Mombin Crochu is located in a remote mountainous area in northeastern Haiti, far from the capital.
Our missionaries are working among the poor there, and we have been accompanying them for many years.
Our parish there is called Our Lady of the Nativity (Notre Dame de la Nativite) and it is run by Father Alexandre Kakolo Beya, CICM. Father Alexandre is asking for help with a quality-of-life project that is desperately needed for the people of his parish and its environs: LOCALLY AVAILABLE PURIFIED DRINKING WATER. He wants to purchase and install a water purification system as soon as possible and place it right on the grounds of the main parish church.
The Current Situation in Mombin Crochu
You may ask: Don’t the people in his parish have access to purified drinking water now? Have they been drinking unsafe water?
The answer is simple: the only access that his people have had to purified drinking water has been shipped in from suppliers far from Mombin Crochu. This process has been both costly and cumbersome. The quality of the roads is unbelievably poor, requiring transport by pack animals or motorbikes. This is not only inefficient, but many times deliveries are seriously delayed because of the rains which make transportation either very difficult or impossible.
Lent is a time for self-sacrifice, of course. But the people of this parish have truly sacrificed enough in their struggle to maintain daily access to safe drinking water. Much of the time the people have resorted to drinking water from various headwater sources, but the quality of that water is not always reliable, resulting in high incidences of cholera and typhoid.
Needless to say, the situation has been fraught with increasing frustration, especially with changing weather patterns. Fr. Alexandre has a very simple and straightforward solution: purchase and install a water purifying system so that the local population (about 35,000 persons) can have easy access to it on a daily basis.
He has located a reputable supplier just across the border in the Dominican Republic. Such systems are not yet available in Haiti. Father Alexandre has established good contact with an experienced technician who can install the system once it is delivered. Usually these systems need high quality generators to power them, but, thankfully, a generator will not be needed in this case since the parish has good access to local electric power. This will save thousands of dollars. The system that they plan to purchase can provide up to 4,300 gallons of purified water per day, ample for the local situation.
In the words of Father Alexandre:
“This project is clearly linked to our pastoral and missionary vision which is to improve the conditions of the people of the region surrounding Our Lady of the Nativity and their quality of life.”
Besides the purchase and installation of the purifying system itself, his pastoral plan includes the following elements:
- A parish committee will be established, under the direct supervision of the parish priest, which will oversee the site preparation and installation of the Water Purifying System.
- Meetings will be held where local people will be invited to learn about the importance of the purifying water system and its drinkable water.
- Modest fees will be collected from users who can afford it and this will be used to help defray the cost of maintenance, repairs, and utilities.
How to help Fr. Alexandre and his team
How much will all of this cost? Surprisingly, only $17,600 U.S. including the system itself, the technician’s services, initial utilities, and ground delivery services. Father Alexandre is confident he can raise 15% of this amount from local initiatives and other sources, but he is asking that his friends and co-missionaries in the U.S. do what they can to raise $15,000.
I know we can do this by putting our love, concern, and resources together in one big Lenten sacrificial effort! Do you agree?
What an Easter gift this would be for these isolated people in northeastern Haiti! You and I can easily take water availability for granted here in the U.S. We hardly ever think about water quality, let alone availability. Yet our brothers and sisters in Christ in this “poorest of nations” just southeast of us, struggle with this most basic of needs daily.
Let’s do all we can during Lent to help them celebrate the joy of Easter in this very “down to earth” way. They will definitely experience Jesus’ new resurrected life in such a gift!
I pray we all have a fruitful Lent united in faith, prayer, and action.
Our Lady of the Nativity in Mombin Crochu, Haiti needs our help this Easter. Will you join us is helping to provide a water purifying system to its citizens?