A Message from Second Presbyterian Member, Claudia Stallings, about her upcoming work with Living Waters of the World in Haiti, a program supported by funds from our Outreach Ministry.
Earlier this year I attended the Clean Water U, the training school of Living Waters for the World in Hopewell, Mississippi. Clean Water U is a five-day simulation experience designed to equip Living Waters of the World mission teams with the skills necessary to form partnerships with communities in need of clean water, install a community-based water treatment system, and equip local leaders to lead ongoing health, hygiene, and spiritual education. With a medical background, I focused on the 102 classes, Health & Hygiene.
Our Presbytery received a Haiti Disaster Relief grant for $50,000 over 5 years ago. Since that time, the money has always been used in partnership with Fondren Presbyterian Church in Jackson Mississippi led by Bill Mendenall to help fund a solar powered living waters system. This trip we are also supported by the Wyoming Presbyterian Church in New Jersey and the Walker Foundation. The grant money has helped with installations in Croix des Bouquet, Les Cayes, Saint Saveur, Savanette, Mayan, and this trip we will install in Cavaillon.
Haiti has around 95 LWW systems and not one of the sites tested has had clean water before our installation. At least 54 of these systems are solar powered. This installation will be from April 28-May 4 at a school/church, Eglise Episcopale Saint Esprit de Anotte. The Presbyterian church has a growing presence in Haiti and most of our projects are with the Episcopal church. There are 192 K-6 students and 85 high school students at the school. Because there is no power available, we will use the techniques taught at Solar Under The Sun to solar power the water system. The well was drilled by an NGO group and is 80 feet deep with a water table guessed to be 15-20 feet.
The electrical needs assessment showed that power is needed for 10 school rooms, 1 light for the water building, and 2 power strips with 6-8 outlets each for cell phone charging. Charging cell phones can be used to help pay for parts of the system that break or need replacing. Eventually we hope that the systems will be self-sustaining. Churches are in covenant with the school/community for two years and pay for the worker’s $57 per month salary. We will not be in covenant with this school nor have we been in covenant with any of the above listed schools.
There is a local green company that we pay to install the solar panels and bring the wiring to the water building. Each school/community must build a water building to house the system and bottles to carry clean water back to homes or schools. Our money is used to pay for the water building, the system with solar power, and 5 gallon water bottles. Water is delivered to homes of the disabled or elderly.
While I am in Les Cayes Haiti, Megan Rubio will be at Ferncliff being trained as a 102 technical installer at the Solar Under The Sun school. While she is there, she hopes to find a team that needs technical assistance so that she can quickly put her new skills to use. Later this year, we hope to train at Clean Water U as installers. I would encourage others who are interested in being on the SUTS committee to contact Lindy Vogado or myself about classes and installation trips.