Filming for Kiva, Indonesia TAKE FIVE
This was probably the most anticipated day of my Kiva journey - a chance to go on a field trip with Father Charlie (See Filming for Kiva, Indonesia TAKE ONE for info on Fr. Charlie). One of the newer initiatives that Father Charlie is working on is the transformation of a vast area of useless swampland into fertile farmland.
We were told that to get to this area, we would have a bit of a bumpy ride. That was an understatement... Because of the unpaved road we ventured on, we were bouncing around the car like never before. At one point, I was concerned that the car might roll over from the massive potholes. Does anyone remember Ace Ventura Two where Ace is bouncing around the Jeep as he's driving? This as a bit reminiscent of that, except for real. But it's ok, we made it safe and sound.
Forty years ago, most of the surrounding area of Cilacap was part of the sea, but due to sedimentation, much of it has disappeared and those who were previously fisherman have had to change careers and go into farming. There are several areas near Cilacap that have now turned into marshlands - neither good for fishing or farming. As such, Father Charlie, along with various heads of the villages have worked together to pump water out of the marsh lands so that the land can be used for farming.Workers/Volunteers building dock. Photo credit: Yungkit[/caption]
Father Charlie was able to raise several hundred thousand Euros from Ireland and Germany as grants to develop this area. However, this money is not a handout to the people. Both Father Charlie and the locals of the area do not believe in simple hand outs. Father Charlie explained it as being an idea that is deeply ingrained in Indonesian culture - to work and earn for themselves. Taking handouts without working for it would bring shame and dishonor to them. As such, through these grants, YSBS funds 70% of the initiative and the people of the village are responsible for 30%.
When we visited the area with the large pump that was pumping out the water from the marsh land, almost all of the people working were volunteers. They showed up to help their community. Father Charlie was visiting the site today to check on the progress of the pump - and to discuss the plan of which areas they would be pumping water out of. As we were driving, we could already see the areas that had been converted to farmland, specifically an area that was being prepped to grow coconut trees. Once complete, the land would be able to support 600 to 700 families.
Part of our agenda with Father Charlie today was to see how well the pumps were working. The should be pumping water from the mini lake to other areas for irrigation. We followed the large tubing from the lake all the way to the other end and waited for the water to come out. While we were waiting, there were tiny children from the neighboring houses playing in the mud and sand. With no regard to the dirt or the mud, the kids had the time of their lives digging around. Pretty adorable stuff. We witnessed the water pump out of the tubing and saw that the main pump was doing it's job. They were definitely making great progress, but still had a long way to go.
Back in town, we did a walking interview. Father Charlie gave us a tour of the area and showed us how much it has changed since development began several years ago. There were some nice new houses popping up here and there from people and their children earning a better living.
The people of Indonesia are certainly some of the kindest and most hospitable people I have met, happily welcoming us into their home for lunch and some fresh coconuts. Although some of the organizers grew up with nothing more than a 4th grade education, they were able to work hard and achieve something great, together.
After a couple more mini interviews and shots of the great landscape, we started to make our bumpy road back to the main town of Cilacap. Being able to spend the day with Father Charlie, hearing him explain so much of what he has done was an amazing experience.
On the way back, Father Charlie was nice enough to stop the car for me to film the magestic sunset. It was the perfect end to the perfect day!