Water Project in Haiti Is a Memorial to Robert and Ruth Ebey

Photo by Jeff Boshart
The water project near Gonaives, Haiti, which has been installed a memorial to former mission workers Robert and Ruth Ebey, has been constructed with help from the Global Food Crisis Fund (GFCF). Shown here, standing next to the water tank, is Klebert Exceus who as field coordinator for Brethren Disaster Ministries helped oversee installation of the tanks and pump.

A well and water system near Gonaives, Haiti, constructed with help from the Global Food Crisis Fund (GFCF), have been installed as a memorial to former mission workers Robert and Ruth Ebey. The well is adjacent to a congregation of L’Eglise des Freres Haitiens (the Church of the Brethren in Haiti) in Praville, on the outskirts of the city of Gonaives.

The Ebeys served the Church of the Brethren in Puerto Rico for two years. GFCF manager Jeff Boshart shared that their daughter, Alice Archer, remembers how those brief years impacted the couple for life. “Her father spoke of their time in Puerto Rico even from his hospital bed near the end of his life,” Boshart said.

The path to completion of the memorial project has been long and complicated, Boshart reported. Upon receiving the memorial gift from the Ebey family, the church was able to purchase a piece of land with a hand-dug well already on it. Later additional money from another source was received which helped pay for a new well to be dug. However, the organization who was to dig the well with their drilling rig took nearly a year to complete the work.

Next steps were to build a well house next to the church building. Additional funding in the form of a GFCF grant purchased two 500-gallon water storage tanks and an electric pump, powered by the church’s generator.

Photo by Jeff Boshart
The church building (at left) and well house at Praville Eglise des Freres Haitiens (Haitian Church of the Brethren).

The community of Praville in the foothills that ring the city of Gonaives has been settled by families who relocated after a major hurricane flooded Gonaives in 2004. A small group of families founded a Church of the Brethren congregation as a house church. After the 2008 hurricanes (Faye, Gustov, Hannah, Ike), Brethren Disaster Ministries built about a dozen homes in the community.

“Praville is still without electricity or running water,” Boshart explained. “Residents have been getting their water from hand-dug wells scattered throughout the town.” Now, with the new water system, the Brethren congregation is provided with plenty of water. Although the water may not be potable, Boshart said, “the church has begun charging a small amount per bucket of water and has dreams of installing a reverse osmosis filtering system so that they might sell filtered water.

“The congregation has outgrown the house in which it was meeting and now is worshiping in a new building. The congregation is full of youth and children and is seeking ways to reach others in the community with the transforming power of Jesus Christ, in both word and deed,” he added.

To the Ebey’s children, he shared a message from the Praville Brethren: “The church leaders wished for me to express their profound gratitude for your support of their ministry and their dreams for their community. They have also asked permission to place a plaque on the pump house in honor of your parents, Robert and Ruth.”

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