I'm Nittai Malchin, a senior at Palo Alto High School in CA and the founder of One Love Advocates. Our mission is to do whatever possible to improve access to education in communities that are struggling with destructive or endemic problems. My immediate focus is helping kids in Haiti gain access to educational opportunities. I recently traveled to Haiti, and I will be documenting my trip on this site. There are 4 sections (see navigation above) to my mini site: (1) my blog where i document my activities, impressions and thoughts from Haiti (2) About One Love where you can read more about the initiative (3) Support One Love where you can learn how to get involved, donate or help (4) contact info. And on the right sidebar you will find more info such as links to other sites, feeds, photos, videos, and ways to contact me or share One Love with others. Also, check out the cool toolbar on the bottom of your screen to see our videos, photos, and Facebook page, for translations, and more. Thank you for visiting and feel free to share your thoughts.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

"Wash-Wash" Water

Water is needed by everyone. No matter who you are or where you are, water is the necessity of life. Yet due to our trip to Mon Bouton, we truly saw how much some people need it compared to others. We were showed (not as a lesson, just by the nature of our stay there) the true value and appreciation we should have for water, and learned to conserve what we have because you never know where its coming from or what someone might have to go through to get it for you.

For the entirety of our stay on Mon Bouton, our water came from what the locals called the "Wash-Wash". However, it took us till our second night to realize this. Before then we had just figured the water came out of some pump or source nearby. We were maybe using more water than we needed, whether it was to wash our feet off, or to filter for drinking. What we didn't know is just what type of effort it actually took to get the precious water, and just how valuable it was to these people who had so little.

In the afternoon of our second day, after we had already used some water, we hiked down to the all important "Wash-Wash". We really weren't sure what we were in for, but soon found ourselves on a longer and more difficult hike than any of us had expected or hoped for. After what seemed like many slips and a lot of "almost there"s, an hour and a half later we finally reached the famed "Wash-Wash".

It wasn't what we were expecting, to say the least. It wasn't a crystal geyser or a water pump or an Arrowhead truck, it was simply a miniature waterfall which had tricked down from some unknown source high up in the mountains and continued to pour down the rocks. We have come upon a relatively larger part of the fall; a twelve foot rock with water rushing over the top of it and down into a shallow pond.

Exhausted and sweaty, we each took turns cupping the water in our hands and splashing it over our arms and face, failing to notice that we had done the same thing in Mon Bouton some hour plus hike away.

It then became obvious to us how precious water is. We had been undeniably careless with the water we had - both on Mon Bouton and back at home too. The Haitian people had inadvertently showed us what we had blatantly ignored all along.

The people of Mon Bouton used their water sparingly - a little to wash clothes and body, and just the necessary amount to quench any thirst they have. It really put a new perspective on something we all took for granted. It isn't something that is unlimited, nor is it something that comes without struggle or work.

Water, among other resources, is limited. The visit to "Wash-Wash" made us realize how the actual villagers made the best of what they had - which was almost always very little. And even though there was a source of water available to them, it was not a source that came without working towards. It was impossible to reach the "Wash-Wash" without a tough hike there, not to mention an even harder hike back while carrying gallons of water.

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