Kerikeri group helps Vanuatu villages
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 email@example.com.
Rick Pickering with a village chief, Jack Maite, with one of the tanks to be installed in Vanuatu.