“If we had water when I was a child, we would be teachers, we would be doctors. I’m 67 years old, and when my children were growing up, we didn’t have water or lights. One of them is a customs officer, one works for the government, the other one is in school in America. So they learned. But we had it hard you know? Now that we have water, the one thing our grandchildren have to do is learn.” Marceline Moise
NEW WATER SYSTEM
In Petite Savanne, high in the mountains, in an area known for producing bay oil, houses perch on the hillsides. A line of washing hangs under a house, out of the rain. Agnes Jolie and Joan Auguiste, two women from the Village Council, walk slowly uphill. It is raining and steep but they keep going.
“It all began when residents of this area started speaking out. They were staying days without water. They were experiencing breakage in the pipes. And those living higher up had never had water in their homes.”
“Sometimes you get up 2 o’clock in the morning, collect water in buckets or drums, but by the time it’s 6 o’clock the water is used up. So we had to go down to the river to wash our clothes or bathe, to collect water to drink. And insects, pieces of pipes, all of those things were in the water…. And it was much worse for the people who live higher up. Residents with aged people, it was burdensome for them too, because they had to carry water on their heads, to go to their homes, especially if someone was bedridden and you had to carry water to take care of them. It was really stressful.”
Changing lives, expanding potential
“So then we as a Council decided to write a proposal to BNTF. When the consultants came, we had a community meeting. Residents pointed out that just replacing the water tank and the pipes leading to it would not solve the problem. We had a water system of well over 30 years. So our concerns were taken into consideration. The proposal for a $270,000 project became a $1.3 million project to redo the entire water system and connect all the homes in the village. Now we can wash our clothes, use our bathrooms, scrub out our homes.”
Ignatis Francis and Marceline Moise are longtime friends and neighbours from the area up the mountain that never had a supply of running water. The new water system has changed their lives, and expanded the potential of generations to come.
“Before, when they wake up in the morning, our children had to take their little calabash or bottle to the river and bathe. And then fill their little container, so that when they come back from school, we can use that water to cook for them. Our children had to bathe in basin because we had no water, no pipes. When it comes to school now, they are late! Always late. Then at 3o’clock, after school, they still had to make about two trips for water again. Sometimes they had to wash their uniforms in that little water. Now we have the water inside our home. Our children have all the time to do their studies and all that they need to do.”
“Things wasn’t looking bright with us, but we have the water now.”