It’s a simple action that so many take for granted — a turn of the faucet and fresh clean water spills out. For those living in the country of Haiti, the task of getting clean water isn’t so simple. A local man is doing what he can to help improve the quality of life for the people of Haiti by helping them get access to clean water.
Matthew Brown, a third-generation co-owner of Yadkin Well Company in Hamptonville, has been volunteering for several years now to help drill wells in Haiti. Brown is continuing the tradition of giving back that has been a part of his family and Yadkin Well Company since it was founded in 1964.
“We try to be out in the community locally with our church and also out in our state with the North Carolina Baptist Men. We try to assist and help and do water projects for them,” Brown said. Brown is an active volunteer with his church, Mountain View Baptist.
Following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti that devastated much of the country, Brown took their volunteer work international. He said it became a passion for him to be able to help people by drilling wells.
“There’s always been a need there but an increased need because after the earthquake so many people moved out of the cities and started from scratch,” Brown explained.
Brown volunteers with a group called Healing Hands International (HHI). The Nashville, Tennessee-based group was founded in the early 1990s with a mission “to aid, equip, and empower those in need around the world in the name of Jesus Christ so they might experience God’s healing grace.” They do projects in a variety of countries in the areas of clean water, agriculture, education, disaster recovery and more.
The organization celebrated a big milestone in April by drilling its 1,000th well in Haiti.
Each well can serve around 1,500 people, Brown said. He and his friend, Yadkin Well Company employee David Cave, were able to help drill that milestone 1,000th well in the Haitian town of La Tremblay.
“We have Haitian workers that work with us as well,” Brown said.
The people of Haiti often must use streams to collect drinking water. Those same streams are also used to wash their clothes, themselves and animals are often nearby, Brown explained. Many illnesses can come from drinking the water.
“It’s really sad to see,” Brown said.
Yadkin Well Company serves customers in around 40 counties across the state as well as Virginia and South Carolina. Though customers locally are likely grateful for the service, Brown said he doesn’t see the excitement from a new well drilled like he does in Haiti.
“The excitement around water that they have, we just really take for granted what we have here,” Brown said. “When they see the drill rig, they come out and start dancing and signing. Everybody’s excited.”
Brown has been on nine trips so far to Haiti and drilled 51 wells there. He has plans to return in July as a drilling instructor in the northwest part of the country where a hospital is to be built.
“The life improvement they get from getting clean water is a pretty amazing thing that we just take for granted here,” he said.
Many people travel for vacation to get away from what they do for a living and to find time to relax and renew. But for Brown, he said it renews his spirit to be able to do this work in a country that needs it so desperately.
“It really charges our batteries to get to go down and be around people that are that appreciative of what you do. We just feel that God has put that call on us to do that,” he said.
Kitsey Burns Harrison may be reached at 336-679-2341 or on Twitter and Instagram @RippleReporterK.