On Thursday, a few of our team members joined Pastor Jean Alix for a trip to Drouin, the community where the cholera outbreak started on October 19 of this year. It was about a 5-hour car ride, but the drive was absolutely beautiful. Pastor Jean Alix even stopped at one point so we could stretch our legs and just take in the view.
We continued our drive, and it felt like we were traveling to the middle of nowhere. The scene changed from beach to the busier streets of St Marc, and then back to the calm stretches of farmland with the mountains moving further and further into the distance.
As we neared the community of Drouin, we were driving within feet of the water, only this time it wasn’t the beautiful blue beaches. It was the chocolate brown rivers that have claimed the lives of hundreds since the cholera outbreak. Pastor Jean Alix explained that before the outbreak, the rivers would be filled with people bathing, playing, doing laundry, fetching water to drink or to cook with… but since the cholera outbreak, the rivers are now empty due to fear that the cholera will continue to spread. Water is delivered to the community by the UN or other relief organizations, but there’s no guarantee how often they will come and how much they will bring…so people anxiously wait by the side of the road to fill their buckets with as much water as they can.
We passed a building with a bright turquoise gate, and Jean Alix explained that was the only clinic within hours of these neighboring communities. He visited Drouin two days after the cholera outbreak started, and the clinic was filled with hundreds of patients, many of whom would die just hours later.
As we drove further into the community, people seemed to be going about their “normal” lives…women were busy drying rice outside their homes, children strapped atop mules were making deliveries, people were sprinkled throughout the distance tending to their crops. It was hard to imagine the reality of what this community was facing…hard to imagine their fear…
Then we arrived at the school where Jean Alix’s two pastor friends oversea about 300 students. We got to meet the pastors and get a quick tour of the school. The children’s uniforms provided a sea of blue, but each classroom was also sprinkled with children wearing black…children who were mourning the death of a loved one… It was then that the reality hit me. That these sweet children, and others throughout the community, were still indeed being effected by the cholera outbreak. That even though I didn’t see hundreds of people in the rivers, it didn’t mean lives were no longer being taken. The community grew heavier on my heart as one of the teachers explained that many of the children faint each day because it’s been days since they’ve had a meal.
We took some time to talk with the pastors about how we could help restore this community. They were incredibly humble, and happy to begin partnering with us. We proceeded to take some basic information and photos of some of the kids to add to our Help One Now initiative. Through these monthly sponsorships, their basic needs will be met – such as food, water, clothing, and medical care. It costs about .30 to feed a child one meal! Not only will the sponsorships provide these basic needs, but it will also help pay for their school fees, and will even help pay the teachers (who are currently working for free).
It can feel overwhelming to think about communities like Drouin. But, the reality is, we can do something to help restore their hope. This community has names and faces, goals and dreams… These children want to laugh and play and learn just like your own children. Loudena loves playing with dolls, and Wislore’s favorite sport is soccer.
We’ve just added the first 20 children from Drouin on our Help One Now page. Please consider being a part of these children’s lives, and helping provide some basic needs for this community.