7 May 2013
So the rains continue to come very nicely, we got 1 1/4" over the weekend--mostly in the early morning hours. The gardens that we've seen are looking very nice. It sure looks like we are on the way to a bumper crop of mangoes for the area as well. Please pray that the rains continue.
We were putting up some grain guttering for a family and they had some good helpers. They thought Dan was pretty entertaining and goofy--I don't understand.
13 April 2013
We are not currently building new cisterns. However, there are several cisterns in the area that are sound but have serious problems with the rain guttering and piping so the rain does not have a way to get to the cistern. We are helping folks get the needed repairs so that they can get the benefit of the current rains we are getting. If they can afford it, we let them cover the costs of some of the materials. This accomplishes a few things:
1. They are involved in their own well being.
2. They are not apt to ask us to do repairs on a cistern that they are not sure holds water if they will be out money for the repairs.
3. It helps us be able to repair more cisterns.
The photos below show a house on which we repaired the guttering and replaced pipe this week. We made extensive repairs to the the guttering on the back of the house and replaced the brackets. All of the pipe needed to be replaced. This house has a round cistern, which is mostly below ground and has an approximately 3000 gallon capacity. There are several of these in the area. Some are no longer sound, most have problems with guttering and piping.
2 April 2013
In March we finished a project that involved the construction of 56 cisterns. As a reminder, the cisterns we build are designed and built for families. We have a 4-man crew who takes responsibility for all the day-to-day construction. We also require a significant amount of investment from the recipient families. It costs us $600 US for our part of the construction, the family receiving the cistern has a (relatively) small financial and a (very) large labor investment.
To give an idea of the impact this project has, here are some figures:
- Each cistern holds approximately 1400 gallons of water (189 cubic feet X 7.48)
- The average house we build a cistern at is 19 feet wide and 30(ish) feet long = 570 square feet.
- The cistern is 47.25 square feet inside, meaning that every inch of rain on the roof puts a foot of water in the cistern (570/47.25=12); 4 inches equals a full cistern or 1400 gallons.
- Based on a conservative estimate of 12-inch annual rainfall, each cistern will yield 4200 gallons.
- Multiply that times the 56 cisterns we built since October and you get 235,200 gallons.
- We have built 384 cisterns since we began in 2001, which represents 1,604,400 gallons of safe water in folk's yards annually.
That's a lot. That changes family's lives.
Here's the best part. After the family's cistern is completed, one of our men, Asillio, goes back to them and presents them with a Holy Bible, in Creole. He shares the plan of salvation as he feels led. Always as he presents each family with a Bible, he tells them that they received a (rainwater) cistern that will help quench their physical thirst, there will be times during prolonged dry periods that the (rainwater) cistern may go dry. In contrast, by receiving a Bible, they are getting access to the Source of spiritual refreshment that will always be there when they come to drink (Jn 4:13&14). Asillio thought of that, we love that guy.
So, it is indeed good news that progress is being made and the progress allows us to share the Good News with some of the poorest folks on the planet. We hope to build a similar amount of cisterns in coming months. We hope you get a vision to partner with us, it truly does change family's lives. $600 completes a cistern, any amount helps. It is hard, gratifying work. To God be all the glory for allowing us to be a part of His plan.
23 March 2013
So I am not sure who decided to make March 22 World Water Day but if it helps bring awareness to ways we can address this fixable issue, I think it must be a good idea.
It just so happened that on March 22 we poured the tops on the last two cisterns of the current bunch. From beginning in late October, we were able to build 56. Added to the other 26 we were able to build in 2012, we have been able to build 82 cisterns in the last 13 months. To God be the glory. That is over 110,000 gallons of holding capacity and over 300,000 gallons of water made available in a year (that is conservatively based on 12 inches of rainfall). Thanks to all who helped. You can change a family's life for $600.
2 November 2012
So I have been involved in the cistern project for a long time now. Being here full time gives the opportunity for hands-on involvement every day. It really is a great privilege to be out there with our capable crew and the folks in the area who all work well together to get the job done. Getting a cistern is such a life enhancing thing for these folks. Their gratitude is sometimes embarrassing to me but it always gives the opportunity to give Jesus the glory. I am living on the edge a bit in that the folks who prepare the food for the workers and community are always encouraging me to partake as well and so I decided to join in (I still carry my own water). We spend several hours at each house during construction, giving me many photo ops. I hope you enjoy the pictures half as much as I enjoy taking them and they enjoy having them taken.
Click on thumbnail images to view larger images / slideshow.
2 July 2012
Here are some photos of the home and cook house of an older couple who we were able to help by installing some rain guttering and getting them a barrel. They were so meek and appreciative.
13 June 2012
It has been our practice to return to the homes of the folks who receive a cistern from us after the cistern is completed and give them a Bible and share Christ with them. Some personnel changes in our crew have made us able to put forth one of our workers, Oscillio, who is also a preacher, as the spokesman for us in this portion of the work. Oscillio has shown himself to be a man of integrity and faith.
He initially went and delivered New Testaments to the folks who we have been able to build cisterns for this year, numbering 25. This about depleted our supply. By Providence we were able to purchase several copies of the whole Bible in Creole for $5 each. Oscillio brought to our attention that several of the folks who got cisterns last year did not get a Bible because of an oversight among our personnel, an oversight we were eager to fix. He went yesterday with 2 dozen Bibles to begin what we believe is the most important part of the cistern project. While filling the great need the folks have for water this is a vehicle to share with them the Living Water that satisfies and gives unswerving hope.
We are convinced that the best person to share Christ with Haitians is a Haitian. We are privileged to show His love and humbly try to model the life He calls us to but when the Gospel is shared from a peer, the person hearing it can have no ulterior motive or skewed agenda for listening and responding. Were we as representatives of the mission to share this good news it is likely that folks would respond with the hope of some further earthly blessing (such as the cistern they have received). A feigned profession of faith is, we believe, worse than none. We have been blessed by God to be facilitators in this.
Please pray for Oscillio, the folks he is witnessing to and this ministry as we seek to expand. We have some exciting additions to share in the coming months.
- Dan (3 June)
7 May 2012
So we had just a really cool day today (May 1). My partner in crime, Austrel and I went to do some repair work on a cistern. It is the only one we have built that has any structural damage, which the folks there say is from the earthquake. After repairing it, we went on a hunt for some little houses, too little to justify a cistern. We found a few and made this deal with them: if they come up with a 55 gallon drum, we will put rain guttering on both sides of their house and also give them a drum. They like the idea. It is just best to have them contribute something.
We also checked on some of the cisterns we have built in the past, some of which were 8 or 9 years old. Most had no problems, none had structural problems except the one mentioned above. There are some that need to have the rain guttering tweaked. It poured while we were out. We were on a 4 Wheeler so we got plenty wet; it was great. Oh, and I took a few photos while I was at it.
7 April 2012
So the cistern project is going very well. Some personnel changes have been made and everything is progressing very well. We are averaging 3 cisterns per week. Here are some photos of a part of the process. The guys are bending the steel reinforcement bar (rebar) that goes into every cistern. It is pre-bent on our grounds then the recipient family carries it to their home. The steel is heated using a welder and formed into measured dimensions that will work with our cistern forms. The guys have a system down and can bend it quickly.
Click on thumbnail images to view larger images / slideshow.
Here are some photos of the steel in place before the base is poured. Also, some of the concrete being mixed. All of it is mixed by hand and is a lot of work. After it is poured into the base forms, they rod the concrete off. The young boy in the blue shirt and the old gentleman with a hat were part of a family getting a cistern.