Mission: Haiti 2010
A Bicycle Built for Haiti
By Gary Fallesen
President, Climbing For Christ
Dr. Steve Quakenbush was treating a 10-year-old boy with a broken arm in Gentilhomme, Haiti. The child was one of more than 200 people Steve saw in a day-and-a-half health clinic as another short-term mission team visited the mountains of southeastern Haiti in early March.
Erica Zeiler, who was assisting Steve (along with Lisa Mehle-Glab and Rosie Joseph), stepped out the backdoor of the mission house with a bucket in her hand. She needed water for Steve to make a cast for the child.
She'd come to the right place.
Josh Carroll, an engineer from Colorado, was completing work on Phase 1 of our water project in Gentilhomme: a state-of-the-art pedal-powered filtration system. [CLICK HERE to read “Space technology splashing down in Gentilhomme.”]
Mathuren, one of the Climbing For Christ-supported teachers in Gentilhomme, pedaled the stationary bike, pulling water from the cistern behind the church. Josh filled the bucket with clean water pumped through the system and handed it to Erica.
“It's filtered water,” he said, grinning broadly.
Clean water. It's one of the many things God has used Climbing For Christ to deliver to the people in the Chaine de la Selle range since He first took us there in the summer of 2005. In less than five years, god has used us to:
- Build four churches. (Two are complete, a third was nearing completion at press time, and another could be done before the end of 2010.)
- Support three schools.
- Introduce sanitation to a place where there were no toilets.
- Help with food and farming needs.
- Hold a monthly seminary for pastors and church leaders from a dozen villages.
- Provide health care.
- Teach Bible school to hundreds of children.
- Begin a water project that aims to make purified water more accessible to people who consume, on average, about one glass a day.
- Make the Living Water of Jesus Christ more real by being His hands and feet. We know that whoever drinks of this Water will never thirst again. Jesus said this is “a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:13-14).
While purified water was not really necessary to make a cast for a broken arm, it is essential in helping to improve the health of the people of Gentilhomme and other villages where Climbing For Christ is ministering.
Miguel pedals bicycle purifying system.
“For the first time the people of Gentilhomme will have clean water for drinking,” said Miguel Rubén Guante, Climbing For Christ's missionary to Haiti. “It is good for us to give the people some information about clean water and dirty water. I think it is good to tell the people that many, many (unhealthy) things come from dirty water.”
It is our desire to teach about sanitation, nutrition, water, agriculture, and more in the months and years ahead.
Mission: Haiti is a 24/7 operation with our missionary Miguel, a Haitian living in the Dominican border town of Jimani, serving the people on our behalf throughout the year. On March 14, as our short-term team prepared to go to the mountains of Haiti, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged donors not to forget the victims of the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that struck the Port-au-Prince area on Jan. 12. More than 200,000 people died and 1.3 million were displaced. In the aftermath, much was said about “rebuilding” Haiti.
But Haiti was never built in the first place. That has been Climbing For Christ's goal for the past five years. We will continue to serve there for years to come.
Funding from places like Hope Lutheran Church in Rochester, N.Y. [CLICK HERE for “Cup of change for cups of water”], and Mortenson Construction in Minneapolis, Minn., which has made the Gentilhomme water project possible, and from First United Methodist Church in Cañon City, Colo., which is supporting the construction of the church at Jimani, has been a blessing. Many Climbing For Christ members as well as friends of the ministry have helped us with the Lord's work in Haiti through prayer and financial giving.
But earthquake relief — as is the case when any disaster occurs — has diverted funds from full-time ministries such as ours to emergency work. While it is important to heed Mr. Ban Ki-moon's plea, it is vital to remember the ongoing efforts taking place in villages such as Gentilhomme.
In Gentilhomme, a stationary bike has been introduced to the people as a way to help improve health. It is a bicycle built for purifying water.
This story appeared originally in our quarterly magazine, The Climbing Way (Volume 17, Spring 2010).