Instant expert

Five days since my first glimpse of the devastation first-hand, I have found out just how valuable one person can be. My role is to take over the water filtration and sanitation for the local community from another Aussie guy, Karl, who is leaving in 2 days, and who was also as unknowledgeable about this area as I am. We are using a self-contained filter system supplied by an NGO (Samaritan’s Purse) who fortunately did deliver the system and train up Karl on how to use it, but unfortunately do not have the personnel to man the system. So a half day of training and a step-by-step manual, and first Karl and now myself have to become water filtration experts: pumping out the water from each of the public wells, filtering out as much of the dirt and particles as possible through the carbon-based filtration system, and treating with chlorine to kill as many of the water-borne diseases as possible. Over salination of some wells is another problem, and unfortunately the system we have at our disposal does not fix that, hence some wells cannot be utilised at all at this time.

Karl and I are not the only unskilled volunteers who have arrived and had to become instant experts. Amongst a number of others, a Canadian couple backpacking in Thailand arrived here 3 weeks ago and are now in charge of clearing sites and construction of longer-term temporary shelters. They are being hurriedly trained up on how the shelters are constructed by the NGO supplying them, but then it’s up to them to get them built over three sites within the local area, with the help of various local trades people.

Anyway, gotta go now. Off to be involved with a couple of other tasks required around here. First to go and do some activities with the local kids, as it is a very important part of the overall healing process for them. And then after that a few of us are off to help the 4-man French engineering team pull down a large wall that is very unstable and a harzard.

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