For years, the community of Chifonnette relied on a spring called Guerant as their primary water source. The source is not only where many of the local people get water to drink from, but also is considered to be a magical place of worship for some groups who practice voodoo. Their worship ceremony entails invoking the spirits by presenting foods containing fat, cola and other things mixed from the spring. The voodoo worship ceremonies have impeded many members of the Chifonnette community from accessing the stream to gather water for their basic needs.
One morning, some of the children went to Guerant to fetch water. While they were filling their jerry cans, a man who was performing the ceremony started to verbally and physically harass one of the children to prevent him from drawing water from the source. The children fled the stream and returned home without any water for their families. The lack of water prevented many community members from tending to their needs that day.
In response to the event, several parents in the area had a meeting to discuss the situation and develop a plan to ensure any women and children fetching water would be safe. They decided to send people in large groups to ensure everyone would be safe – no one would travel to the stream alone. While this was a good plan, it was not without problems. After some time, they still wanted a more viable solution.
One day, some people from the community received an invitation to participate in a community meeting in the region. During the meeting, they heard the committee announce that an organization called Haiti Outreach would be coming to drill a well in their area.
In response, the people of the community came together to request a well for the community of Chifonnette as well. A new well would allow them access to drinking water closer to home and eliminate the stress of being harassed by the voodoo worshipers.
Richelieu Antoine is a husband, father of 6 children (5 boys and 1 girl), and member of the community of Chifonette. To provide for his family, he cultivates a pistachio farm. He expressed, “I cried for joy and sincerely prayed that this would be accomplished quickly!” Three months after initiating the meetings and working hard to develop their management plan with the support of Haiti Outreach, local authorities, DINEPA, and the community, the community of Chifonnette celebrated the inauguration of their new well!
Antoine, overjoyed, expressed, “We could rejoice in glory and victory for the success of having access to drinking water through this project! Today, we are living the reality of access to drinking water, and I have felt very relieved since then.” The community of Chifonnette are grateful that their women and children can gather water safely from now on.