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August 14, 2018  |  News  |  Water Filtration

A Kentucky Nun in Haiti: Her audacious plan to end cholera

Water With Blessings Executive Lead Sister Larainne Lauter, U.S.U., M.S.J. is swarmed by school children in Verrettes, Haiti, Monday, November 06, 2017. PHOTO: Bryan Woolston / @woolstonphoto

A Kentucky Nun in Haiti: Her audacious plan to end cholera

VERRETTES, Haiti — In dusty schoolhouses and under tropical timber, Haitian mothers told stories of desperation and sacrificial love that I suspect most Americans could hardly fathom.

Neighbors who carried a woman’s husband on a makeshift tree-limb stretcher two hours down the side of a mountain — all while cholera-tainted fluids from his body dripped on the good Samaritans. They disregarded their own risk of infection to save him.

The young wife who saw her husband waste to nothing and die overnight from cholera. She watched as the light left his eyes.

The mother who bought Clorox bleach at an open-air market to sanitize her family’s water instead of food to feed her children.

They walked miles in flimsy sandals, juggling jerrycans and tired toddlers, themselves worried and weary. Their stories of cholera were not the sum of them, though those are the ones I asked them to tell. They had families, aspirations, and convictions. They also had names: Marielitha Philostene, Elda Servius and Christiana Neyil.

Sister Larraine Lauter, an Ursuline nun from Middletown, Kentucky, stood in the crowd, her gray hair and glasses peaking over the heads of even the men. For the past 10 years, she’s led an organization called Water With Blessings that has brought clean water to villages like these around the world.

Now, Water With Blessings is embarking on an audacious plan to eradicate cholera in Haiti — an effort even the United Nations hasn’t accomplished.

“You have to put it out there and see if other people believe in it,” Sister Larraine said. “And that, too, is a sign of God. It’s a sign of the spirit. If I’d said something that crazy and ended up being the lone wolf saying it, logistically it’s not going to happen.”

Read the full article by Kristina Goetz here.

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