a years worth of scheming, dreaming, and hoping… #waterfordelena

One year ago while in PNG my team and I visited Delena for a 10 day stay of endless programs, village assessments, and lots and lots of toilets breaks (okay, that part was just me… but it took majority of my time there to be fair.)

During our village assessments, tours, and random conversation of curiosity about village life we started to see a trend to the most common question, “What is your largest need here?”.
The answer always resulted with these 2main points:

  1. Water
    -This village has only one water well, located an easy 1.5km up a hill from the main village.  They also have a fresh water source from rocks nearby, but both of these sources run out during the dry season.

    Water Well - Delena, PNG
    Water Well – Delena, PNG
  2. Healthcare
    -There is a clinic (you’ll hear more about this later!) but the Healthcare worker (similar to a nurse) was beaten and had a glass bottle thrown at her head.  As a result she had a piece of glass cut her eyeball and has not returned since. This leaves their healthcare clinic that is stocked full of supplies, locked and unused because no one can distribute the medication or is trained to the use the equipment.  The government pays for these buildings, and even houses for the healthcare workers to live in but their just aren’t enough worker around to keep them running.

It’s hard to justly explain this next part – but I promise I will try.
Seeing the need, and walking to the well just struck something inside me.  I have a true passion for community development, and maybe the lack of my nursing degree left me to focus on #1 instead of #2.  It took about 30 seconds to realise that God was speaking to me, and that he was giving me responsibility to be the “hands and feet” people always talk about.  I didn’t talk to many people about it at first, but I knew that in one year I would be back in Delena and all things going well I would be leading a team that would have fundraised enough money to supply a water tank to this village.

Team Delena 2014
Team Delena 2014
everyone needs a sand photo…

I prayed.  A lot.
Then I prayed a little more just to be sure.  It’s not everyday you start raising thousands of dollars for some random group of people across the Pacific Ocean, and it’s not an easy task.
I started talking with my PNG contact (Philip Oa) about this, and he was a little speechless but immediately got on a truck and headed to the Capitol.  Within a few days he let me know that the tank would cost roughly $3000AUD, and transport would be $250AUD.
In the big picture of life, this isn’t that much money.
To a full time volunteer leading a team of full time students – this is a lot of money.
This cost would be ontop of our already expensive food, transport, accommodation, flights, healthcare, travel insurnace, satelite phone, GPS tracker, life jackets, mossie nets…the list goes on.

I remember laying in bed picturing turning on a tap, and off again.  Then on, then off again.  I remember really thinking about how easy it is to get water in Australia or America.  I remember thinking about swimming at my neighbors pool growing up, and playing in the installed sprinkler system at my house.  I remember washing my horse down after a long day of riding.  I remember just how much we naturally take it for granted.
Delena is just one village, would it really make a difference?
I began my research of water filtration systems, tanks, solutions…  the tank made sense, and God continually affirmed bringing the tank to Delena.  If I am honest, there were moments that getting a “no” from God didn’t sound so bad… but if that were the case then this blog would be anti-climactic.

My co-leader Chello – incredible leader, and friend

and it’s not.
After months of fundraising, a few miracles, and lots and lots of planning, phone calls, and emails… we were on our way to Papua New Guinea.

We landed in Port Moresby and spent a few days getting food, and settling in.  The time came to go to Monier Allied and buy the tank.  I have never been so nervous in all my life!  It could have been the fact that I was carrying $7000 kina ($3500AUD) in my purse in the middle of a congested developing nations capital…or maybe I was about to see a years worth of mixed emotions and hard work come to fruition.   Philip, Chello (my fearless co-leader) and I loaded into the truck and made our way to the office, had a look at some of the tanks and counted out $6500 PNG kina and laid it on the counter.

We signed our names at the dotted line and were expected back the next day to pick it.

Chello finalizing the purchase
Chello finalizing the purchase

Did that just happen?

This was the first time we saw it, as it was pulling out of the stockyard. The excitement was intense!

Yes. It did.IMG_3882

Hardware store shopping in PNG

The next day we bought two tap fixtures (one extra, just in case…) and then made our 5 hour journey  (it was acutally 9 hours, but in PNG time…only 5 hours.  Welcome to islander time) to Delena down an old dirt “road”.

Once we arrived we were tired, and it was dark.  I wanted nothing more than a shower (bucket bath), and some sleep, but I must say the excitment of seeing that water tank pull in behind us and being unloaded into the front yard of our contacts home was a feeling I wont soon forget.

On our way!!!
On our way!!!

The night we arrived I had talked with our contact and found out that due to lack of water supply, they were unable to open up their church for a Youth Conference and turned down serving their district of Youth groups.  They had a meeting about this topic to brainstorm and pray for solutions on Friday night, we arrived only 22 hours later.
The village Pastor, leaders, and Chiefs were left speechless as they saw our trucks arrive with God’s answer to their prayers.  We did not know this was happening in the background, and neither did they.  It’s phenomenal the way God works, isn’t it?

After about one week of living and working in Delena, Chello and I ended up in a very interesting conversation with Emmanuel (Manu).  Manu and his family have hosted both of our teams (2013-2014) and have treated us like royalty!  Manu is also a village Chief and carries an incredible amount of leadership in his village.  We began talking about the healthcare center (mentioned above) and how at the moment no one is living in the healthcare workers house.  I noticed last year that this house has a water tank just nearby, supplied by the PNG Government.  I asked who was utilizing this while no one was in the home and he gave me a very confused look.  He then explain that the Government paid, and delivered the tank but never bought a tap for the tank… therefore, it was just useless plastic…

This shows the tank with the missing tap – only $100AUD needed to have it functioning.
Spare tank sitting next to vacant healthcare center
Manu and Philip next to the spare tank

Are you kidding me???

As you are now figuring out… we didn’t buy that tap “just in case”, we bought it because God knew he had a bigger plan.  We explained this to Manu, how it was totally chance and we didn’t know why we even bought extra parts… he smiled and all of us were left a little speechless.
A little later that day we made our way to the second tank to take a look.
We realized that they still need one tiny piece to make it fit, but that is only cost $22 kina (about $11AUD).

Now – Delena has not only one functioning water tank, but TWO.

Sometimes all God needs is obedience, and relationship to get things moving… so blessed, honored, and a little bit shocked to have been a part of this miracle.


Thank you to all of those who shared, liked, commented, supported, prayed, and believed for this.
Please know that you are such a massive part of this, and this is just as much your story as it is Team Delena’s.
We COULD never have pulled this off without your help and obedience to God.
I cannot thank you enough, and Delena will never take for granted the work and heart that went into this project.

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