Investing In Life Change

A few weeks ago we had a friend here filming a new video for Clean Water for Haiti. We’re excited about the project, as well as some other things going on in the background here, and while that’s exciting in and of itself, there was something that came out of the whole process that was really special.

Living and working cross-culturally is hard on a good day. Throw in bad days and hard stuff and it can get really hard. Over the years we’ve had the opportunity to walk with our staff through some really hard stuff. I say “opportunity” because as I look back I can see so much character growth in all of us. Things that fused us together as a team. Things that took the shiny outside layers off and left us all a bit raw and licking our wounds at times. But then the healing would settle in and we would move forward.

The time working on the video made me step back and look at how far we’ve come in the past few years. Trust, on both sides of the fence, is a hard thing here even within Haitian relationships. Being the boss in any given situation is hard because of so many cultural things. And, I’m talking about our staff here, not us. It’s hard to be the one telling others what to do and having to say “no” to certain things. Those decisions resonate outside the work place into the community. The lines can be very blurry.

Over the years we’ve made a point of being open with our staff about many of the decisions we make. We want and need them to be part of things here. They need to understand our thought processes, as much as possible, and know what our intentions are. When we were going through some of those hard times, we chose openness and vulnerability. It paved the way for a lot of other things. Mostly, we realized that it let everyone know that we cared enough to tell them everything. We all needed to be on the same page, but it was nothing we could force or control. They all had to make their own decisions based on the information. And, they did. But it’s been a slow process.

This year I feel like we’re sitting in this beautiful place of blessing where God is just showing us what all the hard work has been for. Don’t get me wrong, there is still a lot of hard work happening here! So much hard work. But, we’re also able to see that the hard work has led to something amazing

As Ryan and I spent time filming I had several moments where I got choked up. We, again in the spirit of building a team, always talk to our staff about any fundraising and promotional stuff we’re doing. We want them to be part of it, to be excited about it and to know that we’re not exploiting anyone in what we do. We want any of them to be able to see a video or brochure or post on Facebook and be proud of that. We want them to know who is coming to the mission and why. I think this is especially important when you’re capturing imagery of people that they might not actually have opportunity to see in the setting where it’s used. We want everything we do to be an accurate representation of Clean Water for Haiti, our staff and what they do, and Haiti in general.

It was the little things that caught me off guard.

The week before Ryan arrived Melix came to me and told me they needed to get some new supplies for filter installations and follow up, because they knew we were going to be filming and they wanted to make sure everything was right and like we do it, that no one was lacking tools etc as sometimes happens over time. The day we were filming in the work yard blew me away. Subtle things. Molet wearing a Clean Water for Haiti t-shirt. The guys being very deliberate about how they did things, not because they were worried, but because they were proud. Proud of the work they do here, because they know it’s saving lives.

One day we went out to the new site and pulled a couple of our long term staff for interviews. Both have been here for 10 years and I knew from personal conversations and the years of knowing them that they had stories to tell about life change. What I wasn’t prepared for were the tears that sprung up for me as we sat on stacks of paving stones under the shade of big mango trees and just talked while the camera rolled. The tears came from hearing them put into their own words what working at the mission has done for their lives. It’s given them a job, dignity, and they go to work every day knowing that all their hard work is saving lives. Chris and I talk about that, but to hear them say it makes my heart beat faster.

Often Chris and I are the ones that get the encouragement and praise for what happens here, but there’s a whole crew of people that make it all happen day to day. It’s such a privilege to have the opportunity to lead and guide the mission and to work alongside them each day. To see them come in as people who aren’t even sure what it means to have a full time job, to becoming people who are very skilled and good at what they do. It makes the mama bear in me rise up.

I am so proud of each and every one of them.

As you think about Clean Water for Haiti and what we do here, don’t forget to be praying for our staff on a regular basis. Life in Haiti is hard, but they’re building better lives for themselves and their families because of the work they do here. They’re helping families all over Haiti build better lives by being agents of change in the communities where we work.

When you invest in Clean Water for Haiti you’re investing in life change on so many levels, and that’s an amazing thing to be part of!

~Leslie

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Big News!

Things have been crazy busy around here in the past couple of weeks!

As many of you know, we’ve been slowly starting to build on the new mission site out in Camp Marie. We’ve started work on the work shop (depot in Creole) and staff bathrooms, as well as the work pad. I’m going to try to update regularly and you can follow those updates on here if you’re interested.

We’re really excited that we get to share some big news with you that’s been in the works behind the scenes for several months. Six, actually.

Last summer, after returning from our summer vacation, we received a phone call from someone interested in purchasing the current mission property. We knew that finding a buyer and using the funds from the sale was going to be the best way to develop the new site because it would mean we wouldn’t have to tap into the General fund, which we wanted to see going towards operations and filter production, not construction. Conversations with the interested party moved forward, and after six months of negotiations and writing up agreements we signed a deal!

As of the end of January we have a buyer for the Pierre Payen property!

We were able to arrange a deal that saw half of the purchase price paid up front, and the other half paid at year end. This means we have funding available to start construction on the main residence and office space. This is a key thing as it will mean we’ll be able to move at the end of the year and then finish building the other work yard facilities and guest house/volunteer housing.

So, it’s been full steam ahead around here for the past month! The construction team has been working hard to keep moving on the depot, finishing up the septic system for the main house/office, started the septic system for the staff bathrooms, finished building the roof supports for the work pad, and a lot of other things! The most exciting thing is that they broke ground on the house/office foundation last week. By week end we should see rebar tied in and things ready for cement to be poured.

IMG_3436Breaking ground on the new building!

For me personally, it’s exciting because I’ve been the lead on the design plans for this building. It’s been a labor of love to design a residence and office space that will be really functional over the long term. While our family will be living in it for hopefully many years to come, I’m mindful of the fact that it’s not “our” house, but rather the missions facilities. I wanted to create a space that would not one function well for our family, but also work well for the mission over the long term and allow us room to do many of the things we do now, just better.

We do certain staff activities in our home, so factoring in a team of at least 15 for those times is necessary. Our family aims to reach out to our local missionary and expat community by opening up our homes for meals and fellowship, and it’s become a place where people like to be. We know how hard it is to be here over the long term, and how important those relationships are, so we want to do what we can to build into that body. When we host a Vision Trip week we also eat all of our meals with visitors in our home. For us, it provides a relaxed way to get to know each other and engage in conversation, often centered around people’s questions about Haiti, the filter project and just life in general for us in country.

One of the spaces I think I’m most excited about is the office space. We currently don’t have a separate office area, and never have. The “office” has always been a desk area in some part of our house. Right now it’s in our main living area where everyone is, all the time. There’s limited room, so we have office supplies stored in various places. Peggy is working on our kitchen table during the day so that we can all be in the same space and collaborate on things when needed. It’s not ideal, but we’re making it work. The new site will have a set apart office where we can close a door between the main residence and focus on work, or close it and get away from work. Both are much needed!

As we start to see walls going up I’ll be sure to share pictures with you so you can be part of the journey with us. It really is exciting times for us here in Haiti!

~Leslie

The Blessing Of Extra Hands

Often what makes any organization run well isn’t it’s programs, it’s the people.

We’re very grateful for our Haitian staff and how much they contribute to the day to day running of Clean Water for Haiti. In many cases our staff have been with us for many years. Up until last month our most recently hired staff member was hired 4 years ago. In December we were able to hire 4 new guys, and another two weeks ago when we started up work after our Christmas break. Over the years we’ve seen a lot of skill development, as well as personal development and it’s truly one of the things that we love the most about our job of leading the mission. We get the privilege of learning right alongside our staff.

One person that’s been a huge blessing in recent months is someone that has come alongside the mission, and we’re so grateful for him. Andrew Swick and his wife Kendra, are missionaries who have a heart and calling to help other missions be more effective. They regularly evaluate the needs they see around them and the relationships they have within the missionary community, and volunteer to help where they feel the most led. In early 2014 Andy helped Clean Water for Haiti in a number of ways on smaller projects, and we were thrilled when they returned from their summer break and he told us that he wanted to volunteer 4 days of week to helping us out. He has experience in construction as well as a variety of other things like mechanical, electrical and plumbing type work. I can’t even tell you what a gift this is to us.

One of our big concerns with starting a major development and construction project like the new site demands was how Chris would manage the current filter work, and oversee construction at a completely different property. Andy was the answer!

Because he’d worked with us last year he had developed relationships and a good rapport with our staff. With his experience and knowledge base he was the ideal person to oversee the work there, being able to know what principles needed to be applied to the construction and able to see when things were missed or not going the way they should.

I think the thing that stands out most about Andy is his willingness to really serve. Aside from his work overseeing the construction, which has been amazing, he frequently jumps in to help out with other things as he’s able.

A perfect example of this presented itself a couple weeks ago when our blue Daihatsu truck broke down again. We had only driven it for a few months when the engine blew again. Andy suggested he and Chris tow it to the work site so he could work on it while still overseeing the construction.

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I was out there last week and when I arrived not only did I find the engine of the truck in pieces and laid out on the bed of the truck, I found Andy covered from head to toe in grease.

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The picture really doesn’t show how much grease he had on himself. It was a lot!

My point in all of this is that this is a guy that shows a deep dedication to what he commits himself to. He always does the very best he can on whatever project he’s working on, and the example he sets to those around him about character and integrity is amazing. More than that though, he loves people and is one of the most humble people we know. Recently we were talking about how well our staff have been welcomed into the new community. He told me about a time when he and the guys were going to get lunch and as they walked he felt like he was a part of their “crew” not the other way around as is normal here. I loved that it was something that stood out to him and that he preferred to not be elevated in any way.

We are so very grateful for his partnership with us in ministry and work. He has been such a blessing to us and the workers and we’re excited to see how the rest of the year pans out as we keep building.

~Leslie

Welcome 2015!

This space has been really quiet in the past month or so as we’ve taken much needed time off as a staff for Christmas and New Years. But, we’re back at work and things are moving full speed ahead!

December was a really good month, especially since we did a bunch of filter installations right before we took our two week break. As we’ve started into the new year all of our filter installations in the past two weeks have actually been up in the mountains near Fond Baptiste, an area that is a challenge to get to but one we’re happy to go to. When the guys go up a crew of 3 will take about 20 filters, which is what the truck can carry going up the really rough mountain road. They spend about 3 days up there doing the deliveries and installations. People within the community provide a place for them to sleep, and it’s always encouraging to see how the communities that we go into embrace our staff and do what they can to support them as they bring the filters in.

We’re also currently working in areas of the Artibonite to establish new filter promoters. These promoters play a key role in telling people within their own communities about the filters, taking sign ups, collecting the co-pay and then coordinating with our staff to set up delivery times. These promoters have become a very key part of what we do here.

I think the very most exciting thing that’s going on for us right now, though, is that we’ve finally started construction at the new mission site in Camp Mary (pronounced Kan Marie in Creole)!

Some things are slowly falling into place here in Haiti, and while we can’t share a lot of details just yet, it’s meant that we could go ahead and start construction. Our original plan was to start with the main residence and office space but we’re still working with the engineer on the structural stuff, so we decided to start with the work shop and main filter production work area. These areas don’t need to have the same kind of structural engineering as the two story residence so it’s something we can do in house with questions fired at our engineer as needed.

In December we were able to get the foundation lines dug, place any plumbing and electrical conduit, get the re-bar tied to make the support posts for the work area covering and just basically get everything ready to start pouring concrete come the new year. As we went back to work two weeks ago the construction crew just kicked into high gear and it’s been amazing to see what they’ve accomplished since.

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I think it’s important to mention that all of the construction is being done by hand! We do have the option of getting ready mix in, but after pricing things out and seeing the work time line pan out we decided to do a by-hand foundation for the work area. We may decide to do poured foundations for the residence/office and the future guest house because those buildings will be more load bearing, but we haven’t decided for sure yet.

To do a hand made foundation there needs to be mortar mix that’s right on, which has been something Chris has had to work through with the guys. We started out mixing cement by hand, but after a week decided to buy a cement mixer. Yes, the filters are made with cement, but we don’t actually use a cement mixer in production because our mix is very dry. Having a lot of cement work to do over the next year and a half it just made sense to buy a mixer and we’re already talking about how we can change up how we work to incorporate it into our every day work at the mission. With the mixer we’re able to get consistent results and a more solid product for all aspects of construction, not to mention the time and physical labor being saved, so it’s a very good thing!

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Our new mixer with the mix ratios for mortar and cement written on it as a reminder.

When the guys start working on a section of foundation they dump mortar in the hole, then start throwing sized rocks into the mortar. We buy rocks by the truck full, and if they’re too large they get broken by hand. Yep, with a small sledge hammer.

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After the rocks are the right size they bosses (a term used to identify any professional tradesman) dip the rocks in water then place them in the mortar. We found out the hard way during our test sections that not wetting the rocks first caused the mortar to dry badly and not stick to the rocks. It literally just crumbled. Wetting the rocks slows the curing process as well as helps the mortar to adhere better, giving us a solid foundation.

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Along with getting the foundation done, the guys have been able to get the footers for the support posts poured. This is actually really exciting because it’s something that is going to make the work at the new site so much better than what it is now at our current location.

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At our current mission base the guys work out in the sun for a good part of the day. With the shape of the property and location of the buildings and accessibility to the work yard and things like that we don’t have a covered area where they can work. At the new site we’re very deliberately setting every bit of the work yard to provide covered shade for our staff. The driveway provides enough space for dump trucks to pull in and out without threat of knocking things over, so our plan is to build a 30×60′ work pad connected to the front of the shop with a roof about 15′ high.

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One of the support columns in progress.

The roof will be made from steel supports attached to the top of the support columns, with tin roofing on it. Not only will it provide shade, but it will also mean we can install industrial overhead fans to provide air movement, making the work area more comfortable but also dryer. We work with a lot of water, and any time there is standing water there’s a place for mosquitoes to reproduce and the potential for malaria and other mosquito borne illness. We’ll also have good drainage in place to help with this.

My biggest goal for this year is to be more intentional. More specifically, to be more intentional about carving out writing time to post on the blog so that you can be better informed about mission activities and the progress we’re making in all areas. One thing I’m really excited about is sharing the progress of the new site regularly. My goal is at least one “construction progress” post per month, but I know there will be smatterings of things as things really pick up speed. I think I’m also looking forward to being able to chronicle the process for the missions history “books” because it’s such a pivotal point in our journey as an organization.

Enjoy the photos and let us know what you think!

~Leslie

2014 Gift Of Life Is Here!

GOL 2014 Card Front

It’s that time of year where we all start thinking about the upcoming holiday season and gift giving. Once again Clean Water for Haiti is offering the Gift Of Life as an option for those on your giving list.

How Does It Work?
It’s easy! Just make a minimum donation of $10 (or more – we love more!) and include the name and address of someone on your gift list. We’ll send them a card to let them know you’ve made a donation in their name this holiday season.

Why It Matters
Every year millions of Haitian families struggle with water-borne illness, and even death, because the water they have access to is contaminated. We can help break that cycle by providing access to clean water in their homes through the use of Bio-sand water filters. Each filter costs us about $75 to build, deliver, install and support. Each family that receives a filter invests the equivalent of about $5 US into their filter, giving it value and giving them dignity in knowing they’ve made a choice to better the health and future of their family.

Why It’s Worth It
A recent CDC (Center for Disease Control) found that many options for household water treatment aren’t working well in Haiti – with the exception of Clean Water for Haiti’s Bio-sand filter program. In fact, our program is working so well that the CDC reported that it would be very valuable to find ways for Clean Water for Haiti to get more funding to do what we do because they want to see us doing more of it. We work in a long-term development capacity. Every decision we make is with long term change in mind. We don’t just want to give people clean water right now, we want to give them a tool and the support the need for the long term so real change can happen. When you donate to Clean Water for Haiti you’re helping to support those goals and objectives, and you can do it confidently knowing that your donor dollars are going to go a long way and make a big impact.

Help Us Spread the Word
Share this blog post with friends, family and colleagues to help spread the word about how people can be part of the change here in Haiti. And, in the process people will know they can give a gift that will make a big difference in the lives of many.

To learn more read our info letter through the link below.

GOL 2014 Letter

To donate online use one of the buttons below and include your recipient info in the note section.

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Logo_CanadaHelps

Gift Of Life For Groups:
Do you have a group of people that you think would be interested in participating in the Gift Of Life Campaign? Maybe it’s a group from work, sharing it with your church or service group, or even just a group of friends. Why not start a challenge to see who can raise the most funds until early December? However you want to do it, we can help. Click on the links to download our Gift Of Life Group Fundraising package.

GOL 2014 Letter for Groups

GOL 2014 Tracking Sheet

GOL 2014 Letter

Gift Of Life Sample Card CWH US

GOL 2014 Sample Card CWH Foundation

Thanks for helping us to make a difference this holiday season!

~Leslie

Grateful For Progress

Often people think that working in missions and development has some sort of glamorous side to it, but in reality most of us are kind of weird or quirky and we end up working in this kind of area because we seem to fit, er, rather well around here :) We’re not glamorous or shiny in the least, and are probably kind of awkward. And, the work we tend to focus on in any given day is on the opposite end of the scale from glamorous or exciting.

If you don’t believe me just talk to any missionary and expat and you’ll find that our days are filled with boring things like doing laundry, answering emails, managing awkward cultural situations, and probably feeling really frustrated because we want to be super productive but so many things are pushing against what our normal definition of what that would look like on any given day. 

Case in point, this past week for me.

Now that Peggy is here we can start shifting gears into so many new things, and I’m so excited about that. But, to get to the stage where we can be really productive some groundwork needed to be laid. Peggy and I need to be able to collaborate on a lot of things, which has meant getting new software and figuring out how to link everything and everyone together. 

I am the first to admit that I am not a “tech” person. Anything I’ve learned about computers has been because I’ve hacked my way through it. And Googled things. Looooottts of Googling… 

This past week or so has been nauseating for me. After getting my own new computer set up so that it can handle all the new programs that I need for this new chapter in the life of Leslie Rolling, Admin Director, I set to work on getting Peggy the programs she needed and updating all three of us with the Office 2013 suite. I’ve literally been up to my eyeballs in software downloads and installations. 

In case you’ve missed something around here, I just want to take a minute to remind you that nothing ever seems to go as planned here. If I was installing software back home, it would most likely be pretty straight forward, and if it wasn’t someone would be just a phone call away, or I could always take it to someplace like Staples for help. 

Not here in Haiti. 

In most of these situations the idea of something going smoothly is a far off dream that only the very fortunate are blessed with. Nooooo, in most cases here it’s a carnival for Murphy’s Law. We’re talking bouncy castles, cotton candy, pony rides – the whole shebang. Nope, things will not go easily. There will be gnashing of teeth. There will be tears. There will, most literally, be sweat. And more tears. (Okay, maybe I don’t handle pressure well…)

Can I just say one thing? I am so thankful for those of you that serve as IT people, on behalf of all those people that will probably never ever really truly appreciate all the background things you do. I am thankful because it sucks to be the person who has no idea what they’re doing and having to do it. That amount of things that you know about .exe files and hidden things in computer land… you are amazing.

People, when the last program finally got installed, and it worked, it was like Christmas around here. I was giddy. There were angles singing. 

This might seem silly to focus on, but the reason I’m sharing it is because I want you to know how grateful I am.

I’m grateful for having the possibility of upgrading a bunch of stuff. It was a lot of work all at one time, and we’re not quite through working out the kinks, but the end is near!

I’m SO grateful for those of you that choose to support Clean Water for Haiti with your finances. Yes, funding is always going into building filters, but we need the background operations working to keep everything else working, and your donations help with that too. 

I’m grateful for tools. Just getting by is fine, but eventually we need to step back and ask what we really need to do the job well. Maybe upgrading a tool means the job can be done more efficiently. Maybe it means doing something new that will benefit everything else. Maybe it means being able to better use our time so we can focus on other things that need our attention. Whatever the result, being able to upgrade tools, or even get access to something we might not have been able to before, is a blessing. It doesn’t matter if it’s a shovel, a vehicle, or a computer program – it all makes a big difference in how we serve the Haitian people.

I’m grateful for learning. It would be really easy to just keep doing the same things the same way because that’s safe. So easy. But, that’s not going to make Clean Water for Haiti better or more effective. Being able to learn new things that will change the way we do everything or improve how we do things is a challenge, but it’s a good one that keeps us engaged and excited about this whole thing.

I’m grateful for patient co-workers! Especially when one of them is my husband :) Peggy and Chris have been so encouraging in the past week and a half as I’ve hacked through all of this, and incredibly patient even when I may have been having little melt downs spurned by frustration.

I’m grateful for customer service. Until you live outside of North America or any other developed country where customer service is actually a thing I don’t think you can fully appreciate how amazing it is to be able to send an email to a major software company, expecting zero response, and then get a phone call from a customer service rep that actually knows what they’re doing, and they talk to you for over an hour so that you can be walked through the process and they follow up with everything in written form too. Blown. Away. (Thank you Microsoft!)

I’m grateful for companies that care about non-profits*. Did you know that large software companies like Microsoft, Adobe and Intuit (Quickbooks) have programs where they either give deep discounts to non-profits, or just donate software outright? It’s true. And we’re not talking about the cheap stuff either. In the past month we’ve gotten Photoshop CS6 Extended, Lightroom 5, Acrobat XI Pro, Dreamweaver CS6, 4 copies of Office 2013 Pro, and 3 copies of Quickbooks 2014 Pro. FYI – that’s about $4500 US retail value. We got all of those for either an admin fee (hello Office for $32) or at a deeply discounted price. I kind of feel like we should be running like we stole it, we saved that much. 

I’m feeling really excited and grateful about this new phase of work and ministry here in Haiti because so many good things are happening. Things are growing and developing and we’re getting better at what we do. 

Tomorrow Peggy and I are going on deliveries with our staff, and I’m excited to go and be with the people we’re here to serve. We’ll look forward to sharing more about our day soon!

~Leslie

*Note: For those of you connected to a 501(c)3 non-profit, or who know people who are, definitely check out Tech Soup, as well as businesses like Tech Crawl. Tech Soup is a non-profit that exists to provide other non-profits access to the millions of dollars worth of free, donated software and resources. For nothing more than an admin fee (ex. $32 for one Office 2013 Pro license) you get access to amazing software. Businesses like Tech Crawl act as a distributor for deeply discounted non-profit licenses. No kickback from either of these, just a very happy receiver of the benefits they offer. 

 

New Adventures & Feeling Encouraged

It’s been a really long time since we’ve posted anything in this space. I apologize for that. Too much going on and not enough hands.

But, that’s all about to change, and we’re so excited!

For the whole life of Clean Water for Haiti Chris has relied on volunteers to come in and help. I was the first person that was able to commit for an indefinite period of time, and for more than a year. The fact that he married me kind of sealed the deal ;)

Since then we’ve had a few volunteers here for about a year at a time, but nothing more than that. Last year after Ryan left us to go back to school and work we stepped back and assessed our needs in regards to volunteers. What things needed to be done? Where were the holes in our overall picture? 

Typically in the past we’d had volunteers come to work with our filter program. It was what most people wanted to be doing because they could learn what we did and have a hands on role. The problem is that over the years our staff have been fully trained and are now really good at running all aspects of what we do, and we don’t really need a lot of outside help. It’s a good  great problem to have when you’re focussing on development. We want it to be that way. So, volunteers have come, and they’ve been a big help, but we don’t need people to be out building filters. Does that make sense? 

After a good discussion and really looking things we realized that our needs were really more in the area of leadership and administration. I was the one feeling bogged down and cranky all the time because I had enough work for two people to do. Some of it is stuff that needs specific skills, like knowing how to use accounting programs. In many cases it wasn’t that I had to be the one doing it, it was just that I was the only one that could. Another part of the puzzle is that even with a one year volunteer there were things that required training and working through. It’s a time investment only to have to completely take the task back again when their term was over. 

We needed someone who could come long term, train, and help Chris and I in a leadership capacity by working in a role as my assistant, but being willing to do whatever needs there were on any given day. If Chris and I have learned anything over the years, it’s flexibility. We can go into any given day with plans, and then get none of those things done because something else needs our attention. Haiti doesn’t care what your plans are.

I know that I shared that through a fun course of events God brought Peggy into our path earlier this year. Well, Peggy has spent the summer at home with family and friends, and sharing about her new adventure with us here, and on Thursday morning she got on a plane, and then another one, and ended up here.

We’re so happy to welcome her to our long term volunteer staff. A lot of people have been praying for all of us and the transition time and let me just say this – when Peggy arrived on Thursday all of the typical nerves and anxiousness that come with welcoming a new staff member were non-existent. It was like she was coming back after a long vacation and it just feels comfortable. We already feel like she’s part of the family and it’s only been a few days. Such an answer to prayer for all of us! Our kids love her and listen to her. Chris and I have already felt so encouraged by her enthusiasm and support. So far, SO good!

So, that’s one major excitement around here. Tomorrow we get to dive fully into work and getting Peggy trained on the things she’ll be doing. 

Now that Peggy is here, I get to fully transition to my new work role, and I’m really excited about it. 

One of my constant frustrations over the years has been seeing areas where we could be doing so much more in the areas of communication and connecting with our donor base. Social media stuff, videos so you can see what really goes on here, more blog posts, and a website that is more interactive. When we first started looking for someone to serve as my assistant we thought that person would take on a lot of these tasks while I kept my regular work load. When Peggy came into the picture we realized that God had brought someone along that would take my regular tasks and free me up to be that creative person to take on the new stuff. 

The reason all of that stuff had been a frustration for me was because I had a vision for it, but lacked the time and the tools to be doing that work. It takes time to learn programs and skills like web design. It takes time to write blog posts, and when it’s that or accounting you know which one will win. Now that Peggy will be able to take over a lot of the day to day admin stuff I’ll be freed up to start working on other things. Things that are creative and engaging and that will help people connct with Clean Water for Haiti in new ways. 

Since we’ve gotten back from our vacation at the end of July Chris and I have been incredibly encouraged in so many ways. For me personally, one of those ways is that the mission is in a place where we can prioritize some of these things in the way of getting the right programs and tools to do the work. For so long we’ve crept by on make due solutions, which has been a blessing in and of itself, but it was time to take a step forward. In the past couple of months I’ve been able to upgrade to new programs thanks to drastically reduced license rates offered to non-profits from companies like Adobe. If you’re a non-profit 501(c)3 in the US definitely check out websites like Tech Soup and Tech Crawl. Pushing forward with some of this stuff means a huge learning curve for me, but I’m engaging my brain in ways it hasn’t been for years, and it’s a new way of serving the mission – both things that make my heart happy. 

On another front, after we got back we hosted a research team that was looking at household water filtration. While we can’t go into any detail until the final reports are made public, we’re very excited about the preliminary results. As an organization it shows us what we’re doing well, and where we can continue to improve. When the study report is released it’ll be solid data in our hands that shows how our program functions. For Chris and I it’s allowed us to see that many years of hard work has all been worth it. 

We also had a visit from DINEPA, Haiti’s water authority. The rep came with a Canadian consultant and the two of them shared that DINEPA has shifted it’s strategy and they wanted to know what they could do to help us ramp up. We don’t know if anything will come of it, but it was encouraging to know that they came to see us because several key people within the household water treatment world had recommended they come to see us because they think we’re one of the most effective water projects in Haiti. Feels good!

Overall, things are just in a good place. Our staff are doing well and we feel this sense of “team” that makes me smile. We’re all working towards the same goals and doing it together. Peggy is here. Things are happening that are getting all the work that Clean Water for Haiti has done noticed, as it should, because it’s good and it’s saving lives. 

It’s such a blessing to be part of this. Not just a blessing – a privilege. Chris and I really do think that way. Yes, we have to push through all the hard stuff when it comes up, but we also get to be on the front lines of seeing it all come together and seeing all the ways that what Clean Water for Haiti does makes a difference. We aren’t just doing good work, we are literally saving lives every single year. Not just a few, either – many!

Lots of new adventures coming our way, and feeling blessed and encouraged by everything going on. Thanks for journeying with us!

~Leslie