Joseph Philistin is a joyful and vibrant 59 year old husband and father to 8 children, 5 girls and 3 boys. In his community, he has a reputation for being wise and trustworthy. To provide for his family he farms pistachios and bananas. He and his family reside in the Commune of Capotille in the North East Department of Haiti.
His family used to walk to a spring early in the morning to gather their water. The hour-long trek is very long and mountainous. The long and challenging journey made water a scarce resource in their home. However, that was not the only dangerous aspect of their water source. The spring water was not clean and unfortunately, one of his daughters, Widelange, contracted typhoid fever at the age of two. The fever was so bad that she became paralyzed, and as a 15 year old has to rely on her parents to carry her from place to place. Not only is her disability difficult on a practical level for her and her family, but in Haiti people with disabilities are often viewed as “cursed” so the Philistin family deals with an unfair stigma as well.
Joseph acknowledges the reality that raising a paralyzed daughter has been difficult at times. When the doctor informed them that dirty water was the culprit for their daughter’s condition he was deeply saddened. He and his family however are grateful that their community now has a clean water well. He shared, “Today, I feel it is a great relief to be able to receive a well in the community thanks to the organization Haiti Outreach. We feel very happy because we hope that our other children will have the opportunity to find very good quality water.”
Now they can access water much closer to home, and they do not worry about health risks from drinking it.