Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Kanaan Report

By Dan Holmgren,

May 12, 2007

Meeting Notes Sunday, May 7, 2007

Lifewater team: Robin Rader and Dan Holmgren

In-Country team:

Epen Akay, Translator

Femy, In-Country project coordinator:

Singal, Project Engineer

Address: Manado, N. Sulawesi

Due to a cancelled flight from Kao, our site visit to the land (Kanaan) was cancelled. Instead, a meeting was arranged at Femy’s house in Manado to discuss solutions for the erosion problem and get the verbal update on the project from Singal

Summary of previous visit: In Febrary 2007, Jim Aldrich and Jerry Colp surveyed the Lata Lata property known as Kanaan and assessed the project giving a summary of the erosion issues and possible general solutions. It was suggested among other solutions that check dams should be built across the gullies and vegetation planted to inhibit surface erosion.

  • The solutions provided by Jim and Jerry in their site visit report from Feb 2007 were reviewed and discussed. Some of the solutions had been implemented.

  • Singal stated that he had started building houses in the eroded zone….possibly 13 brick houses were in place although no one had moved in yet.

  • Check dams made of gabions were constructed in the eroded section of the property. Possibly 7 check dams had been constructed over a 300 meter length of the main gully. (Comment: We suggested this was not sufficient and more dams would be required.)

  • Singal said he didn’t install any check dams below the excavated zone because it had not eroded there. (Comment: Because of increased runoff from the excavation this assumption is probably not well founded – check dams may be needed to control the increased volume even below the excavation.)

  • Buildup of eroded material was a problem again this rainy season…. The beach road had again been inundated with eroded soil.

  • 135 meters of concrete ditch had been constructed in the main gully near the wood shed.

  • Jeff Hammond was looking into buying more land adjacent to the existing property. This is unconfirmed and the reason was not given. (He is expected to pay a visit to the area within a month.)

  • Grass had been planted. Other vegetation was discussed. Fast growing ground vegetation is optimal… a certain type used to plant in palm groves to keep underbrush from taking over was suggested.

Conclusion: Construction on the excavated land is proceeding. Erosion remains a problem. It appears that the solutions suggested by Jim and Jerry are being attempted but additional professional designs of the construction of larger solutions on the property is recommended. Solutions are probably not well understood by the construction team and engineers but they are making some positive progress.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Sasur Site Visit Report

By Dan Holmgren,

May 4, 2007

Lifewater team: Robin Rader and Dan Holmgren

In-Country team:

Epen Akay, Translator

Teddy Lappy, In-Country project coordinator:

Cell phone: +6285657085690

Address: Hohidiai Clinic, Kusuri, North Halmahera

Summary of previous findings for Sasur: In October 2005, Jim Aldrich (and team) surveyed four water sites that the village uses for its water needs. All sites are some distance from the village making them awkward for frequent use. The report suggested using rooftop runoff to supply more water for people. It was assumed that the water depth would probably be too deep for the Clinic’s drill equipment. The people are neglecting hygiene and healthy washing habits and, as a result, the village, reportedly, has a high rate of health problems.

Purpose of Current Project:

Hohidiai Clinic was invited by the Pastor of the church in Sasur to teach basic hygiene and water purification to the villagers. The team consisted of 20 Indonesian health workers from the clinic with direction from Lifewater team members Dan Holmgren and Robin Rader from Alaska. Half of the team went to nearby Popon to teach.

  • To follow up on status after the visit of Jim Aldrich and team in October 2005 (Report dated Feb 27, 2006)

  • Teach basic Hygiene to interested villagers. The health workers taught two sessions of basic hygiene training for the villagers of all ages. (Estimated 60 children and 20 adults)

  • Discuss with the Village adults how to improve their living conditions and provide direction in deciding what issues to work on first. After the hygiene training, a community meeting was held in the church for the purpose of discussing the basic health and hygiene needs of the community. The Pastor and the Village Leader were present . A Lifewater type mapping exercise was employed to stimulate discussion. The number one overwhelming need of the community was the lack of a consistent water supply. From the meeting and in interviews with various people the following information was determined:

General information and findings:

Population: 361, Families: 72

Water bore at village center: Several months after Jim Aldrich’s survey, a local Gold Mine contracted with a drilling company to construct a bore on property donated by the village leader, four lots away from the church. The project remains incomplete.


  • GPS Loc N1° 14.234’, E127° 51.525’
  • 4” diameter bore casing (the pvc cap had been pried open) protected by up-turned drum
  • The concrete structure for a water tower was complete but had no tank on top.

According to the Pastor there had been an attempt by the village to measure the water in the bore in the dry season. The water at that time was 40 meters below the surface and the bottom of the bore was 62 meters. These figures are unconfirmed. Funds for this bore were supplied entirely by the Gold Mine as a part of their community development program. The village also receives Rp 50,000,000 per year from Gold Mine funds which are distributed by the government. The next installment of funds are expected in August or September 2007. The village may use these funds to improve their water situation.

Many homes were using crude rainwater catchments systems to make use of the rains which at this time of year occur every afternoon. Larger tanks may help to provide a more consistent supply of water.

The Pastor says the people spend the nights in the fields to keep the wild pigs from destroying the crop. The fields are mostly within ½ hour travel from Sasur. Water is often more plentiful in the fields and so the workers find it more convenient to stay out.

The village is closely linked with the neighbor village of Popon which is approximately 3 km to the northwest. In 1982 both villages lived together in a location that was flooded out. Both villages moved at which time the Popon village leader gave the people of Sasur the land in the current location to help them get re-established. In 1984 a World Bank program funded the construction of two wells near Popon that were to serve both communities with water. The project was abandoned for un-known reasons. A concrete tank is visible at the location.

In the dry season water is hauled by truck to Sasur and sold for Rp5000 / 20 liters.


Powerlines are visible in both Popon and Sasur but there is no power. Recently, in Popon, (14) houses were installed with electrical distribution and are waiting for the system to be activated. As a result Sasur villagers assume that power may be coming their way soon. Two years ago the power was functional but was turned off for unknown reasons.

Summary: Residents of Sasur have been waiting for their water bore project to be completed for approximately 1 ½ years. They had assumed the Gold Mine would complete the project but are beginning to think it is abandoned. More information from the Gold Mine is required to determine the status of the project.


May 3, 2007 A second community meeting was held to inform the people of the status. The Gold Mine agreed to have a meeting at Hohidiai Clinic on May 4 and further information would be available at that time. The Pastor and the Head of the Village were elected to attend the meeting.

Further community related issues were discussed.

Garbage: It was agreed that the people would dig pits behind their house and dispose of their refuse -- One pit for two houses.

Fire in the Fields: Seasonal wild fires occasionally threaten the crops. The question of how to control the fires was raised. Several ideas were discussed but no resolution was reached.

Pigs in the Fields: Wild pigs frequently destroy quantities of the crops. The people often stay out over night in the fields to control the damage and the effort consumes much of the communities’ energies. Trapping is usually used to control them. The question about how to better control the pigs was raised with no resolution.

May 4, 2007 A meeting was arranged at the Hohidiai Clinic.

Present were:

Gold Mine employees, Swingli and Harris

Sasur representatives, Pastor (Rajan?) and the Head of the Village

Lifewater Volunteers, Dan Holmgren, Robin Rader

Hohidiai Clinic Director, Peter Scarborough.

Hohidiai Workers, Epen Akay, Teddy Lappy

Swingli, community development coordinator for the mine, informed everyone that the project was still very active and was eager to state that construction on the water tank would begin immediately and the entire project with installation of an electric submersible pump would be complete within two weeks. The Gold Mine would provide the construction manpower to do the work. Materials to construct the concrete tank on the water tower had been delivered to the site on May 3.

It was decided that the 3 kw generator owned by the church would have enough power to run the well pump, and the Gold Mine would provide an electric cable, sized to cover the 200 meters between the generator and the pump without a large voltage drop.

Conclusion: A significant advancement has been made with these proceedings. The water well project appears to have been given an infusion of energy and if all goes as planned the people will have drinking water within two weeks.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

General Blog Report #1

Friday Arrive Manado, North Sulawesi, spend one night in the Formosa, make plans with Femy for visiting the Lata Lata site on our return.

Saturday Travel day, Fly to Ternate and by speed boat to Sofifi, then public minivan to arrive Kusuri at 8:30pm…

Sunday attend church service in Tobelo and catch up with Peter and Esther. Peter is immediately onto setting up the BGAN satellite receiver that I brought. One of his workers took an old water container and made a rain protection dome for the antenna and mounted it on the roof. The reception is excellent and fast. Without a doubt this will be a money saver. In addition Peter can send and receive SMS messages which will help communicate with Tobelo and Manado in a big way.

Monday Prep day. We spend the day purchasing teaching supplies.

Tuesday; The first ½ day of class from 9 to 12:30.

Wednesday A full day of class from 8:30: to 5:00pm

Thursday another ½ day of class and then a demonstration of filter construction.

This year’s students have been in clinic basic training now for 2 months. The students are still getting use to each other and finding out what is required of them. When we arrived Esther let three of them go because they weren’t making the grade, some missing the point of the work altogether. It is pretty critical to weed out the class early or they end up investing time in workers that won’t make it in the long run.

Friday April 27: After doing 3 days of Hygiene training with our team we spent the morning at the local grade school watching last years hygiene students teach a class of 4th, 5th and 6th grade students. Sitting in the back of the school room the whole class seemed very absorbed in the lessons. Anis, Onald, Olan and Sara took the stories we had taught them a year ago and put life into them. Onald and Anis acted out a skit, they invented, and the hand washing song was a big hit as usual. This was very encouraging for Robin and I because it meant that last year’s training was not lost….in fact the whole presentation was exceptionally well done and clearly had been rehearsed and presented several times previously. Next week the medical team will teach the Fire Safety course to the same grade school students. The Fire Safety course was taught to this new medical team by the February, 2007 Fairbanks team, ( Cady’s, Aldrich’s, and Colp’s) using the same kind of participatory teaching methods.

We had changed our schedule to be able to observe this class and I think the day was worth working around…to observe the outcome of our efforts from last year.

After dinner we presented the Lifewater hygiene training certificates. Our students showed a great deal of appreciation. Three days of teaching seems like such a small amount of information to pass on yet the enthusiasm for us to do this teaching is huge, Peter and Esther are pleased because it fits so well with their goals for this work.

Saturday, April 28: I spent the morning doing some mapping of the grounds with Murray and his twin brother Caleb. (Murray will take a year off because he is getting married to Bronwyn. Caleb will fill in while he is gone.) Murray has planted so many fruit trees around that in about 5 years this place will be a paradise. There are durion, lansat, rambutan, mangostene, nutmeg, coffee, avocado and others. Lemon trees will be coming soon. Many of these will be profitable. If there was an export arrangement for the coffee it could be very worthwhile but local people do not provide enough market so it needs exporting.

Seismic Check on Buildings: Peter showed the damage that was due to the last earthquake. It appears pretty superficial but the next few buildings will be constructed with a little more thought to seismic proofing. The new hospital ward will have a new type of construction with solid concrete walls cast between surface layers of some sort of fiber reinforced concrete boards. The gold mine is providing the design and materials for this – the mine is proving to be a great ally in this work.

Sunday, April 29: Beach day. Together with Murray, Bronwyn, Caleb, Jaimee and the kids with several others we spent the day at a very nice coral beach snorkeling and cooking Damper -- bread on a stick (pronounced ‘dampah’ by the Ausies). The choral was everywhere and I butchered up my feet trying to get past to the deep water. I already had major bug bites so the combination of cuts and bites aggravating.

Monday, April 30: 12 pm -- Sitting in the base house just before lunch the rain is coming down in buckets and the whole class is inside preparing for what I call the ‘practicum’ of the class where we go to a village to teach. We leave in 2 hours. The room is so loud with the rain on the roof but spirits are high as the excitement of the road trip is building. The students are nearly prepared. They are coloring poster sets and singing songs that they intend to teach. The drumming is beautiful. A thunder clap sounded so loud outside the house it set the 3 year old Joey to screaming.

Arriving in Sasur about 4:30pm we were entertaining the children in the school yard tying balloons when the pastor arrived and welcomed us into his house. He said we should start our class immediately since the evenings are the best time to get adult participation. One of the teams quickly organized themselves and presented the first half of our training. It went pretty well but I could see where we didn’t really make the lessons clear to our students and as a result they made some errors. I still have to figure out how to correct such errors without embarrassing the new trainees in front of the whole village.

Tuesday, May 1: Presentation in Popon, approx 3km further on the road from Sasur. We made the presentation to a group of 30 adults, mostly elderly…no children. It appears the village must have understood the class was for the older group of residents.

Wednesday, May 2

Thursday, May 3

Friday, May 4 Meet with the Gold Mine community development man, Swingli. (and Harris).

Saturday, May 5 Flight cancelled out of Kao -- trip to Kanaan cancelled.

Sunday, May 6 Last night spent at Santika

Monday, May 7 Flight at 7:45pm Manado to Singapore

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Trip Purpose

Team Members: Dan, Robin & Don

The idea is to train trainers-- to leave behind students prepared to teach others who in turn can teach others.

Following last year's Lifewater style ( www.lifewater.org ) training we have once again decided to do a water filter and hygiene training for trainers on the island of Halmahera, Indonesia. This time the project will include:
  1. one week training twenty 'beginning' medical students in community health and planning. (water filter construction and hygiene)
  2. one week visiting a remote village (Sasur) to consider how to best adapt our teaching to this island's culture.
  3. 4 days on several other on-going projects.
We have been commissioned to carry burn treatment suppies as the clinic is loaded to capacity with victims of a recent accident.