Tisse Saimphise is a 47 year old woman. She has lived in Cité Soleil, the urban slum located next to Haiti’s Port-au-Prince capital, since 1997. Her daughter, Geveline Saimphise, died last year, a couple of months after giving birth to Paulsin Fransito, Tisse’s grandson. Geveline was survived by her four children.
Tisse lives in a small house with 11 other people, including her husband, three children, four grandchildren, and three cousins. At a year and a half, Paulsin is the youngest in the home and rarely leaves the arms of his grandmother. Tisse’s other three grandchildren fill their small room, barely leaving space to move.
Here, in Cité Soleil, people are struggling each and every day. To have clean water, families must have the financial resources to purchase it. This community is among the most vulnerable in the whole country.
“I am trying my best to take care of my family,” Tisse explains. “As you can see, the family is quite big, with many mouths to feed.”
“Thankfully, we have one of the most important resources here with us, which is the clean water that comes out of our filter. Otherwise I would be hopeless,” Tisse continues. “The filter and my little boutique help me take care of them all.”
The boutique Tisse references is a little market located in her home. Locals can buy things to cook with, like spices, as well as purchase items like candy, pens, pencils, and other small items. The types of goods boutiques, like Tisse’s, sell is based on local demand.
Cité Soleil is situated at the lowest part of the island, down the hill from most areas of Port-au-Prince, adjacent to the water. Waste collected from across the metropolitan area is dumped near Cité Soleil. “We are not always directly affected by the trash, but often we can smell the smoke when they burn it.” Tisse says.
She goes on to explain the situation during the rainy season. “When it’s the rainy season, the water that runs down from Pétionville, Delmas, and other areas brings all of the trash and waste to Cité Soleil. Then our area is heavily contaminated. Our neighborhood is often compared to as a trash can.”
“The biosand water filter saves us money. It is our primary source for safe water,” Tisse shares. “More important, it protects my life and the lives of my family. We are truly grateful for the filter and for the help of Pure Water for the World. My hope is that PWW can continue to help more families.”