Holy Union International Water Projects

Waterfall Projects
Availability of reliable energy and clean water are essential components to the development of the world’s humanity. There is an undeniable need for clean water throughout the developing world.  Every year there are over a million deaths related to unsafe water, sanitation and hygiene.  Many areas have no access to clean water for drinking and washing, electricity, good roads, or health clinics.    The Holy Union Sisters have undertaken three projects in the past year which aim to provide safe drinking water for our schools, health care centres, and the families and villagers in the areas.  

Water Projects

St. Monica Health Care Centre, Baba, Cameroon



Waterfall Project

 
St. Monica Health Care Centre, Baba, Cameroon

The Holy Union Sisters opened St. Monica's Health Care Centre in Baba, Northwest Province, Cameroon in 1970.  Over the years it has grown from a small clinic to a health care centre caring for about 800 patients monthly.   The Pre-Novitiate for the Region of Cameroon is also located on the property.  
Though there has been growth for both the Health Care Centre and the Pre-Novitiate, the methods of gathering water remained unreliable and the water was  not clean and safe.  The water was collected in a storage tank.  Streams in the surrounding mountains provided water as well.  Though a system of pipes was installed, more often than not the Health Care Centre and the residences were without water.  

At the Health Care Centre, staff couldn't follow simple procedures in cleanliness and hygiene, such as washing hands after treating a patient.

With the help of a grant of $10,000 (€7,245) from the Conrad N. Hilton Fund for Sisters,  the needed catchments were installed, and  pipes and other equipment are in place  ensuring a reliable water supply.  The Holy Union Sisters of the Region of Cameroon provided the balance of the funds needed for the project.

The hygiene of the Centre is improved as there is water available for frequent washing of hands and for laundry.  The pre-novices no longer have to fetch water and carry it to the pre-novitiate building.  When filtered this water is also safe for drinking.

The Sisters have also been able to make clean water available to patients, their families, and the people of the nearby villages since the Spring of 2013.

Nancy Stiles SUSC

St. Michel de L’Attalaye, Haiti







 
St. Michel de L’Attalaye, Haiti

The Sisters ministering at the Ecole de Congregationale Religiouse in St. Michel first became aware of the need for clean water during the cholera epidemic which followed the earthquake in 2010.  The epidemic broke out the in mountainous area where the school is located.   Many lives were lost, and many children were orphaned.  People in the area use the rivers to wash clothes and water their livestock.  Once contaminated with the cholera virus, they became the source of disease and sickness.

Sister Elizabeth Kunsah, a Holy Union Sister and native of Cameroon, Central Africa, shared the difficulty in having clean water with the Holy Union Sisters ministering in Port-au-Prince.  At this time, the school’s children and cooks were drawing water from a primitive well located on the school compound.  The water was not potable.   At the school, water had to be boiled even before using it to cook the daily meal of rice and beans served to the students.  The sisters were buying bottled water; and many villagers used small plastic baggies of water.  This also created a problem of “plastic waste,” especially in the village.
The sisters met  with a technician from Germany who does water filtration and pump installation.  Through a grant from Misean Cara, a foundation based in Dublin, Ireland, funds were obtained for a new water system at St. Michel.  For this project, Misean Cara gave €10,773 ($14,740).  The voluntary labor was valued at €2,000 ($2,735).  Other donations were €350 ($480) from local sources and €2,500 ($3,420) from Haiti Presence, an organization in France.

After some problems with Haitian Customs at the port of entry, the work was completed at St. Michel and today there is a good system producing about 900 gallons of clean water daily.  Since September of 2013, good clean drinking and cooking water has been available not only to the school children and staff, but also to villagers who are welcome to come and draw water from the new system. 
 
Nancy Stiles SUSC

St. Mary’s Catholic Comprehensive High School, Ndop, Cameroon

Waterfall Project


St. Mary’s Catholic Comprehensive High School, Ndop, Cameroon

St. Mary's is the only Catholic Secondary school on the Ndop Plain.  It is open to both boys and girls from all backgrounds and religions.  It has several dormitories and offers boarding to both genders.

The poor and erratic water supply had been a problem for the school since it's opening in 2006.  And, with climate changes taking place, the supply is inadequate even during the rainy season.  The public water supply doesn't reach St. Mary's.  Villagers and travelers also take water from the tap near the road. The system constructed in 2006 had been damaged by cattle roaming in the area.  Animal excrement had also polluted the water.  

The situation became even more problematic in the Spring of 2012.  The supply dwindled to a weak stream of unclean, unsafe water at the roadside tap.   It was necessary for students and staff to take buckets to the tap, fill them, and then carry them to the dormitories or housing.  The water, though not potable, was nonetheless used for cooking and washing.   Time that should have been spent studying or participating in sports activities was taken up transporting water for laundry.

The Holy Union Sisters received a grant of €18,484 ($25,500) from Misean Cara, a Dublin based foundation. New catchments, piping system, security devices, and storage tanks were purchased or built with this funding.  The water treatment system was rehabilitated, making the water safe for consumption when filtered.  Students contributed €2,171 ($3,000) worth of labor by  cleaning  the catchment areas, carrying  stones, and planting trees.  St. Mary's School donated €4,789 ($6,600) toward the project.

The water system was ready for use in August 2013.  Taps located near the dormitories, the staff housing, and the classroom blocks  which were dry in 2012, now have a steady strong stream of water.  Overall health of the students and staff has improved.  Time is no longer spent transporting water to the staff houses and student dormitories.

The roadside tap is also available to the villagers who need water and to the travelers on the Bamenda ring road.
 

Nancy Stiles SUSC

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