Another of our Major Initiative Projects is underway – this time Clean Water. Jay and Ada Henrie arrived Saturday as the Church water specialists assigned to this area. They came to us after visiting Vietnam and Cambodia. Busy people!
Our first visit was to four villages near the town of Lamongan (Bakalan, Pule, Sekan and Tikung) where the Church put in a water system a couple years ago. This was to check on the status and see how the project is serving the people of the village. The answer is – sort of ok. There are several wells and storage tanks, some working well, some not so much. In one well, the pump continues to burn out because there is not enough water coming in, so the tank never fills up, so the pump continues to run and burns out. (The answer isn’t to keep replacing the pump, the answer is to fix the amount of water coming into the well or to fix the float in the tank so the pump will shut off.) The others seem to be working fine and distributing water where it’s supposed to – schools, homes in the village, etc..
It’s tough to see some of the conditions people live in – but it’s their life. They work the fields every single day for very little and even with this ‘clean’ water, they still have to boil it. Some of the wells are very shallow and it’s basically pumping surface water, sometimes, right out of local ponds….but our effort are to provide what the locals want, not come in and tell them what they want. At least most of the homes have a water spigot outside, which prior to this system, they did not – they had to walk to the pond and carry it back. Each home has to pay Rp 1,000 per month for the water (about $.08) to maintain the system (ie; burned out pumps.) It’s absolutely essential for those receiving help to be able to sustain the system – otherwise it’s just giving stuff away that they may not want and they are not learning the principle of self-reliance. It’s critical for the locals to have input to decide what THEY want and not what WE decide they need. Pictures later of what happens outsiders decide what locals need.