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Sunday, February 24, 2013

Chinchiron: a Party That Started In Edmonton and Ended in A Haitian Village

Roughly a year ago, a group of very fine people in Edmonton threw a party. Their aim was to raise enough funds for a village in Haiti. The village, Chinchiron, was a place where 500 families were suffering water-borne diseases and fatalities constantly - one of the many crushing burdens chronic poverty had conferred to them.

We’re happy to report that our Edmontonian friends—who included Margaret McPhedran, Gregg Oldring, Kate Duffield Somerville, and Beth Duffield—were resoundingly successful, and as a result, the people of Chinchiron are getting their first taste of success.

Chinchiron’s water reservoir and rainwater catchment system has been completed. Construction was hampered at many points by poor weather, including typhoons, but thanks to the hard work of community members who contributed voluntary labour, the system was made in time to be filled with water when heavy seasonal rain falls in the next few weeks. This system captures rainwater off of the community grain storage silo, feeds it via gutters to a sloped reservoir, and directs it to gravity-fed taps. In total, the reservoir will hold 150,000 liters of water.

The families are anticipating the filling of the reservoir with great excitement and gratitude. All 3,000 of them will have access to enough water for irrigating gardens, bathing, washing clothing, and drinking/cooking (after it is boiled or treated). Families in Chinchiron have formed a committee to manage the new water resource and ensure that everyone has fair access to the water.

We have nothing but gratitude and respect for the friends who initiated this. Their idea was simple: let’s have a party and let’s celebrate our capacity to give at the same time. The notion that so many people have had their lives saved and transformed by an act of simply having fun is inspiring. Thank you.

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