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Fifth Anniversary of Haiti Earthquake


Five years ago today, we remember with deepest sympathy the people of Haiti and their great loss of family, structure and hope. Here are some reflections, including a short video from that time put together by our friends at City On A Hill.

January 12, 2010 was a Thursday. At 5:15pm, a friend called the office to give us a heads up that minutes before, a severe earthquake had ravaged Haiti.

We were concerned for the safety of our missionary family in the Dominican Republic and those we knew in-country. Immediately, a long night of phone calls was launched. We looked for our Haitian friends, contacted NGO partners and made sure our local supporters and churches knew what was happening. We turned up the volume on the news channels and watched with the rest of the world as the horror unfolded.

In the midst, The Salvation Army asked us to help them respond with water. As the hours passed, our thoughts turned toward a plan and the possibility of a larger effort.

The next morning, I came to the office early. Fifteen people were already standing outside the door; several were strangers. They greeted me and said, “We thought WaterStep (then EDGE Outreach) might be attempting to do something for the crisis in Haiti and we want to help.” Humbled, I unlocked the door. During the next 6 weeks, 24/7 and then beyond, our staff, friends, community and volunteers committed to bring water in a sustainable way to those people living in an upheaved land.

It seems selfish at the price of such loss to others saying those moments changed us, but they did. Winston Churchill said, “The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.” Transformation can be a choice. But earthquakes force transformation upon us with no regard. A man once told me, “It’s better to move through tragedy than past it.” It’s true, but messy. This perspective reveals past pain that’s a part of us, clearly seen and felt in our hindsight.

The people of Haiti didn’t choose their transformation, but continue to live it by allowing its memory to dictate hope or despair. As a global community, we remember too. While we embrace all things tragic and celebrative, it would be a great loss to waste this moment not reflecting on its impact in our own lives.

It has surely transformed me. I owe it to the people of Haiti to ponder that.

Though these past years have seen much good happen, the scars are deep. The earthquake blast peppered its devastation into the life of every single Haitian. Its impact continues to vibrate like the rumblings of rolling terrain as a part of their history. Today, I simply ask that Haiti remember less and less the reverberation of the land and more and more echoes of renewal that could pour within their hearts.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

To all the people of the WaterStep team who sacrificed their time, talent, treasures and knelt in prayer during those months of 2010.

To our Haitian friends who have given their lives to the dream of a healed country.

To the NGO’s and churches who worked along side us equipping, enabling us, empowering us to be better.

To the community of Louisville for believing that ordinary people can make a difference.

To the men and women who joined our teams on the ground from Haiti, Canada and the U.S. at great risk – there are no words.

And to God. May we eventually see your hope on the other side of all calamity.

I invite your response on how the earthquake five years ago impacted your own life and the lives of those you care about.



Mark Hogg
Founder and CEO

From India: Pairing water with microbusiness

Read about WaterStep’s upcoming work with ShantiSeva Trust this spring, where we will be working to provide safe water for communities in central India where ShantiSeva’s micro-lending initiatives are helping to lift communities out of poverty.


Long-time WaterStep volunteer Ravi Jain is incorporating water purification into work in his home country of India, where he works with villages in the central state of Madhya Pradesh.

ShantiSeva Trust, a nonprofit organization founded by Ravi in Louisville, Kentucky, works to empower marginalized communities of India, focusing on micro-lending and entrepreneurial initiatives for women living in rural areas. Ravi spends 4-5 months of the year in India, working with people to start small businesses as seamstresses, shopkeepers, and merchants. These small loans help people to escape poverty, so they can provide housing, food, medical care, and education for their families.

Magraniya, India - health education


During a trip last February, Ravi identified two communities that need access to a safe water source. He laid the groundwork for the installation of mini water treatment plants in the two communities of Kisoni and Magraniya. In Magraniya, Ravi led a service camp, where he taught health education to college students. The students then went house to house throughout Magraniya, teaching about proper hand washing, waste disposal, and water storage.

In these two communities, people complain of diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. A mini water treatment plant that generates chlorine can remove 99.99% of waterborne pathogens and bacteria in the water, enabling greater health for the community.
Kisoni, India - well repair

Kisoni, India - water purification India Mark II 2


Health education, which has already started in Magraniya, increase the prospective success rate of the project. Teaching people how to properly wash their hands, alongside water purification and sanitation, can cut cases of diarrhea in a community almost in half.

The work has begun, but there’s still more to do. Ravi is leaving for India this month, and plans to install mini water treatment plants in both Kisoni and Magraniya. He will work with each community to identify the best water solutions, incorporating water purification, health education, and microbusiness. Access to safe water can improve the health of the community, allowing them to focus on other things, like family, education, and careers.


From Nicaragua: Giving thanks

With Thanksgiving only a few days a way, we at WaterStep wanted to take a moment to thank the many donors, volunteers, supporters, and advocates that strengthen WaterStep’s mission to provide safe water to the people that need it most. Here’s a short video from a well repair project last week in Nicaragua to say thank you!

How to Drill a Well

In some areas, drilling a well is the most effective way to bring water to a community. However, the task of drilling a well is not always simple and many must learn how to drill a well before the enter the field.

Our new instructional videos will take you step-by-step through the process of how to drill a well, using WaterStep’s drill, the EXP-50.

Check out our “How to Drill a Well” video series below, and then head over to our Store to learn more about the EXP-50 and how you can bring one on your next trip.

World Water Day: How Water and Energy Save Lives

It seems simple, just a round container connected to pipe. But this simple design is changing the way many live their day-to-day lives.

World Water Day: Water and Energy with the WaterBall

A woman in Ethiopia uses WaterStep’s WaterBall to reach a water source more quickly and easily.

The WaterBall was designed by engineer Kyle Hunter after meeting and observing women and children in Latin America who were required to walk miles each day simply to reach a safe water source. The WaterBall allows people to transport water more quickly and with less physical strain. (Watch the video The WaterBall Rolls Out)

The typical trek to water sources consumes enormous amounts of time for millions of people in the developing world. An average woman in sub-Saharan Africa will walk an hour to a water source, and make multiple trips per day, often through unsafe areas.

water and energy: world water day: waterstep's waterball

Women can walk up to an hour each day to reach a water source, often making multiple trips.

So how does this connect to this year’s World Water Day theme: Water and Energy?

Well, energy does not necessarily need to be defined by technology. In fact, at WaterStep we can measure energy saved through human expenses: time, effort, even safety. When women are freed from the daily burden of access to water, that gives them more energy to pursue an education, focus on their families, or invest time in a skill or trade that could help support them.

That possibility is why this simple tool is able to transform lives globally. Water and energy connect when less energy needs to be expended to reach a safe water source.

That is what we’re all about at WaterStep: Joining you to save lives with safe water.

This World Water Day, let us know your thoughts on water and energy. How do you think saved human energy can change the world? Comment below or tweet @WaterStep with your thoughts.