LearnToLive Indonesia 2012
Sustainable Water Team
4 villages (Sapa, Beringin, Likupang + Bunaken)
over 1000 patients cared for
2 babies born
1 street named in our honor
This summer a group of 22 people traveled around North Sulawesi in Indonesia setting up temporary health clinics in four villages. The group included doctors, nurses, public health care professionals, translators, educators, documentarians, an architect and a landscape architect. It was an amazing journey!
Mara Lepere-Schloop and I are currently the Sustainable Water Team. Our job was to get a basic understanding of each villages' water quality needs. The coastal villages all have wells that are brackish. This water is used for washing, and on occasion for cooking, but they can't drink it. The wells are probably contaminated with worse things too as their sewage is running amok in the ground. Some of them have tied into spring water sources, which may also be contaminated. Connecting to springs is ideal, but usually involves a lot more money to build pipe lines to the source. We saw that even when this was done, it could fail after the fact due to village rivalries and poor understanding of on-going maintenance. This is the case in the mountain village, Beringin. Here they also have wells, some of which they don't drink from anymore since the water started turning yellow. Nobody knew why. There were also some filtration systems we saw attached to well water, but usually broken. Maybe because the pump machinery was undersized, tired out and then no one ever fixed it. Nobody is collecting rain water in any significant way. The only place we saw it was on the Island Bunaken. Even if they do, they can't rely on rain water during the dry seasons, which can last six months. They all buy bottled water, which is expensive and contributes to their growing litter problems.
We are planning to return next summer to build some low tech rain water collection systems to help diversify where and how they collect water. In at least two of the villages there are plans to design and install projects at the junior high schools. The kids are old enough to learn about how to build these systems and hopefully help their families do it at home. We also intend to develop a curriculum around the use of rain water and larger environmental issues that can be used by the science teachers year round.