Olan Théophile is a 55 year old peanut farmer who resides in Belvi, in the Commune of Capotille in the Northeast Department of Haiti. He has a wife, three children, and a 5 year old granddaughter. Before Haiti Outreach engaged his community, the primary water source for the community of Belvi came from a small natural spring called “Sous Kastel.” This unprotected source emerges from behind the trunk of a tree that flows alongside the riverbank. The people of Belvi were not the only members of the community to gather water from Sous Kastel, the animals also used the river for drinking and bathing. During the rainy season, the waters would rise and cause a deluge preventing people from accessing it for water.
One day, Olan received an invitation from the local committee to take part in an important meeting to inform him about an organization that wanted to support the population in acquiring a clean water well in their area. Overjoyed at the news, he invited his wife to participate in the meetings as well.
At one of the meetings, the community needed to elect a guardian for the well and unanimously agreed to appoint Olan for the job. Initially, he was worried that the role would prohibit him from tending to his peanut garden, but his wife assured him that she would support him in his responsibilities including the peanut farm. With her encouragement, Olan accepted the position.
Humbled and grateful for his new role, Olan shared, “I always did my best to attend all the training sessions organized by the committee. Thanks to those training sessions, my management skills have improved. As a result, I have not only learned how to manage our well, but have applied this new knowledge to running my own business. Thanks to this information, I have been able to generate more profits which has allowed me to save and invest in improvements to my farm and home. For example, the roof of my house used to be made of thatch, but now I have installed a metal roof which helps to protect the interior from getting wet during the rainy season. My wife is happy and our children are now proud to invite friends over to visit.” Olan and his wife are working to set up a small grocery market in their community. This market will help his neighbors purchase their household needs closer to home and save them a long trek to the city center for basic supplies. Olan and his family are delighted by the ways a simple well has improved their lives in numerous ways.