PAPUA NEW GUINEA LOI LOI VILLAGE WATER PROJECT

 

 

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Even with the aid of Google Maps and Wikipedia, Loi Loi in Papua New Guinea is hard to find.

Five hours by boat from the bustling Port of Kimbe on the north coast, Loi Loi is a tiny community. The 90 odd-locals exist largely on subsistence farming, growing vegetables and farming pigs.

However the villagers of Loi Loi face a significant issue every year with no permanent water supply.

Loi Loi’s water comes from a small spring which dries up, putting incredible strain on the close community. Lack of water for sanitation means skin infections and ulcers are commonplace, issues compounded by the isolation.

Loi Loi’s plight came to the attention of South Bunbury Rotarian Terry Coote while bass fishing in remote West New Britain Province.

Terry was fortunate enough to meet Riccard Riemann, not only the fishing charter operator, but also an ex Rotarian in Kimbe where he owns and operates a hardware business.

Riccard organised a meeting with Loi Loi’s village elder, who was more than pleased with the plan to supply a water system. A proposal was put to South Bunbury members and strongly supported.

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Significantly, funds allocated for this project were originally raised jointly by a sponsored walk of the Kokoda Track in 2010 by Rotarians Gordon Golby, Neil Hamilton, Neil Sinclair, Murray and Lorraine Connop, Len Andell, Terry Coote and other invited friends and family members. The other funding source was from the “Recycled Battery Project” coordinated by Murray Harris.

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Terry said the big challenge was the communication, negotiation and simple logistics of the project.

“We had to work out what items would be required, establish a cost of those and more importantly, how to get two 9,000 litre tanks, fascia boards and gutters needed for the chosen village hut and all other materials to the Loi Loi Village 5 hours away from Kimbe by boat and bush roads,” Terry said.

“We resolved the issues as best we could and set a 1-week timeframe to complete the project.”

In an itinerary which would rival the Amazing Race TV show, Terry & Kevin Coote travelled from Bunbury to Perth, flew to Brisbane, then to Port Moresby, then to Hoskins, then by road to Kimbe, then finally by boat to Loi Loi taking 5 hours.

“Again with Riccard’s invaluable help, local villagers were organised to assist with carpentry, building the base for the two 9,000 litre tanks, fixing gutters, running 200 metres of poly pipe through the village and buried underground with 5 upstand taps,” Terry said.

“It was a pleasure to see the talent and efforts put in by the men, women and children of Loi Loi Village, all desperate to get a constant fresh water supply and a better standard of life and health.”

The villagers were delighted with the support from the Bunbury club. Before flying out, the Rotarians were treated to a Thank You dance ceremony and sing sing, culminating in the presentation of unexpected local gifts that will be treasured for life.

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“Some of the locals could not comprehend why someone they had never met would come so far and spend so much of their time to give them the valuable gift of a fresh water supply,” Terry said.

“Doesn’t it make you just so proud to be a Rotarian at these special times?”

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The Kokoda Walk participants

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The Loi Loi Village Kids

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Loi Loi Village

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Existing water supply .. drinking, washing etc 

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Chosen house because of largest iron roof

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9000L Tanks

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Many hands!!

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Putting the lid on ... not as easy as it looks.

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Scaffold

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Hot and heavy work .. no trouble for the locals.

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Tanks complete.

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All the helpers, a proud and grateful village

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Supply Line

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Thank you ceremony

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Emotional Farewell