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Mentioning the Unmentionable

May 9, 2011

I have seen what money can do to people.  I have at times been disgusted at what I have allowed it to do to me.  I have seen people sacrifice their lives and their sanity to get it.   I have seen people betray others and compromise their own integrity for it.  I have seen people put it before relationships.  People fight over it, die for it.  I could go on but my purpose here is not to preach a sermon.

Just what is this rant about?  It comes down to the fact that I truly despise dealing with people about money.  I value relationships more than anything and it is my experience that as often as not, as soon as money enters the equation, things tend to go south.  And now I find myself in a position where it is necessary for me to talk to you about money.  Sometimes life sucks.

Chris, Leslie and I are in total agreement on what the focus of our work here is.  Clearly it is about saving lives.  Every time we put a filter in a home ten people on average have a source of safe drinking water.  We can never know if lives are indeed saved by each filter we install, but we know lives have been and continue to be saved through our efforts.

One of the key things that attracted me personally to Clean Water for Haiti was that biosand filters are a solution that fits this country.  They can be manufactured locally using local workers, they are low-tech and require no maintenance under most conditions, and they are very low cost and cost nothing to operate.  There are many ways to provide safe water, but to my knowledge none of the others can do the job as cost-effectively.  Many of you have seen me do the math before:  a $50 filter provides water for an average of 10 people over a life expectancy of 25 years.  That’s just 20¢ per person per year.

Conditions in Haiti are improving slowly, but there is still a very, very long way to go.  The challenges are enormous.  Everything that has been done since last year’s earthquake probably hasn’t made any statistical change in the number of people here who have no reliable access to safe water.  The same is probably true of those who have no access at all.  And we move into the rainy season cholera will probably return with a vengeance.

The demand for filters in constantly increasing.  Recent improvements to the road system here are making areas that were once beyond our reach easily accessible.  We would love to be able to meet that demand.  But it is only with the help of our donors that the work of Clean Water possible.  Without them we can do nothing.

However, due to a decline in donations, Clean Water for Haiti now finds itself in a position where money is going out much faster than it is coming in.  Donations from Canada have been most affected.  For a time there was no way to make receiptable contributions to operations in Haiti from Canada and undoubtedly that has been a factor.  However, an interim solution is now in place and a more permanent one is in the works.

We understand that donors’ circumstances change and that sometimes they are not able to continue their support for us.  We also know there is an ever-growing list of needs presented to you.  We appreciate that for some the current economic climate is not the best.  I’m sure many are waiting with bated breath to see how Canada’s first majority government in years will assail their wallets.

We here in Haiti are also waiting to see what the new president will do.  Things are changing and some of those changes have resulted in new and unexpected costs.  Pension plans and medical insurance for our Haitian employees have been mandated.  Our new delivery truck is in awaiting exploratory surgery to its transmission to determine whether it requires a transplant.  Whatever the diagnosis it will inevitably result in a whopping bill.   Our funding shortfall is taking its toll.  It has come to the point that unless there is a turnaround, our operations will have to be scaled back.

So if any of you, individually or collectively, can help us in any way, we would greatly appreciate it.  Pray for us and the work here.   Tell others about this blog, about Chris and Leslie’s, about Clean Water for Haiti’s website.  Get them interested, even excited.  And if there is any way you could see your way clear to helping us financially, God bless you.  And if you can’t, God bless you all the same.

For details of how to donate, click on “Donations” just below the title banner of this blog.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Geri permalink
    May 12, 2011 4:19 am

    A good post Barry. A hard one but a good one. ” Go make a difference”

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