Kerik­eri group helps Van­u­atu vil­lages

The Bay Chronicle - - FRONT PAGE - BAYLEY MOOR

Good sorts from Kerik­eri are help­ing the peo­ple of Van­u­atu source wa­ter tanks to im­prove their sup­ply of drink­ing wa­ter.

Rick and Ly­naire Pick­er­ing had come to know Jack Fred, a sea­sonal or­chard worker from La­men Is­land in Van­u­atu, while Peter An­der­son helps to ed­u­cate the men and women with English and maths, as well as some prac­ti­cal lessons in­clud­ing how to cook and main­tain ma­chin­ery and other equip­ment.

In 2016, Rick, Ly­naire and their daugh­ter Ruby trav­elled to La­men Is­land with Peter An­der­son, to visit their friends and live with the lo­cal peo­ple.

‘‘We came back with the need to help the peo­ple, there are a huge amount of vil­lages that need fresh wa­ter, and while we can’t fix the prob­lem for all of Van­u­atu we can help some of the vil­lages,’’ Peter says.

Un­til the tanks were in­stalled vil­lagers built and used wells to ac­cess drink­ing wa­ter, how­ever flood­ing caused by a cy­clone can mean the well mixes with waste­water from long-drops, in­creas­ing the risk of be­com­ing sick from the wa­ter.

The Fresh Wa­ter Project idea was born and in its first year fundraised for and or­gan­ised the sup­ply of 16 tanks which each hold 1100 litres of wa­ter.

The project also fundraises for the pipework and fit­tings, with ev­ery cent do­nated go­ing to­wards in­stalling the tanks.

‘‘When a cy­clone hits and they have no wa­ter, they have had to wait for aid to ar­rive from New Zealand and Aus­tralia.

‘‘Now hav­ing the wa­ter tanks they can catch the rain­fall and the tanks are not likely to blow over - it’s an ideal so­lu­tion for gen­eral liv­ing and a cy­clone,’’ Peter says.

Chiefs on La­men Is­land de­cided where the tanks should be in­stalled to help those in the great­est need, with each tank able to serve three or four fam­i­lies.

This year the project has sup­plied four large 6000 litre tanks, which were shipped from Port Vila and were in­stalled by the lo­cals.

Rick says the peo­ple were very grate­ful to re­ceive their help.

‘‘Af­ter Cy­clone Pam in 2015, there was no leaf left on the is­land to use for weav­ing, so they trav­elled and bought leaf from an­other is­land to weave mats, so they could thank us.

‘‘It was very hum­bling.’’

If you would like to sup­port the Fresh Wa­ter Project con­tact Peter on 027 810 4407 or pe­

Rick Pick­er­ing with a vil­lage chief, Jack Maite, with one of the tanks to be in­stalled in Van­u­atu.

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