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Ouanaminthe: Behind the Canal Project

Hi there, I'm Senska, the CEO of Womenful Voice, and I'm excited to share a heartfelt story about the incredible community in Ouanaminthe and our plan to support their remarkable project. This story begins with the canal project, a testament to the power of unity, resilience, and hope.

President Jovenel Moïse (2017-2021) Source : Al Jazeera

The journey of the canal dates back to the time of Jovenel Moïse's government. It was an ambitious project aimed at bringing vital resources to the people of Ouanaminthe. However, when President Jovenel tragically passed away, the project ground to a halt, and the country was plunged into chaos. But the remarkable part of this story is what happened next.

The people of Ouanaminthe, accustomed to not knowing what tomorrow might bring, decided to take matters into their own hands. They pooled their meagre resources to continue the construction of the canal. Just think about it – a population that lives on less than a dollar a day coming together to fund a project of this magnitude. This is what community is all about, and it's truly awe-inspiring.

Let me take you on a journey through Ouanaminthe, a place that has touched my heart deeply. I originally grew up in Port-au-Prince, but everything changed after the devastating earthquake of 2010. We lost everything and had to find a new place to call home. Ouanaminthe opened its arms to us with overwhelming love and hospitality. As a young child, it was shocking to witness the challenging living conditions, but as an adult, it's even more astonishing to see how this community, despite poverty, found ways to support families like mine who were affected by the earthquake.

Earthquake in Haiti, PHOTO: TW @mefeater]

That year, we received free education and even homeschooling for those in need. The resilience and determination of this community are truly remarkable. So, when I heard about the canal project, I wasn't surprised at all. These people have a history of coming together and making things happen, no matter the odds.

What adds an intriguing layer to this story is the neighbouring Dominican Republic, which had closed its borders, accusing us of running an illegal canal. Meanwhile, they have eight canals of their own along the river, and their agricultural activities have been a lifeline for us. The people of Ouanaminthe want to level the playing field, offering their agricultural produce to Dominicans and selling food across the border. Haitians are in their pursuit of fair treatment at the border and equal rights. Their sweat, seeds, and a few seedlings are their lifelines.

At Womenful Voice, we want to ensure that the canal has access to enough clean and high-quality water as a way of giving back to a community that has remained supportive and hopeful for a better tomorrow. Womenful Voice has launched a project in collaboration with the local community, with a goal to improve the quality of water of the river Massacre Ouanaminthe by planting 10,000 trees along the riverbank. We've partnered with organizations like Regenerative Farms, Kiskeya International, and ODESO to make this vision a reality. This initiative not only ensures that the canal gets the water it needs but also supports reforestation efforts in the Dominican Republic, trying to reforest the river bank on their sides.

Canal under construction at Rivière Massacre/Dajabon River that separates Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Photo by Pierre Michel Jean

Ouanaminthe is poised to become a city that shows the world what it means to overcome adversity and to work together for a brighter future. The legacy of slavery still lingers in Haiti, not just physically but also in mental ways. While America has an envoy in Haiti, we believe that the strong sense of community in Ouanaminthe will inspire other cities in Haiti and help us rebuild our nation, even in the face of external challenges.

The canal project in Ouanaminthe is a symbol of resilience, unity, and hope. It is a testament to the strength of the community and their determination to make a better future for themselves and future generations. Womenful Voice is proud to be a part of this journey and looks forward to empowering this remarkable community in any way we can. Together, we can change lives and make the world a better place.

Written by: Senska Jean

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