Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Cange Circa 1983

"It is appropriate for this project, and suits us fine to consider the spring as part of a divine scheme for supply water to Cange and we will not seek further scientific explanations."

That spring is still going strong, supplying life giving water for the village of Cange through a water system built decades ago and updated by Clemson engineers in the past four years. The source of that important spring is still unknown, yet the water still comes.

The remark about the "divine scheme" comes from the original engineering feasibility study from 1983 done for a water supply system to Cange and Ecole Bon Sauveur. The project marked a significant addition to the relationship between the Episcopal Upper Diocese of South Carolina and the town of Cange, Haiti, a relationship which continues today.
In 1983, as a continuation of the close relationship between the EDUSC and the Bon Sauveur Parish in Cange, then led by Father Lafontant, EDUSC sought a solution to a lack of water for the Episcopal school and village of Cange. Pierce Williams and John Page were the lead engineers on the project, overseeing the development, the construction and eventual operation of the water system.
The feasibility study was completed in four days, with a project timeline of 9-10 months, and a contingent budget of $150,000. The main features of the system involved a dam at a spring located about 800 feet below the village, water pumps located below the dam (powered by the force of the water), and a delivery system through cisterns located above the church and school.

"The basic engineering concept is to use the water power available from the large flow rate and vertical fall (or head) of Cange Creek to drive a hydraulic turbine. The French call the power of flowing water "huile blanche"-white oil. We have plenty of white oil and won't have to buy black oil products for power. The turbine will be used to drive a water pump through a direct mechanical connection."
The study is a thorough analysis of the potential for installing the water system, complete with a bit of dry humor and revealing cultural tidbits throughout.

When explaining the process for determining the energy available in the water power of the spring that would operate the water pump, Mr. Williams and Mr. Page note, "Dennis (Fr. Maynard) and Hagood were our official beach bums. Naturally they volunteered to sit in the cool stream and measure the flow rate."

Ms. Jackie Williams, Mr. William's wife, now lives in Cange and runs the Artisan Center, employing 29 local artisans. Their grandson, Colby Cash, is currently a Clemson engineering intern here with Clemson Engineers for Developing Countries.

CEDC began four years ago with the mission to upgrade the 1983 system to a greater capacity, reliability and reach into the village. Since CEDC began, they have installed a new dam, piping and water fountains throughout Cange. Interns now live in Cange year round (currently there are three, Brian Graham, Sam Knobeloch, and Colby), and they have expanded to include water projects in nearby villages, latrine biodigester systems in Cange, and several other economic development related projects across the Central Plateau.

The growth and maturation of Cange began with Father Lafontant's Episcopal mission. Cange expanded through the partnership with EDUSC, the construction of Ecole Bon Sauveur, and the creation of Partners in Health/Zanmi Lasante. And the lives of the people of Cange have been enriched with the water of life by engineers of 1983 and 2013.

From unquestioned faith in the existence of a nearby spring grew just one example of applied faith through deed as seen in Cange. Faith can been seen everywhere in the village, from the Episcopal, Baptist and Catholic parishes, to the Zanmi Lasante medical compound, to the civil infrastructure projects completed and those underway. What a wonderful example of the fruits of hard labor, determination, spirituality, and companionship.


  1. Looks like a great project -- glad you are there and enjoying yourself! :)

    Much love from Brazil!

    1. It's been great so far! Love from Cange!