Pak nan Ginen has been growing slowly but surely over the past three years. It has gone from a dusty, bare quarter-hectare of land to a full hectare of land with over five hundred trees, a community meeting space,a tree nursery, a community latrine, and a soccer pitch. However, the factor always limiting our growth has been a lack of water: an early hand-dug well went dry after repeated droughts hit St Raphael (and Haiti in general). Over the past few years, rainy seasons have become more erratic, likely a combined result of local pressures (namely deforestation) and global ones (climate change). Our local agronomist had to put our tree nursery on hiatus due to lack of access to water - every bucket had to be hauled from the nearest well, which was a thirty minute walk away.
So in mid-2015, Robi and Sabina began a process to raise funds to drill a well on site. After nearly a year of reaching out to like-minded individuals and writing proposals, we had raised the nearly $9000 necessary for the work. Our generous donors include: the Wishing Wells Society, the Pollination Project, the Engles family, Adam Siegel, The McKenna School of Leadership, the Carlson-Lepidus family, Lindsey Leigh, Christophe Robillard, and Ashton Rohmer.
We engaged a local company based in the neighboring town of Pignon, Service d'Eau Potable, to drill the well. After about 14 days of work, we found water at 181 feet and installed a hand pump for the service of both the park and local families.
This has already had a large impact on our community in just the first week since water began to flow from the pump:
1) our local agronomist has re-opened and grown our tree nursery, allowing us to grow and distribute many more tree saplings to the community
2) we have been able to plant more and different kinds of trees in the park (including certain kinds of fruit trees)
3) over 193 of our neighbors have begun to get their daily water from our well
4) because of their gratitude for bringing water closer to home, a handful of our fellow community members have begun to volunteer for the park
The greatest appreciation seemed to come from local children: in rural Haiti, it is often children (sometimes as young as five or six) who have to fetch water. In Rakblez, the nearest well was about an hour roundtrip by foot, and that could become even more challenging when the road is muddy or flooded. When the water came out of the spout, the first thing we heard was a group of local eight- and nine-year-olds saying, "the water is here!". Bringing the water closer to home gives them more time to study and to play.
The changes to the park will be profound, and we will continue to study its effects and reinforce its reach. Thank you to everyone who contributed to help us make this vision into a reality...