good health, proper sanitation and hygiene practices are just as crucial for slowing the spread of disease. The community of Bastia (located in the northern commune of Arcahaie) was a good illustration of this problem of unsafe drinking water and sanitation. None of the households had hand washing sanitation facilities. Of the 82 households in this community, only 19 had designated latrines. The 63 remaining households had to use the bathroom outside, which contributes to the spread of illnesses.
In December 2020 the community of Bastia met with the Haiti Outreach team as well as several of the local water authorities in Arcahaie to learn more about the opportunity to help their community not only have access to clean water, but also to learn about how to wash their hands properly and build their own latrines to prevent further spread of the illnesses that have impacted their community for several years.
Haiti Outreach’s training process, which usually lasts 3 months, was prolonged due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “We were forced to stay at home. All the stores were closed, and we could not buy construction materials to continue the work,” explains Julien Elijeune, an elected official in Délices.
In March, our staff was able to resume working with this community. Everyone was mindful to respect physical distancing and occupational health and safety protocols. As part of the training, our Haiti Outreach animators helped participants to understand the importance of washing their hands, using a proper toilet, and how to plan for the long-term maintenance of their well.
Mr. Julien Elijeune has also returned to work. He hopes that the community of Bastia and the surrounding areas will have potable water for drinking, bathing and washing their hands. “I [am hopeful] that the people of Délices will stop defecating outside and that they will protect [their well] and manage [it effectively] because this infrastructure will prevent them from [spreading more] diseases. I will fight to the end [to ensure that] the population has access to clean water. “