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Improving water access for Haiti’s poor

Wadson Desir pours clean water from one of his filtration systems. Photo credit: Taina Saintilmond

By Sam Bojarski

Wadson Desir never intended to design a water filtration system, until he started visiting poor communities throughout Haiti and spending countless hours talking to residents about their health concerns. In Gonaives and other areas, Desir recalled, children were developing skin rashes, while women complained about frequent vaginal infections.

Some residents requested a medical team. But after talking to more people, Desir, 40, came to a different conclusion.

“It took me like more than a year to think about what can be done to solve the problem, and after two years, I figured out that I have to work to provide clean water,” Desir said.

A community advocate who frequently works as a translator for mission groups, Desir’s love for his people and his deep understanding of the health challenges they face sets him apart from other organizations that work in Haiti.

With help from partners in the United States, he has helped implement five community water stations in Haiti over the past three years. Poor communities in Gonaives, Boutillier, Laboule and Belot have all benefited from his efforts. The water stations serve more than 25 families each day and have limited the spread of waterborne diseases, according to Desir.

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Sam Bojarski

Sam Bojarski

Sam Bojarski, a freelance journalist, has reported in communities from Pennsylvania to Port-au-Prince. His work has appeared in national publications, as well as local newspapers in his hometown of Pittsburgh.
Sam Bojarski
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Jan. 30, 2019