COVID is challenging all of us. Whether we have been sick or known someone who was sick, lost a job, lost a business, felt alone, or maybe felt heard in new ways, discovered online support groups, gotten creative, or carried on “normally” but with new restrictions—we have all felt the effects. Haiti has also been feeling the impacts of COVID-19. For a country and a culture that is rooted in face-to-face connection, it has been difficult for many communities to meet their own needs. On top of COVID, the inability of many families to access clean water for hand-washing and drinking is continuing to harm the health of these families. In addition, access to medical care and changes in transportation options have presented new challenges for numerous communities. At Poured Out, we have been struggling with how to move forward with our work in the communities we’ve built such deep connections with.
Since March, our American staff members have not been able to travel to Haiti due to travel restrictions and the risk of carrying the virus to Haiti ourselves. We have relied solely on our Haitian staff to complete the hard work of Water House maintenance, filter installations and follow ups, scouting new areas, and meeting the unprecedented needs that COVID has presented to the Torbeck community.
Over the past two years, we’ve been working as an organization to shift the day-to-day management and implementation of our water projects to Poured Out’s Haitian staff. Political unrest, in addition to COVID-19, has severely restricted our ability to involve international volunteers in our water programs. Despite all of these challenges, our staff in Haiti have sincerely risen to the challenge of running Poured Out in Haiti – we’ve witnessed them take incredible ownership and pride over serving their communities.
Initially, Josly, Bebe, Junnot, Chelo, and Venel wanted to meet the needs of their community during COVID, so we began building buckets with spigots for handwashing. Ultimately, we were able to deliver handwashing stations, soap, and chlorine to 180+ families in the Tiverny area. Our staff translated educational materials about COVID-19 and mask-making instructions into Haitian Creole for distribution alongside the handwashing stations. Further, they maintained all of our Water Houses in the Torbeck area and have restarted Biofilter installations to continue bringing clean water to new families!
Although the challenges of COVID have been immense, we are extremely proud of the progress Poured Out is making in Haiti right this moment. We are confident that Poured Out’s future is in good hands with our well-rounded and ultra-competent Water Technicians and support team.
With all of that said, we owe all of you supporters a big thank you! Your donations to our Facebook fundraiser and your purchases of our latest T-shirt ($1,040 cumulatively) allowed us to make a modest, but meaningful, dent in COVID-19 prevention throughout the Tiverny community. We know that right now is a challenging time to be donating your precious resources to a need that is calling from across our borders, but you chipped in piece-by-piece and together we were able to create a life-giving program out of it! That’s what Poured Out is all about!
As we look back at the first half of 2020, there’s been no shortage of challenges for our Poured Out team, but we’ve pivoted, pushed forward, and continue to expand our programs in both Haiti and the U.S. – we’re ready for whatever else 2020 is going to throw at us. If you want to stay up-to-date on our programs and operations, follow us on social media; If you want to support our work directly, you can donate right here on our website or by mailing your contribution to P.O. Box 127, Willis, MI 48191.
We’ll be back soon with an exciting and interactive way for you to get involved directly with Poured Out! Stay tuned!