WHY HAITI? Because HANWASH sees a better future


This article appeared in the April HANWASH newsletter and was authored by Sheila Bell, Rotary District 7020. Sheila is a member of the Rotary Club of Nassau, Bahamas


For most people over the past months, much of what they read and see about Haiti are images on TV of gang violence, tires burning, and panicked people.

 It is sometimes difficult to see past the negative; it’s easy to think Haiti is a lost cause.

The HANWASH team, composed of Haitian people and folks across the Caribbean, the US, and Canada working in solidarity, believes there is a great reason for hope.

 Let’s start by looking outside the confines of what Port au Prince is today and seeing what defines the essence of Haiti and what has entranced artists, poets, and travelers over the years.

Haiti throbs with creativity, from its music to the art on every corner, even to the buses (Taptaps) covered in vibrant, glowing designs. Every major road is lined with paintings, pottery, metal art, baskets, and more. For a traveler new to the country, the whirlwind of colours and sounds assaults the senses like nowhere else.

History is also everywhere: remnants of colonial-style buildings around the capital, adorned inside with marble staircases and statues; echoes of Toussaint Louverture, who helped transform a fledgling slave rebellion – the only successful one in history – into a revolutionary movement; the famous Nèg Mawon statue of an escaped slave in Port-au-Prince, which pays tribute to the slave armies who rose against their French oppressors during the Haitian revolution, which ended in 1804; Henri Christophe in northern Haiti, who built the amazing La Citadelle, a fort which can still be visited on horseback today.

So why is HANWASH and its amazing volunteers so motivated to help?  It’s the amazing people in Haiti and their equally amazing country, not only the crowded city but also the mountains and villages. They have overcome slavery, earthquakes and hurricanes, this too will pass.

HANWASH is doing all it can to help by eventually providing potable water to the entire country, improving health and sanitation, helping to boost the economy, and creating a better quality of life overall.

Haiti is a land of resilient and welcoming people, living in cities, and on mountain sides and in rural villages. They have overcome slavery, earthquakes, and hurricanes, and this current crisis too will pass.

So, the next time you see a negative story about Haiti, think instead about the inspiring story of HANWASH volunteers!

You can help! Donate to this audacious goal today and help HANWASH in its work with Haitian heroes to eventually provide potable water to the entire country—improving health and sanitation, helping to boost the economy, and creating an overall better quality of life.