July 4, 2022

Tonight, Join An Evening of H2O-Hope, Happiness, Opportunity- to Benefit Niger, Haiti, April 2

The local Haitian community in Deep River and The Whistle Stop Cafe are joining with the Chester, Deep River and Essex Rotary clubs, along with the Interact Club at Valley Regional High School, to raise funds in an atmosphere of cultural diversity and sharing.  The Dinner and Music evening will be held on Saturday, April 2 from 6-8 p.m. at the First Congregational Church of Deep River.

What would you think if someone told you that one meal could change a life forever?  Whether the thirst is for knowledge or simply thirst; poverty, drought, and disease are rampant in areas like Haiti and Niger.

Today’s water crisis is not an issue of scarcity, but of access. More people in the world own cell phones than have access to a toilet. Approximately one in eight people (884 million) lack access to safe water.  More than 3.5 million people die each year from water-related disease.  The water and sanitation crisis claims more lives through disease than any war claims through guns.

Throughout the developing world, everything starts with water.  Nomads in Niger often spend 14 hours a day at the well drawing water for their families and their herds.  Water – or the lack of water – consumes their lives and leaves little room for anything else… and the cycle of poverty continues.  Niger suffers catastrophic famines every few years from recurring droughts.

Rotarians have united to try to break this cycle of catastrophe by digging wells, creating cereal banks, vaccination programs, supporting education and health care.  And progress has been made through a focused program of economic development and vocational training.  The nomads have managed to survive for centuries raising cattle, goats and camels to provide daily milk or to sell for millet.  They love their freedom and are proud of their cultural and artistic traditions but are increasingly threatened by drought, dwindling pasture, global warming and uranium mining. With just a little help – our help – they can make it.

Students studying under street lamps

The need in Haiti, just a short distance (710 miles) from the United States, is overwhelming, particularly in light of the massive magnitude 7.0 earthquake that struck in January 2010. Basic infrastructure such as water delivery, sanitation, housing, transportation, and food supply and delivery were inadequate before the earthquake and are even worse today.  There are so many needs, yet one clear opportunity emerges – education.

Sister Cities Essex Haiti, in partnership with the Rotary Clubs of Chester, Deep River, and Essex, has made a commitment to create a community library in the rural community of Deschapelles.  Despite the fact that all Haitians highly value education, there are few libraries in rural Haiti. The Deschapelles Library could be used as a place for students to study after school particularly after dark since most households do not have electricity.  Even adults who learned to read have few opportunities to read for lack of books, and thus lose their facility for reading.

The Rotary Clubs of Chester, Deep River, and Essex invite you to make a difference by supporting an evening of cultural diversity and sharing.  From authentic Haitian and Nigerian cuisine to the sounds of traditional music, you will enjoy a taste of these unique cultures while providing much needed funding for literacy and water projects in these impoverished regions.  Your donation of a book or consumption of a bottle of water will have a positive impact.  Quench the thirst!

Donations from members of our local community mean that 100% of the proceeds from the benefit will be directed to Haiti and Niger.  Tickets for the event are $25.00 and are available through any Essex, Chester, or Deep River Rotarian or through www.essexrotary.com.  A limited number of tickets will also be available at the door.  For more information or tickets, contact Jeff Mehler at (860) 767-9700.