Digging for Wells, with Swords?

On November 8, 2012, in Uncategorized, by jon


“We don’t care if they oppose us.  We’ll dig while carrying swords if we have to!”

– Local Tinga-Tinga resident

Swords?  Really?  Yes, really.  In order to understand the urgency of the preceding quote, you need to understand a bit about a place called Tinga-Tinga.  It is a village in northwest Bali, far away from any tourist attractions or population centers.  It is right along the sea and the land rises quickly into hills and mountains split by valleys.  Most of the valleys only have a dry riverbed at the bottom, but in one of these valleys, there is a small river that flows.  It is protected by a Balinese water conservation group and provides a lot of water for the rice fields closer to the ocean.  Locals are not allowed to take any water from the river except for what they can carry in a bucket.

A small community of about 60 families in Tinga-Tinga is located right along one of these dry riverbeds.  They have been struggling to obtain a reliable water source for as long as most of the people can remember.  It is incredibly dry and hot.  Poverty is widespread.

After a lot of unfulfilled promises from the government and other organizations, this small community finally thought ALB was going to provide the solution.  People were excited.  After an initial survey, we were excited too about the drastic difference we could accomplish for this community with some very simple solutions.

Pak Made leads the way to the spring

Our plan was simple: dig a well and allow gravity to pipe the water 1.5 kilometers to a small network of pipes and tanks for the community.  An agreement to buy land for the well was signed, the village leaders gave their approval, and all was going very smoothly.  Then the problems started…

The local water conservation group came in and opposed the community’s plan to dig a well.  They made a “new” rule which made the planned well unfeasible.  This group has been solely in charge of the water in Bali for over 900 years (you can read more about them by clicking here), so most people, government leaders, and communities are unwilling to mix it up with them.

The community was mad.  Their dream of locally accessible water was falling apart again.  They appealed to several local and regional leaders and councils, but they couldn’t get the decision reversed.  They called Pak Nyoman, the water project supervisor for ALB, and wanted him to come and oversee the digging of the contested well.  They were ready to head to the site and work with shovels in one hand and swords in the other.  It was getting to be a serious situation.

Fortunately, we were able to convince the community to look for another solution, and just several days ago, a man from the community wanted to show us a small spring that his family no longer used.  He emphasized how small it was, so we weren’t too hopeful that it would be adequate for over 300 people.   It was a long, hot walk along a dry riverbed and then into a narrow gully.  Then there it was, water!

All smiles in Tinga-Tinga

Further testing is needed, but it appears that this “small spring” is actually several separate springs and could be more than adequate to provide for the needs of the entire community.

So everyone is excited again!  The work starts next week…

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Happy New Year

On January 3, 2011, in Uncategorized, by sashi

We ended 2010 with a Christmas party- where Arie and Nyoman caught the fish for a bbq and the women spent all day cooking a variety of Balinese dishes We are also very grateful for all the people who’ve supported us financially in 2010 – special thanks for Mandy Hanna for her sterling fundraising efforts, and the group of friends from Sydney who decided that rather than do a gift exchange among themselves this year, they would collect the money and give it to us instead. Champions!

After a lovely 2 week break over Christmas, all the staff met in the office today for the first day back of 2011. We celebrated through some highlights of 2010 and what our vision of how things can be improved for 2011. One thing that kept recurring was the need for more follow up- both from the MATeam and also the Water teams.  We need to work out a good strategy and focus for the ever increasing needs of the Balinese people, while we only have limited manpower and resources. We realised that logistically we can’t help the whole of Bali, we need to choose certain areas and really pour our time and energies into helping the people in those areas as thoroughly as possible.

TIGAWASA – water project update

Had some setbacks last year when the drill bits on the bore kept breaking down because of the hard rock which we had to drill through. Unfortunately, the water source , when we finally came to it, was too small to be of use. So the new plan is to use a existing water source about 1km away and build holding tanks and use pipes to bring it to the community.

PANGKUNG LIP LIP- water project update

The boring has been completed – next step  build h0lding tanks for the water which will be drawn up from the bore, and start piping it to households.

MATeam – the team are working out how to best use their time between surveying new patients and following up on existing patients. There’s only 4 of them plus 1 driver so it’s a real stretch of their time. And as much as it pains them to do it, they can’t help everyone that asks or at least have to respond more slowly so that they can be effective to the people they do help!