Monday, October 30, 2006

Pouring the concrete for the walls of the third and last tank. Thank god this one is in the shade. I am done 100+ degree work locations.

The solar array for the first of three solar pumps.

installing pipe up to a tank. Laleia in the distance.

Shot of the round-the-world cyclist eating a crepe with our pig at our house in Laleia

Miles from nowhere

Miles from nowhere

I started reading a book I have wanted to read for years called Miles from nowhere last week.   It is about a couple who bikes around the world.  Three days later my boss meets a guy on a bike on the streets of Dili who is riding around the world.   My boss stopped after the site of the bike which he only recognized because he too has tried to ride around the world.  He has made it from france to East Timor.   The biker here was spanish and has been going about 4 or 5 months so far.  He is alone and has been in Australia, New Zealand, Papau New Guinea, and now East Timor.   He plans to be travelling for 2 years.  My boss offered him a place to stay with Vincent and I Laleia.  Sure enough the next day here appeared in laleia after biking from dili.  He left the next morning for Laga I think.  He is going to an full loop of Timor going all the way the Los Palos and back through the south road to Ramalou and then to Indonesia and west Timor.



We are reaching the very last weeks of the water and sanitation program here.  The last tank is near completion and we have started the installation of the solar panels and pumps.   This week we should have the first one installed completely with water flowing in the town.  I will extend my contract once again until the end of November.   After that I will truly be done and will either go back to the US or find a new job.  I actually hope to do both.   I have some vacation days that I can use at the end of nov and if I find a new job here can then come back to start that in dec or jan.



There was a large party in Cairui this weekend put on by the church.  It was a celebration for a new Amo or Padre or Priest.   It was by far the largest party I have been to with a couple thousand participants.  We heard a rumor in Dili that one or all of the malaes there made it on TV as well.   The only negative part of the party were the speeches and announcements by what must of been Portuguese missionaries.  Either way they represented the catholic church.   My reaction to their words includes anger and pity.  If nothing else their words are a formal declaration of war.   There goal to keep East Timorese poor and suffering and fight against development.  Actual comments by them included them pleading for East Timorese to have as many babies as possible to populate the country.   (East Timor currently has the highest birthrate in the world about 7.3 children/woman)  They said foreigners are rich and have material excess but have no spirt whereas the Timorese have nothing but are very rich in spirit.   When ever they announced anything they never mentioned the people as people but as baptised people.  It was interesting to see although it enraged me.  


In my group was me, vincent and his girlfriend, cedric and his fiance, and two friends from Dili.   We hit the party left after dancing and camped on the beach.  It was a good eclectic time with the foreigners, cultural experience, and the beach camping.   It ended with us enjoying some barbecued fish and coconut rice on the beach.  Not a bad way to end the weekend.
miss ya!
lv jesse 

Jesse Shapiro
flipflop...not a shoe...a lifestyle.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Pouring the tank's roof. You can see the dry river in the back ground. It is sooooo hot and dry we pour concrete and cover it immediately.

the first water spewing out of well head

Water at last

Hey yall.  sup?  It has been a while since my last post.  We had a couple busy weeks where we were drilling wells and finishing the construction of the largest tank (check the photos).  I didn't make it into dili on weekends as we were watching over and praying that we would find water.  If  you wonder why i am not back in the states yet it is because I have signed a one month contract extension to mid November.  After that will still look for more work and probably stay even a bit longer.
We drilled three bore hole wells all three ending up productive.  Two of them produce just about a 1L/s and the has over 5L/s.  The system design only requires 1L/s so looks like it will be just fine.  There was a lot of stress involved as almost a year of work has been put into this project to date all hinging on whether we will find water or not.  This is not how it should of been done but we had to drill in the dry season and the project started in the wet season so they had no choice.  It was a big risk but has payed off.  The community is now only weeks from clear water with the river close to empty it is perfect timing.
Here in Timor the word "adat" means traditional ceremony.  As I have described previously Timorese will use there traditional culture for many things including sickness, death, and nature.  In Timor when you drill a well or dig a large hole in the ground it is proper to perform an "adat".  In the case of our wells these past weeks the community needed to perform this ceremony.  The ceremony is run by a spiritual healer called a "matan dook" (far eye) who performs the rituals.  They ask their ancestors for the the licence to make the hole,  they throw in money, sacrifice some animals and food, and use beetle nut.  At the end everyone sits around and eats.  Well I might add for a Timorese.  We ate goat and pig freshly killed and roasted during the ritual.  It was quite good.      
Jesse visit
Last weekend Jesse Wright and a friend came for a visit to Laleia and Cairui.  I don't know if I mentioned it before but Cairui is Jesse's former Peace Corps site.  It is quite a strange coincidence that I ended up working there too.  Most people in Cairui only know two foreigners both named Jesse, both former PCVs.  Anyway his visit was needed and I for sure wanted to be there too to see the Timorese wig out.  The first night we camped on the beach in Laleia.  On Saturday we walked into Cairui and hung out for the day.  It was fun as we joked around with all the timorese.  It was also good to see Jesse interact with people he had spent almost two years with.
Wells and Tank
The second tank.  The ginormous one is finally finished, with just under 250 sacks of cement and one month of time in the hottest driest part of timor.  It should eventually hold 60,000 Liters of water.  With two tanks down there is only one to go.  It is small by comparison.  This week we already poured the floor, tied the rebar, and have built the forms for the walls.  Two more weeks and the heavy work will be finished. 
Master's Research
I have started my master's research project and will include my current work in Cairui as a case study.  The topic is contract management of construction of water and sanitation systems in the developing world.  Sound boring.  Not to me.  In fact it is quite the hot topic in Timor right now.  How to build a water system?  with free community labor?  food incentive for work? or payed professionals?  All have there pros and cons.  The project I have working on gives the workers lunch and a bit a food for each day of work.  It is not the norm of free community labor.  I will explore these ideas and do a case study for three communities on this project. 
Ok off again.  take care.  miss ya. lv jesse

A happy boy bathing in the well water just after we hit water and it spewed from the well head.

The second tank is finished. Only took a month too but probably a year off my life. This is a shot of the crew on the last day. I am the white guy with the blue shirt.