Monday, March 25, 2013

A village called Railuli

IMGP1941 Finally, after 8 months of waiting, a large shipment of Bibles has arrived in Timor-Leste!  Both publishers, the Catholics and Wycliffe Bible Translators, have brought scriptures into the country so distribution can recommence.  About 150 scriptures have gone out in the last week to young people, teachers and distributors.  Many, many Timorese love to get their hands on a Bible as they believe in God but don't have access to any scriptures. 
On Saturday, we went out to the mountains to visit a village.  Its about 20km as the crow flies but took us about 3 hours to get there, mainly because some shorter roads were washed out in the wet season.  The main task was to inspect an area to extend a water system.  My ability to survey systems has been radically improved by using a smart phone with GPS.  This allows pretty accurate calculation of the location, distance between important points and change in altitude.  The information can be mapped in Google Earth where we can show the layout of the houses and where joins, taps and tanks will be. 
Standing at the spring where water flows along split bamboo into an old drum.
I also go armed with prices of standard items such as the cost and length of a roll of polypipe and the associated fittings.  We measure the water at different locations using a stopwatch and a bottle measured to 1 litre.  This system will serve about 16 homes with about 120 people.  A minimum requirement from Government is that each household gets 30 litres per day for their drinking, cooking, washing and bathing needs (do you think your household of 8 could handle that?)  The current source supplies around 3 litres of water per minute which should amply provide these needs as well as extra water for vegetable gardens.  I am encouraging the community to come up with half the cost of the supplies as well as provide the labour to dig trenches.  Each household will need to contribute $25 for the 400m long system.  I believe its very important to get them to contribute because not only does it demonstrate that they are serious about doing this but they also learn the importance of setting aside some of their money for water.  In the past, the main function of money was to settle wedding and funeral arrangements.  Thousands of dollars go into these ceremonies every year while Timor-Leste is reported to have the highest rate of stunting in the world.
While we were in the village we also got to hand out some Bibles and encourage them to read it each day and pray.  At the risk of sounding cliché, its my firm belief that a simple walk with Jesus is the first and most fundamental step in solving the problems that these people face.  I shared this message with them in the house of a man who was murdered with a machete a couple of months back over a money lending issue.  There are some very beautiful things about village life but also many difficulties.   A very sick man had been suffering from a high fever and some sort of kidney infection (blood in the urine).  Its a long walk out of this village so they asked if I could take him to hospital in Dili.  The track to his house was a bit washed out but we were able to get down to him and back out again with a prayer and a troop carrier (toughest car in the world – thanks to Seeds of Life for the lend).
I hope you have a great week, that fresh water flows freely for you at a place not too far away and that you have a Bible to read, should you want to do so.

1 comment:

Karen @ Pieces of Contentment said...

Brilliant post, a reality check too for us in our comfort at "home". You are all doing a great job. Big hello to Bethany too!