Support for water program in Timor Leste
17 January 2017
Timor-Leste water support, start! Field Reports vol.2
We visited one of the Ono’s targeting areas, Hatu Lailete sub-village in Urahou.
We previewed the situation of community and school children who will benefit from Ono’s contributions from 2017 to 2019. Mountain scenery characterizes Timor Leste, and it’s somehow akin to the city of Ono.
Lack of access to water supply means that women and children are taking the burden of fetching water from water sources on the mountain. This is an everyday work very early in the morning. Many women and children in Timor Leste face this predicament on a daily basis.
When we arrived at the village, more than a hundred villagers welcomed us, which was the case as the previous day. We headed for the water source at the mountain peak, and we participated in a traditional ceremony to warship of water god, and to cerebrate starting the construction of the GFS. We inferred from their expression that they are so excited about the fact that they will soon have their own water system which they will be able to utilize in everyday life.
Vice Mayor Mr. Kon made a brief address on behalf of Ono.
Mr. Kon said that he and his team were so happy to have this opportunity to meet all of them, and that they were ready to render financial support for installing gravity-fed water supply system. That will provide reliable water supply.
Then we visited Urahou Elementary School, one of the places which the GFS will be connected to.
The school now does not have access to the improved water system so the students have to fetch water from a water source behind the school, taking them about 25 minutes on foot.
The children sang songs to express their appreciation for our support.
We presented school children footballs in appreciation of their performance.
Football is very popular in Timor Lester.
The next day, we came back to the Urahou Elementary School, and played football with children. Mr. Yoshida, who is a coach for the kid’s football teams in Ono, energetically led the game.
The team promoted friendships with through plying with football as well as Japanese origami. Every child was friendly and adorable, but we have a real concern that they seem to be a bit smaller for their age. In Timor-Leste, coupled with the water issues, inadequate nutrition also remains a critical issue, with more than 50 percent of children under five stunted due to chronic malnutrition.
After leaving the school and went to the water source, we interviewed with local redidents.
When we asked about how you feel about fetching water, everyone said it is hard work.
Then we asked “what would you do if you had a gravity-fed water system?”
The villagers seemed not knowing how to answer to this question.
Ms. Fukahori, the interpreter who has lived in Timor-Leste for 6 years, told us,
“It seems difficult for them to imagine the lives with the improved water sources.
But over the course of exchanging words each other, everyone relaxed and
started telling us like;
“I want my children to bathe.”
“I want to wash dishes.”
“I want to do laundry.”
“I want to clean my house. I want to drink water.”
For us in Japan, we routinely conducted such activities as bathing children,
washing dishes, doing laundry, and drinking clean water, however, for people in this country, these activities are yet something special.
People in Timor Leste are most likely cheerful, positive and vibrant with full of energy, while at the same time, it’s also the fact that they are facing various life-threatening problems.
On the way back from Urahou, Mr. Kaeriyama from Ono spotted a leaky water pipe.
He said, “I would imagine that just a simple repair method would had not been widely spread across the country. I would love to teach people how to fix it.”
We appreciate people in Timor Leste for kindly welcoming us from the bottom of their hearts.
Their passionate hospitality touched our hearts, and helped reconfirm our strong determination to make difference in the lives of children in Timor Leste.
Ono will continue making a concerted effort to help and create togetherness with the people in Timor Leste, hoping at the same time this effort will have a positive impact on its citizens in reaffirming the gratitude for their heritage of water.
The construction of the gravity-fed water system in the Urahou is scheduled to be completed by July 2017.
Let’s come together to promote the rights and well-being of Timor Leste.
Let’s come together to enhance of the movement of the CWP forward.