Water woes

My thoughts about water began when the trap under my kitchen sink began to leak…again. Our water tends to eat up pipes and had corroded through the bottom of the curved pipe, flooding the cabinet under the sink and running through the floor into the room in the basement below. Yuk. After digging through our box of spare plumbing parts we were able to fix the leak and go back to washing the dishes.

Fall means needing to drain hoses and turn off water hydrants that might freeze overnight. It’s time to start thinking about connecting heaters for animals’ waterers. The new pump we installed over the summer because the old one just couldn’t cope with our expanded grazing and watering system has worked like a charm.

About the same time as my minor plumbing problems occurred, Hurricane Matthew hit to the west of our friends in Haiti. Even though most of the devastation occurred at the very western tip of the southern coast of the island, everyone experienced high winds and heavy rain and flooding.rs10311_jacmel-1The wide but shallow river we drove our van across to get to the other side roared out of it’s banks, over roads and flooded everything in it’s path. Animals died and crops washed away. People are desperate because they do not have  the resources to buy more animals or seeds and plants to replant their gardens and fields. There is no crop insurance in Haiti.


Cholera cases have increased in the week following the hurricane. The people’s usual water sources have been contaminated by flood waters. There are no municipal water supplies in most of the country and even the few that exist may have been compromised by the hurricane. Before Matthew, half of Haitians had no access to clean water and one in ten had access to a toilet. Cholera is spread through fecal contamination of water. The violent diarrhea and vomiting the bacteria causes can completely dehydrate a person and kill them of shock in less than 24 hours. People who are undernourished are far more likely to succumb to infection and medical care in Haiti is difficult to access at most times. Available vaccinations have questionable effectiveness. The best solution is prevention. Clean water, hand washing, clean food, and better sanitation is needed.

Our friends tell us that many people all over Haiti are desperate for food and clean water. Seeds of Support, the group our church has partnered with in Pasquette, Haiti, has dug a well in the community by request of our Haitian partners. The water is plentiful and treated with chlorine to be sure it provides clean water to those who use it. The well, however, needs ongoing maintenance and repair and these needs have become urgent as the need for clean water is greater than ever.

Seeds of Support has a trip headed to Pasquette at the end of November. Providing help with maintaining the community’s well is a priority. Accessing seeds and plants for replanting food plots, providing immediate food aid, oral rehydration solutions and training in cholera prevention are on the top of the group’s concerns.

If you would like to help Seeds of Support, please contact me (noutback@utma.com) or Pastor Karl Breddin at United Lutheran Church in Langdon, ND. Your donation and prayers will make a difference in someone’s life.

Seeds of Support is a mission of United Lutheran Church in partnership with St. Andrews Lutheran Church in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, which provides all of the administrative costs for the mission, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Haiti and Redemption Lutheran Church of Pasquette, Haiti.