Volunteer Helen Hawkings' Diary: What I see in Haiti (Jan. 17)

By Helen Hawkings
0 CommentsPrint E-mail China.org.cn, January 20, 2010
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Sunday 17th January

Helen Hawkings

Something that you can be sure about here is that your day will not go as you expect it to. After all the complications that we were dealing with yesterday, today we had planned a problem free day. It was an important day for us. We wanted to have the two bladders that we installed yesterday and the three that the teams prepared today full of water so that we could distribute 100, 000 litres of drinking water to people who really need it.

I arrived at the golf course at midday. The truck containing 5, 000 litres of water was filling the water storage container that we had constructed. After a quick final leak fix things were looking good, and we were ready to go. Our first recipient was a young boy looking slightly overwhelmed clutching a small white water container, which he quickly filled. Soon the people who had waited patiently in the queue were receiving fresh drinking water. It feels great when we can see our work is making an impact. I had ordered 10 more lorry loads of water to go to the sites we were working in. Our national WASH team had set up committees to manage each water point. We waited and waited for the trucks to come with the water. No one came. Drinking water is not the only scarce liquid in high demand. There is also an acute shortage of petrol. The water company was unable to come and distribute the water, of which they had plenty, because their lorries did not have enough petrol. I had to relay this hugely disappointing information to the committees and to the people waiting to receive water who took the news well considering the situation.

The number of people staying with us has risen from just the four of us on Tuesday night, to a respectable 21. Today Oxfam staff arrived from the Dominican Republic, England and Mexico. Together we will be able to achieve great things. In the meantime we have to cope with not having a functioning flushing toilet, no cooking facilities and a limited water supply. This makes entertaining at home a more creative challenge!

Tomorrow is a new day that I hope will be problem free and full of 100, 000 litres of fresh drinking water!

Helen Hawkings is an Oxfam public health promoter in Haiti.

Volunteer Helen Hawkings' Diary:

January 16

January 15

January 14

January 13

January 12

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