WASHINGTON / PORT-AU-PRINCE – In the underprivileged Delmas 75 neighborhood of Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince, residents are keeping their hands clean and preventing the spread of the novel coronavirus thanks to a brand-new contraption, courtesy of teen inventor and recycler Wens Dimanche.
The 18-year old, who received acclaim in Haiti in 2019 for his ingenious remote-control loaders and trucks made of scrap metal, saw a need to help his neighbors wash their hands without contaminating the faucet with the coronavirus.
“I made this electric bucket because I feared that if a person has the virus on their hands and they touch the faucet to turn it on, they could contaminate not only the faucet but also their neighbors. So, I wanted to find a way to solve that problem,” Dimanche said.
The teenager, who has no formal training in electronics, took a white plastic bucket, filled it with water, attached a mechanical faucet to dispense the water, and linked it to a blue plastic pedal, which powers it on and off. When people need to wash their hands, they simply step on the pedal to release water.
“This is an electric pedal,” Dimanche explained as he held up his invention for us to see. “It turns on by attaching this chord. When you lift your foot off the pedal, the water stops flowing.”
To power his invention, the teen used a cell phone battery, which is rechargeable. And to keep things safe and easy, the pedal can be detached from the bucket when it needs to be recharged. His invention is currently located on a metal table in his back yard, where neighbors are free to stop by to wash their hands at any time.
VOA found children and adults alike washing their hands with the invention.
Dimanche says he’s not satisfied yet – this is just a start. He is still refining his invention and plans to introduce a new and improved prototype soon.
Haiti had 72 confirmed cases of the coronavirus as of April 23. Five people have died and two have recovered.