Monday, February 18, 2008

Haiti Well Water and Vehicle Purchase Update

Hello everyone,

In December, 2007, our well water was tested by a drinking water and wastewater expert from the U.S., who reports in part:
The test results indicate that the groundwater supply has been compromised by the raw sewage that runs in the streets. This is evident in the elevated nitrate levels; typically groundwater nitrate levels are below 5 mg/l. Nitrate is present in human urine at high concentrations.

Additionally, the presence of heterotrophic bacteria, coliform and particularly, fecal coliform, suggests the water is contaminated by human waste. Of all the wells tested during the assessment, the Starthrower well had the highest nitrate levels. This water quality typically harbors a number of waterborne diseases including typhoid. This well has also very high hardness and alkalinity levels which can scale and clog fixtures.

Presently, [Sharon] would like to supply the 60 children in her program with 2 gallons of water, 2 days per week in cleaned and disinfected jugs (240 gallons per week). Long term, this quantity could be increased to 2 gallons daily for the 60 children (840 gallons per week). In addition, the supply of the centre for normal water usage (drinking, cooking, bathing) at the home is estimated to be 200 gallons per day or 1,600 gallons per week.

The total estimated water demand is 1,840 gallons per week currently. The future demand is expected to increase to 2,440 gallons per week. Based on the well yield of 5 gallons per minutes, there is sufficient capacity to meet the needs of the centre. Quality : The treatment facilities will be designed to modify the water to US drinking water standards.
Currently we are spending about $10. US ($60 H) per day on potable water, and distributing about 25 gallons per day, a gallon at at time, to our young people. This is a relatively new project we began on January 1, 2008, so it's too recent to assess the impact as yet.

Thank you to everyone who is working on obtaining clean, safe drinking water for us and these young people.

Buying Used Cars in Haiti:

Last week, a neighbour (lawyer/policeman/used car salesman) came knocking with 2 vehicles for sale. It seems that buying a used vehiclein Haiti is a faster way to purchase, as it entails no trips to Port-au-Prince on what the UN troops call 'the road to hell'. We made an appointment for him to show us the vehicles for Friday at noon. He showed up instead at 7 a .m., saying he had to travel to Gonaive, but he was leaving one vehicle for us to inspect. He said it needed gas and that it has a flat tire. When Jack and Jud arrived at noon, we three took it to a gas station, then waited in line for 2 hours for a gallon of gas ($40 Haitian, or $6 USD). (Diesel is the cheaper way to go.)

We proceeded to the Boss Mechanic that Jud has used for 12 years, who is very well known and very well respected. He checked the car over thoroughly and pronounced it "gate" (very close to garbage): Suspension gone, undercarriage not salvageable, engine in need of a rebuild.

Jud phoned Saturday, saying he had found a much better vehicle. As I had been in town standing in line at the bank, then traipsing from pharmacy to pharmacy trying to fill prescriptions for 3 kids, I let Jack and Jud do the 2 hour line up for gas and the garage run to check out this second vehicle. Again, Boss-la said 'No way'. He is now going to look a used vehicle for us, so rather than one new vehicle we will go with 2 good used ones. It makes more sense, as we often send out several taxis in different directions.


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