Monday, October 25, 2010

WATER! Dlo, Dlo!

What water do people drink in rural Haiti?

Up in the mountains, I can say: folks get water for drinking from one "ti sos" - a spring. For washing, they bathe down at the "Oache-Oache" and will carry water up from there for washing (using sparingly) of dishes. Visitors and those that cannot carry their own "bokit" have water carried up for bathing and washing - - this is a job for several folks when we have visitors staying over.

No one boils water to drink (or course not!).

Some, especially our visitors, add bleach (Klorox) into the kanari (clay jug) or bokit with a spigot (this is newly introduced innovation. Some families pay a few goudes and add "chemie" - a chemical treatment - their spigot cum bokit -- but most do not bother.

I see that. I watch those water jugs, let me tell you.
I catch those kids pouring their ti gallon of water into the big household bokit with spigot. And nobody is adding any "chemie" or bleach.
We all live to see another day. Somehow. Anyhow.

Am I dreaming? It seems my neighbors drink a LOT LESS than we blans do,

Indeed, people also eat a lot less frequently, but also a lot more when they do eat -- huge bowls, if not platters of mayi moulin ak sos pwa, pa egzanp.

And me? I drink like a fish and eat like a bird, BUT one rule of thumb has been : LOTSA coffee! So that's when I insist on maintaining my "Prinzess" routines...gotta have that kafe le matin. So, a huge chodye is prepared with coffee, and then poured into a HUGE thermos that is the size of a three year old rural Haitian child...This too is a little business, provides a job (and coffee!) for the families involved. Ok, ok - it's my ONE luxury, will you allow me that?

I didn't know that, honestly, when we first arrived in the mountains of Haiti. Like you, I had read that coffee (and bread) is what Haitians get for breakfast. Well, let me debunk that stereotype! Even in the city, among the fat cats and the not-so-fat cats, coffee (and bread?!) is not the breakfast of champions. Breakfast, indeed, eating a morning meal (or, for some, any meal) is not guaranteed. You have to hustle if you want to eat, or drink, or be merry.

In the mountains, the thermos of coffee keeps me company all day and my neighbors marvel at how much I drink. But: I NEVER get sick in Haiti and I swear it is because the water I drink is boiled, it is in the boiled coffee. That, and I swear by the few drops of Klorox someone usually remembers to squirt into the large, traditional clay kanari and the two small clay kreche.

In the photo, I am the one with the water bottle. Madam Lwides is the one with the bokit on her head.
When hiking around and working in school, and hiking to the ti jaden with everyone, it is obvious: no one else carries a water bottle, and my Haitian friends sip very gingerly when I offer to share. Workers in a koumbite, in the fields, are brought water (and coffee) - as well as a meal - in the fields... Again, I observe people drink sparingly....

Ah, Mesye Gistav works here.He would certainly never dream of wearing shoes to work in the fields. He sets out with hat, tools and satchel woven from local materials by local artisans and will dig, plant, and sekle, rache zab. (cut and pull weeds). If he works as "vann journay" (day worker) he would earn say 35 goudes (2008 rate) which was not quite a dollar. He would get coffee in the morning, water and a meal of beans and corn meal, or (rarely) rice at about 11:00. Quitting time was some hours later.

Other alternatives for paysans, farmers, moun ki travay te would be to form "kombite" - work teams, work collectives, and take turns as a group working in one anothers' large plots of land. There are few such large land owners these days - what with inheritance patterns being as they are, with all children inheriting equally, boys and girls, most owned land are small plots scattered here and there, bits and pieces from a mothers' side, a fathers' side, and so on.

The "trickle down" effect has resulted in land plots being a small trickle, quilts of plots that one hikes to (or not), that one plants (or not) and weeds and perhaps, hopefully, harvests.

No, there is no irrigation, and little watering of gardens here. When it rains it pours, and if it doesn't rain, farmers and their families are, well, sunk.

There are occasional surprises, however. Like one summer, Madame Jean produced some tomatoes! Once.

Most folks take a bath once a week, whether they need it or not...

Water play!

And the goats? Well, they get set out (and tied) to pasture, but as to water, well...there's no well for goats. Some people have a gourd hanging inside a small lean-to goat shelter...I believe they put salt in it...water? Beasts don't get much either!

Washing dishes, doing laundry. Water is used very sparingly.

Gran wonders and smiles at my photographing these mundane activities that show: Haiti Works! And How!

So, if water access was improved, and the water got closer and the grass got greener, what would women do with all their "spare" time? We asked them. "Fe ti komes," "Etidye bwode," "Etidye koude" They'd try to do a little peddling, schlepping of goods, they'd learn to embroider, they'd learn to sew.

Niagara Falls, Haiti.
Visiting students, some from Poprens, some from lot bo dlo (overseas) check out our water resources, our zone's Niagara Falls.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Thanks for taking the time to discuss that, I feel strongly about this and so really like getting to know more on this kind of field. Do you mind updating your blog post with additional insight? It should be really useful for all of us. simer water pressure tanks

  4. Taking facial steam regularly assists in maintaining the natural anti-aging property of the skin.  beauty and skincare

  5. I wanted to leave a little comment to support you and wish you a good continuation. Wishing you the best of luck for all your blogging efforts.Penrose CDL

  6. I realize the resale estimation of our lodge went up once the door was introduced and working.cancelli ad ante

  7. When your website or blog goes live for the first time, it is exciting. That is until you realize no one but you and your. Boiling water tap

  8. This is highly informatics, crisp and clear. I think that everything has been described in systematic manner so that reader could get maximum information and learn many things. copper water bottle best brand

  9. A water treatment plant is where water is blessed to receive make it worthy for the assigned end-client. Different cycles associated with this activity, such offices incorporate sedimentation, filtration, chlorination, sterilization, coagulation, etc. reverse osmosis systems

  10. The most obvious factor that distinguishes cheap water filters from their higher end cousins is the initial price tag. Some filters simply have a different basic price. water filter system Singapore

  11. I found so many interesting stuff in your blog especially its discussion. From the tons of comments on your articles, I guess I am not the only one having all the enjoyment here! keep up the good work... asana water bottles

  12. In pretty much every injury case, the property manager has been remembered for the fault for the occurrence. In a portion of those cases not really set in stone that the inhabitants had manhandled and abused the gear making their own risky condition. silk bed sheets

  13. Writing with style and getting good compliments on the article is quite hard, to be honest.But you've done it so calmly and with so cool feeling and you've nailed the job. This article is possessed with style and I am giving good compliment. Best!

    You'd love to read this article about "6 Black Women CEOs That Are Building Their Own Multi-Million Dollar Companies".

  14. If you are about to purchase an ice machine there's something very important you need to know before you make a purchase, which I'll explain fully in this article. ice tube machine

  15. I am thankful for the article post. Much obliged.
    door access system

  16. It has been known to hold therapeutic properties. This water typically contains normal air pockets. It is frequently siphoned and packaged by makers straightforwardly from a pipeline to the assembling office Can You Drink Sparkling Water with Invisalign. It could be high in other certain minerals including potassium.

  17. This is such a great resource that you are providing and you give it away for free. I love seeing blog that understand the value. Im glad to have found this post as its such an interesting one! I am always on the lookout for quality posts and articles so i suppose im lucky to have found this! I hope you will be adding more in the future... Water Damage

  18. I haven’t any word to appreciate this post.....Really i am impressed from this post....the person who create this post it was a great human..thanks for shared this with us.

  19. You might be imagining that channels and downpour drains are not something that you would consider as a waterproofing cycle. EC Foundations

  20. Water restoration professionals use specialized techniques to salvage and restore water-damaged belongings. water damage restoration

  21. Instant hot showers are a luxury I can't live without, thanks to my water heater. water heater replacement raleigh, NC