Water… That precious liquid that falls from the sky and comes up from the ground. Able to give health and life … or bring death. One wouldn’t think that clean drinking water would exactly be a problem in the middle of a tropical rainforest! Yet as communities have grown and nomadic ways have decreased, finding a viable, consistent public water supply has presented many challenges.
Over the years, finding reliable, drinkable water sources and tapping them into the local villages has been one of our first and primary community development projects.
Listed below are the primary water development projects we are helping the Banwaon people with. After the project list you’ll find more details and history telling how having clean water has made an enormous difference physically for the people in the area. If you would like to help with any of these projects, we’d welcome your involvement. See our Contact Page if you’d like more information, to ask specific questions or to donate.
Village 1 A large village 11km from us and catering for about 400 people, this village does have a water supply which the Government put in some years ago. However the source is an open stream and the people in this village constantly complain of stomach issues. Project:
- Survey surrounding area for a better source
- Cap the source with concrete and pipe it to the village
- Build community water collection point with shelter
- Estimated cost: $1000
Village 2 A newer, smaller village 14km away has been asking for help with a water supply. Although this is lower on the priority list … it is still on the list! It will be a similar project with parallel costs to Village 1.
Village 3 Just 2 km away, we’re happy to report that this village’s water supply has been functional and working well for several years. Project complete!
Village 4 Just across the river is probably the best, most reliable water supply project. Pure spring water pours out from a rocky area just across the valley from the village. All our co-worker at the time had to do was insert a pipe and take it back across the valley to the village where it has consistently run ever since! Project complete!
Village 5 This village was an off-shoot of one of the main villages as it expanded. We were able to help the people here with their water source in 2009. Since then the water has run consistently even during dry times, although it needed some repairs after Typhoon Pablu in December 2012. Project complete!
A word on how help is given
As with almost all the community development or aid projects we do, we are not in the business of just giving hand-outs. In order to best help the people and encourage independence, ownership and responsibility, we will help with organizing the project and purchasing materials. The community are responsible for providing labour, assistance with organization and at times part of the materials. Up until recently we and our co-workers at the time have paid for these community development projects from our personal ministry funds. As the villages are expanding and more needs are becoming apparent, we are unable to keep up financially with all the various projects. If you’d like to partner with us to see clean water help the Banwaon tribal people of Mindanao, please see our Contact Page. Be sure to mention which project you’d like to be involved in.
Photo: Janet Banks
When the Banwaon people were still fully nomadic, it wasn’t a problem to find a little spring or stream in the virgin jungle to drink and cook from.
For over 30 years the Banwaon have been increasingly congregating in villages. As those villages grow, it becomes more difficult to find clean water for everyone.
When we first came to live in a Banwaon village in 1993, the community water source was a muddy spring several hundred metres away in the jungle. In those early years, many of the medical problems we and our co-workers dealt with were skin related such as scabies, tropical ulcers and infected sores that wouldn’t clear up. Children simply weren’t bathed often and clothes weren’t washed regularly. Intestinal problems such as amoeba, bacterial infections and urinary tract infections were big issues too. The earliest missionaries committed to finding and developing a clean, viable water source for each of the main villages in the area. This is a pledge that we’ve continued. It’s a big job. Several new villages have been established. Old water projects desperately need revamping.
Yet it’s a challenge we take seriously.
If there’s one community development project that can make a big difference in peoples’ lives physically –
it’s clean water.
Clean water piped to the village has meant the people drink more regularly – and the water is free of parasites. They wash their clothes. Children are bathed regularly. One of the special things for us, particularly as parents ourselves, has been to see a significant decrease in the number of skin problems and sores that used to be so prevalent amongst the children. Clean water! Such a basic need which we often take for granted. Yet so often simply not accessible in developing places.