Friday, May 7, 2010
Cite Soliel is the poorest slum in Haiti. It is actually a section of Port au Prince. Today I got to deliver water to a small part of Cite Soliel. I went with Fanfan who is friends with the guy that runs the organization Healing Haiti based in Minnesota. The organization pays to have clean water delivered to Cite Soliel 6 days per week all year. The water is used for bathing, toilets, cleaning, washing clothes, and cooking. We went to the well around 930am there is a pipe coming out of the ground that goes over the road and has two spouts where the water is delivered to the trucks. An endless line of water trucks were there when we got there, the trucks are lined up the entire day waiting for their turn to fill up with water. One truck will pack under the spout and the water starts spewing out, it actually never stops spewing out the truck drives under it while its pouring out then backs up to line up the whole of the tank with the falling water. It was quite a system. When water begins overflowing out of the tank the trucks behind honk like madmen and the truck moves along water spilling everywhere it was quite fun to watch. After getting some breakfast around the corner and waiting for an hour and a bit our trunk came from a previous delivery. We got in the truck and waited about 45mins for our turn to fill up. After we filled up we slowly and precariously drove away trying not to spill any water. We drove to Cite Soliel to the zone we were delivering and people began to line up with their buckets. When I got out of the truck all the kids starting yelling photo photo! So I took some pictures and we got to work. They handed me a hose coming out of the back of the truck and the water starting spewing out full blast. Fanfan would stand in front of me lining up the next bucket and I would fill it up and so on for about an hour. As you can imagine everyone wants to get some of the free water before the truck runs out and so there was one fight that started from a guy butting in line and a lot of pushing and slapping from people shoving their buckets under the hose and trying to run. After an hour the water trickled to a stop and there were still at least 30 people in line. It felt pretty bad having to leave but the truck comes back to that same section at least once per week. Cite Soliel was basically a bunch of concrete shacks with tin roofs no one has electricity no one has toilets no one has garbage bins as you can guess there is no clean water other than what is delivered. It was one of the poorest places I've ever seen. We drove over a river that was now a river of garbage literally. One one side of the bridge there was black stagnant water and on the other there was no water just garbage filling the river bank as far as you could see. I have never seen anything like it, I don't know how they are supposed to fix a sanitation problem at this scale as it would cost a fortune to have all this garbage removed and they would just have to move it to another location. It was incredible to see that the kids are still running around smiling and having fun despite the conditions they are forced to live in, it really gives you a perspective on your life and how we in the developed world really have nothing at all to complain about.