Monday, March 20, 2017
COBI Alumni Affiliate President accomplishes goal of providing clean water to thousands in Haiti
Peter Davis, President of the UT College of Business and Innovation Alumni Affiliate, is a remarkably busy man. When he is not raising money for scholarships for COBI students, or successfully operating his business, the Dundee Manufacturing Company, he devotes his time and energy to direct another organization, Hope2Water. He started Hope2Water to save lives by delivering safe and healthy drinking water to children, families, and communities through philanthropy, advocacy, outreach, and custom water solutions to the people in Haiti.
In January of this year, his organization achieved the milestone of drilling their first two water wells in Dessalines, Haiti.
“Dr. Clint Longenecker planted the seed about this project when I was working on my Executive MBA in COBI, and it resonated with me,” Davis said. “I was given the opportunity to go to Dessalines, Haiti, on my first mission there to help at an eyecare clinic. It was shortly after the earthquake and when we arrived for our mission there were a million people living in tents right near the airport. Most of the nine million people in Haiti don’t have opportunity, and there are no jobs”.
“On the three-hour bus ride to the clinic, we were going over a bridge and I saw people pulling pails of water from the creek, the same creek in which other people were washing their clothes. I saw the pollution, and learned there are an enormous amount of deaths due to water-borne disease. I became friends with the chaplin at the hospital in Dessalines and asked him about the water conditions, and he said that five to ten people die each year in his village alone due to the bad water. These were not only people in his village but also his family members”.
“That touched me.”
Davis said his next step was to set up a non-profit organization to be able to raise money to carry out his vision of getting safe and clean drinking water to the people of Haiti. He contacted an organization that was already familiar with drilling wells in Haiti and flew to Texas to meet with Healing Hands International to drill the wells needed in Dessalines.
“They told me it cost $6,000 to drill a well. I didn’t know if I could raise that much money, but I did know that I had to drill two wells in Dessalines, community wells for everyone to get water,” he recalled. “So I said, let’s move forward and do it. I planned to pay for it myself if I could not raise the money, but in six weeks we pulled together a golf outing in Michigan which raised $12,000.”
This past January Davis returned to Haiti to again help at the eyecare clinic. “While we were there we drilled our first well; we hit water at 45 feet down, and it produced 35 gallons of water a minute. We then drilled the second well, hitting water at 90 feet. We capped them, poured the foundation and installed the pumps. We were now able to give water via a hand pump to 1,500 to 2,000 people a day per well!”
With this achievement in place, Davis considered expanding his well-drilling venture in Haiti, but he discovered that many existing wells that still have water are not functional because the pumps have broken. However, the repairs to the pump can often be made for less than $100.
“So now Hope2Water is focused on raising money to repair wells and troubleshoot and upgrade the pumps to make them last longer,” Davis explained. “Our goal is to raise $150,000, through donations, events and fundraising, to repair 1,500 identified non-working wells. The need is now, and I see us accomplishing our goal over a two-to-three year period.”
"I also hope to hire a custodian to take care of each well, and also raise money to drill new wells.”
“We have purpose and leadership…I can almost feel it happening,” Davis said. “That’s why I fly to Texas and meet with people there, that’s why I go to Haiti and see people standing in anticipation to use a pump and drink clean water. It’s just such a basic need, a common thread for everyone on this planet.”
“In the United States we have a tendency to get inpatient, that things don’t happen when they should,” Davis reflected. “But I kept giving it to God knowing he would make it happen; it does test your belief system.”
“I’m good with goals. I want to be able to look someone in the eye and know I did it for them.”
There will be a fundraising golf outing on June 23rd to support this cause. To register for the event, or to learn more about this important clean water project, go to www.Hope2Water.org.