Saturday, October 14, 2006

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

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