22 March 2012

Set Fire to the Rain

And the rains came down
Today is World Water Day. A day dedicated by the international community to focus on water - lack of access, usage, and how much we need it to live.

Interestingly enough, rainy season has started here in Haiti. For someone, like myself, who grew up in consistantly sunny weather (Oh, southern California!), this season is a favourite. I get to experience rain, cool(ish) weather, thunderstorms and all the glories of living in a tropical climate that experiences torrential rain.

This is not the same for many Haitians though. For them, the rain means an additional trouble when trying to traverse and live their lives. The streets turn into rivers; floods happen not only in rivers, but also in fields, downtown, and with it comes the garbage, landslides and rock slides. Because of the floods and lack of drainage, any improper sanitation facilities (i.e. toilets), leak all of their lovely goodness out into the streets, increasing the chance to contract cholera or some other water-bourne disease.

With Haiti's current transition from responding to the earthquake, to longer-term development, this poses an issue...how do we respond to the annual 'emergency' of the rainy season. This comes every year; every year we have a spike in water-bourne disases; every year we remember that sanitation, sewage and drainage here is lacking. But also, every year we remember how difficult it is to build up the sort of infrastructure that will prevent this kind of damage from happening again.

As the saying goes, 'Rome wasn't built in a day'. Neither was Haiti. But until 'building back better' actually leads to something improved (which it will - it has to, or else what am I here for), I will have to temper my love of the rain with the affect and difficulties it brings to everyone else.

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