WATER AND FOOD
THE ESSENCE OF LIFE

    Water and food are truly the only indispensable requirements for life regardless of species. This is certainly true for homo-sapiens. We are the descendants of hunter-gatherers and, to a great extent, are still that. We still hunt and gather our food as it exists naturally in nature, cultivate our own fields and grow our livestock, or hunt and gather in grocery stores.

    Water, however, is a different story. Ancient societies built their villages near a water source - a natural spring, a creek or a river. In third world, poor countries, it is still much the same but in industrialized nations we have learned to harness the natural flow of runoff from snowy mountains, rain and melting glaciers. Snow melts and runs off into rivulets and creeks which in turn flow into rivers and then into great lakes or oceans. Some of this melt seeps through the earth and fills the aquifers well below the surface. Rivers are damned to create reservoirs and aquifers are tapped by wells to provide our needs. These pooled resources are then filtered through industrial plants and distributed to our homes for use.

    By and large, poor nations still rely on the natural sources of water, creeks and rivers, for all their water needs be it bathing, washing of clothes, and harvesting in buckets to take home for cooking and drinking. Although these poor societies continue to exist, they do so at risk for the very same waters can be the source of viruses, bacteria, worms, parasites which cause disease in humans.

    Haiti is just such a poor nation and a large portion of the population live in rural areas where they must rely on the possibly contaminated creeks and rivers for their water needs. Thus, the incidence of water borne diseases is much higher than elsewhere. In addition, although once a fairly rich agrarian society that grew sufficient food for its own needs and, indeed, exported some crops (rice). Over the last 80 or so years, this cash crop was undersold by agricultural products imported from elsewhere including the United States. Therefore, rural Haitians have resorted to subsistence farming to feed their families, and occassionally work on community farms for the same purpose. Such farming practices were, and still are, susceptible to the whims of nature. For example, in 2008, Haiti was struck by 4 hurricanes in a row causing massive flooding and erosion - eliminating most of the subsistence and community farms.

    So! What can be done to help provide sufficient potable water and food products. Clearly, the answer is not solely in just importing everything they need but rather helping them by drilling wells, thus tapping the aquifers whose water is essentially potable having been filtered by the earth itself. This is the same thing we do in rural farms and isolated homes in the United States. The Robert Ford Haitian Orphanage and School Foundation is doing just that - funds were donated for the express purpose of drilling these wells at the School & Orphanage, at the Elderly Village, and in the community of Grison-Garde. So far, there is one well at the School/Orphanage and one at the Elderly Village. Twelve others have been drilled in the general community - and many more are planned and will be drilled as funds become available. It costs $3,000/well or $5,000 for two. If one considers the effect on the health of the community, this is a very cheap price to pay.

    Similarly, the Haiti Mission and the Robert Ford Haitian Orphanage and School Foundation have been distributing food to needy families - especially those with children - for some time. However, more food and, especially, technology and land for producing more food locally are needed. The poor have little land and certainly not the means to purchase the land or the mechanized technology necessary - a single hoe in the hands of a poor farmer is insufficient. The Haitian Government and the more wealthy individuals in Haiti must step forward and do their part.

    Fortunately, StopHungerNow, an international organization with the sole mission of providing food and resources to poor nations throughout the world, has stepped forward to help the Grison-Garde community. In April, 2010, 142,000 meal packets (2 meals/packet) were delivered to the School/Orphanage for their use and for distrubition to needy families in the community. It is anticipated that more will come before the end of the year. However, we cannot rely on their generosity forever but must begin to think about how the problem of food production can be solved just as we have partially solved the problem of education, care for orphans and the elderly homeless.

    In July, 2010, a second container carrying 285,000 food packets arrived at the Ford Haitian Orphanage and School in Grison Garde for use in feeding the students and orphans and for distributing to needy families in the Grison Garde community. Again, StopHungerNow (link in paragraph above) was instrumental in providing this tremendous gift to the Haitian people.

    More and larger photos may be viewed by clicking Here.