Saturday, December 18, 2010

Savanette December 3, 2010

Savanette is a small town of about 1400 people. There are many more that live in small encampments around the town. It is nestled between mountains in the Central Plateau region north east of Port au Prince. The town and immediate area has no electricity or clean drinking water.

At night, it is pitch dark and the stars are magnificent. In the mountains you can see fires burning where people are burning trees to make charcoal or Charbon in fench and creole. Charbon is used to cook and heat water. It is the only real source of fuel for the majority of the country.

I stayed with Caroline and Father Rahab at the Rectory of the local church which was built in 1956. The conditions there are very comfortable for Haitian standards. Many houses in Savanette are made of block or wood with roofs being tin or thatch. From what I saw, floors inside are dirt. Sewage is collected in open trenches and dumps into the river that flows along the north side of the town.

Savanette is not in the cholera area, yet there are many signs in the streets advising people to use caution, wash their hands and dispose of excrement properly to avoid it. Rivers are a source of cholera and so far it has not appeared here despite the fact that people draw water from it, defecate in it as well as allow animals to defecate in the flowing water. People also bath and wash clothes in this water.

Clorox bleach has become common as a means to disinfect water before using it to cook or bath or wash clothes.

There is an internet cafe in town which surprised me. It was started by some young guys, but on the days we were there, there was cloud cover and hence no sun or energy to power the laptops. The one guy was from Savanette and had been living in Port au Prince when the earthquake hit. He spent just over 24 hours buried in the rubble of a building before he was rescued.

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