Posted on October 1st, 2012

The following is an article taken from the website of St. John the Baptist Church in Silver Springs, MD and was authored by Tony Maurelli.

Clean water is a basic human right. In addition to being the single biggest cause of intestinal infection and disease in developing countries, poor quality drinking water is the single biggest source of chronic infection, leading to malabsorption, which in turn leads to malnutrition. Nutrition correlates to cognitive abilities, including the ability to read. Good nutrition therefore heavily contributes to literacy. The lack of available clean drinking water can undermine even the strongest literacy and educational programs. Our program to bring clean water into the homes of Baradères is a natural complement to our on-going support of the schools and the people of the community.

Lamothe Lormier is an extraordinary person. Lamothe is the in-country liaison for Gift of Water, the organization with which we are working to bring clean drinking water to Baradères. He is Haitian, lives in Florida and frequently travels to Haiti to talk to communities like our sister parish in Baradères about clean water and the Gift of Water household water treatment system. During our recent visit to Haiti, Lamothe flew into Port-au-Prince, picked up his Land Rover near the airport and drove six hours to Baradères. A short time after his arrival, about 15 members of the Baradères community gathered in the front yard of the rectory to hear Lamothe talk about clean water. Father Jacques, the pastor of St. Pierre, opened the meeting with a prayer and then introduced Lamothe, who spoke to the community in Creole. Even to someone who does not understand Creole, it becomes immediately apparent that Lamothe speaks with passion.

Lamothe is an evangelist for clean water. He preaches the importance of clean water anywhere a community can gather: dusty courtyards, churches and schools. His sermon is the message of clean water, its importance, and how access to clean water is a fundamental human right. His parables are stories of "the cholera," how it spread in contaminated water, how it killed so many people in Haiti over the past year, how it infiltrated the estuaries of Haiti and how it can emerge from its hiding place with the arrival of the next rainy season.

Lamothe paused as a gentleman in the audience raised his hand to speak. The man told of how he lost his daughter to cholera last year and nearly lost a second infant to the disease.

Two unassuming 5-gallon buckets, one red and one grey, are stacked next to Lamothe. As he continues to address the group, he picks up the red bucket. Now his sermon turns to talk of salvation, of a simple device that can deliver families from the scourge of diseases transmitted by microbes and parasites found in contaminated water. Water from any source is brought to the home and placed in the red bucket. A tablet of pre-dosed chlorine is added and the bucket is covered with its lid. The chlorine kills microbes in the water in the same way that our own drinking water in Silver Spring is treated with chlorine to kill microbes. Thirty minutes later, a second, smaller tablet of chlorine is added to the grey bucket and the red bucket is placed on top of the grey bucket. A valve opens and clean water begins to flow through a nylon filter in the red bucket and down into the grey bucket. The nylon filter removes particles and larger parasites. A second filter inside the grey bucket contains activated charcoal to remove residual chlorine taste, making the water more palatable to drink. The smaller chlorine tablet added to the grey bucket provides residual protection against microbe growth. Clean water comes out of a tap at the bottom of the grey bucket.

Sometime this spring the first Gift of Water units will arrive in Baradères and be distributed according to a priority list of households determined by the local Water Committee. Fr. Jacques along with the people who attended this gathering will help form the committee. These units will be purchased thanks to the generous donations of the St. John the Baptist Community and a grant from the Raskob Foundation. Everyone at the meeting wants to see more units for the community. We raised enough money to start the program. The challenge now is to continue to raise money to provide water purifiers to more and more families in Baradères.

Will the Gift of Water program work? Lamothe Lormier thinks so. He emailed me this comment after his visit with us in Baradères. "Whenever he had a very good day, at the end of that day, Titus always said: ‘Nom Temporem perdidi.’ I did not waste my day! If my trip to Haiti was only to go to Baradères, I would do it again a thousand times if the circumstances allow me to. My time in Baradères was very well spent." My time with Lamothe was also very well spent. After years of planning, we will finally begin the project to provide the gift of clean drinking water to our sisters and brothers in Baradères.

Posted on July 23rd, 2012

On Thrusday, June 21st, the members of St. Alphonsus parish in Zionsville, IN held a community walk to build awareness about struggles for families to find clean water in Haiti and how organizations like, Gift of Water, Inc., can help. 

St. Alphonsus is twinned with St. Anthony of Padua. During the walk, participants received different pieces of information about the children in Haiti.  The cost to participant in the event was $35 per family, with each registration fee helping to provide one water filtration system for one Haitian family.  The event was more than successful, with over $4,000 being raised.

It may be hard to believe but the evening started out with rain and winds!  We have had no rain for a month - but God showed us who is really in control and blessed us with a quick shower and wind to cool things off!!  We were only delayed for about 20-30 minutes and then we proceeded as planned!

The evening started off with prayer, song, skit and a talk from our Pastor Fr. O’Keeffe.  Participants then walked along and path that provided information on the water problems in
Haiti, our sister parish – St. Anthony of Padua, and how we can help – providing water filtration
Systems – the Gift of Water!  Participants were then encouraged to take part in some games that
Haitian children would play and to build the filter that would be place inside the bucket for the filtration  System!

Everyone enjoyed themselves and had a great time!  Most importantly, they learned that they can make a difference in the lives of others!  Prayer and small sacrifices on our part can make a huge difference to others!

Posted on June 28th, 2012

Gift of Water has the great fortune of having an intern - Heather Larkin - working with us for the summer in Haiti.  Below are a few thoughts from Heather, sharing her beginning experiences living and working in Petitie Riviere de Nippes.
I'm a rising senior at Cornell University, studying Molecular and Cell Biology, with minors in Global Health and Africana Studies. One requirement for the Global Health minor is to spend 8 weeks in a foreign country doing work or study related to public health. I was interested in doing a project involved with water purification. After looking at the programs that many organizations offered for volunteers, and the various fees these organizations charged, I wanted to find a program that I didn't feel was looking to exploit students in their desire to go abroad. I contacted the Gift of Water because they did not have a volunteer program set up. I immediately noticed how this organization was full of honest, hard working people who have been so generous in setting up a volunteer program for me. Over the course of this summer, I will be coordinating with the water technicians of Gift of Water to collect demographic data on the homes that the program currently serves. I will also be doing a pilot study on health impact of the water purifiers.

So far I have enjoyed experiencing the culture of Haiti. I have been able to see about 200
homes so far, as well as participate in activities such as the market and church.  Learning Creole has been a rewarding challenge. I am far from being over with learning, but it has helped me to connect with many local people. The people of Petite Riviere have been extremely accepting and supportive as I've entered their community. This experience has been extremely informative about what it is like to live and work in a country that has a such a large amount of poverty. When I look to do work in the future with public health, I will have a much better understanding of the nature of the problems that people in extreme poverty are facing, and will be able to be far more effective in
addressing these issues.

Posted on March 7th, 2011

For those of you in the Indianapolis area, make plans to join the IUPUI Global Health Student Interest Group on April 3 for the Hunger Banquet.

The third annual IUPUI Hunger Banquet will be held on Sunday, April 3rd from 6-8pm in the IUPUI Campus Center, Room 450. The Hunger Banquet is a fundraiser and advocacy event to raise awareness about world hunger. All proceeds of this year's event will benefit the IU-Kenya Orphans and Vulnerable Children's Program and the Tumaini Children's Center in Eldoret, Kenya.

Gift of Water board member Mark Timmons will be there with a display. Stop by to help support a good cause and learn more about how you can get involved with Gift of Water.

Posted on January 28th, 2011

What a great 4 days! We just wrapped our inaugural formal training program for the Gift of Water technicians in Haiti; the first training held in over 3 years. We had a great team of technicians assembled, including 8 seasoned veterans and 3 brand new ones.

Lead by our In Country Liaison (Lamothe Lormier) and 3 master technicians, the 4 day session provided the technicians with education and training on the following topics:

  • The Gift of Water purification system (parts, assembly, repair)
  • Conducting home visits
  • Keeping accurate records (home visits and inventory)
  • Microbiology, bacteriology and parasitology
  • Water & health concerns
  • Hygiene & Sanitation
  • Different purification processes
  • Various diseases, including Typhoid and Malaria
  • Cholera Myths & Facts
  • Facilitating a community meeting
  • Working with community leaders

It was a very interactive environment the entire week. Each technician had to take their turn at assembling, and disassembling, a purification system in front of the team as well as educating a new participating family in the new system. Though everyone struggled a bit initially, it was great to watch the “older” technicians mentor and teach the new ones.

At the culmination of the training event, each technician was tested for comprehension, received a field kit and graduation certificate.

The next training event is scheduled to take place beginning March 28 in Port au Prince. If you have any questions or have technicians in your sister communities you would like to send to future training sessions, please contact Laura Moehling.

by Laura on January 27th, 2011

Karen and I took a break from the technician training and went to a small mountain village – Oriani – to meet with Sr. Mary Ann Cruz, a Philippine physician/nun who runs a small medical clinic. She is the doctor, nurse, pharmacists – all wrapped into one.

I first met Sr. Mary during my trip last April and she was clearly desperate for help. Her village is very remote and she is not twinned with a parish in the States; however, every day she sees the effects of malnutrition and bacteria infested water on the people in her community. We were able to deliver 25 complete systems to Sr. Mary, who will also now add to her list of responsibilities Gift of Water technician!

by Glenn on January 16th, 2011

Yesterday the Gift of Water Board of directors got together for a half day strategic planning session. We brainstormed everything from goals, objectives, budgets, financial goals and fundraising activities. In the spirit of total transparency, I thought I would share with you our goals for the coming year:

  • Become a sef-sustaining business
  • Procure an on-site location in Haiti
  • Build proficiency in training new technicians in Haiti
  • Establish manufacturing operations in Haiti
  • Employ local Haitians where possible
  • Offer short distance shipping in Haiti
  • Achieve "Haitian NGO" status
  • Cultivate deep ties with Parish Twinning Programs of America
  • Swiftly provide access to replacement parts for participating communities
  • Recognized as the authority on water purification and point of use systems
  • Increase awareness of Gift of Water in Haiti
  • Be easy to do business with, whether you are a sponsoring organization, participating community to vendor
  • Develop sustainable implementation and financial models

Want to weigh on in what we should be focused on? We would love to hear from you!!!

Posted on January 7th, 2011

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel (OLMC), a parish located in Carmel, IN, has had a long standing relationship with their sister parish, St. Antoine de Padua in Petite Riviere de Nippes. In late 2007, OLMC assumed responsibility for the Gift of Water program in Petite Riviere; the program had previously been funded and managed by the Visitation Clinic.

In just very short time, the program has blossomed under OLMC's guidance and become the model for implementing and managing GoW in a local community. Mt. Carmel's continues its committment to helping the Haitian people and there is no better evidence of that than yesterday's distribution of 70 new systems to families in area. The availability of these systems is very timely and will certainly prove helpful in fighting cholera in the area.

Posted on December 1st, 2010

Happy to report that our latest shipment of purification systems and parts has safely arrived in Haiti. This is the second shipment made in 2010. Curious to know what was sent down? Here it is:

Shipment 1 arrived in haiti on 6/8/2010
  • 1770 red buckets,grey buckets, red lids and grey lids
  • 3480 string filters
  • 1520 check valves
  • 1720 carbon filters
  • 1800 spigots
  • 1800 barbed fittings
  • 1800 metal washers
  • 10 bags of carbon
  • 1800 bucket labels

Shipment 2 arrived in Haiti on 12/21/2010
  • 1740 red buckets, grey buckets
  • 1140 red lids
  • 1740 grey lids
  • 4000 string filters
  • 2142 check valves
  • 2400 carbon filters
  • 1150 spigots
  • 2100 barbed fittings
  • 3050 metal washers
  • 28 bags of carbon
  • 1800 bucket labels

by Glenn on October 21st, 2010

Happy to report that we received our official status as a 501(c)(3) organization. We filed back in August and just got the final paper work!

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