Culture

This Year We're Thankful for Silver Linings

A photograph of the author, Molly Mitchell.

By Molly Mitchell

November 21, 2016

This Year We're Thankful for Silver Linings
Dry, cracked land where Heifer Haiti and the local community ended up building a lake.
The lake site as of May 2015. Before Heifer Haiti and the local community constructed the new lake, the site consisted of cracked, unproductive earth and a few cacti.

As Thanksgiving approaches and we consider the tradition of expressing what we’re thankful for this year, it would be a little obtuse to gloss over the fact that 2016 has been an especially tough year for a lot of people at home and around the world.

At Heifer, one of our most pressing concerns at the moment is the health and safety of the survivors of the recent devastating hurricane in Haiti. We have been closely following the events on this blog, and there’s no doubt about it: the damage was severe, and the fallout will reverberate for a long time.

But even the (literal) dark cloud that was Hurricane Matthew had an unexpected silver lining that we’d like to share in light of the upcoming time of thanks. 

A farmer and his cow stand in the dry lake bottom.
As of August 2016, shortly before Hurricane Matthew, the lake had been constructed but still lacked water.

The torrential rains of the hurricane, while wreaking havoc in southwest Haiti, ended up filling a much-needed lake in the northern Haiti, where many Heifer project participants have been desperate for a water source for years. World Ark regulars may remember the story of this bone-dry region in Haiti and the farmers struggling to make it without water.

With nowhere else to go, these communities have been struggling to scratch a living out of the parched, deforested land. Even on the rare occasion that it does rain, the degraded soil, lacking plant life to keep it in place, just washes away.

So Heifer Haiti worked to dig a lake, knowing it would take years to fill, but hoping once it did the communities in the area would finally have a water source from which to drink, water their livestock, grow crops and otherwise bring the once-lush land back to life.

The lake, filled to the brim.
We are thankful that the communities in this region of Haiti finally have a water source from which to drink, water their livestock and grow crops.

Construction of the lake began in February 2016, and once the hole was dug it was time to wait. But instead of the expected wait of several years for the lake to slowly fill up, Hurricane Matthew arrived in October 2016 and delivered an unexpected windfall. When the sun came out, the giant, dry hole in the ground had transformed into the lake so desperately needed by so many.

So this year, as tough as it’s been, we’re thankful for silver linings. We hope that you find a few this year as well.

We’d love to hear about your silver linings—if you have one to share, let us know by emailing worldark@list.heifer.org.