Friday, June 23, 2006

Back to Ground Zero - Bantul - pump a well dry - then return to Mount Merapi--Long Day!

June 23, 2006, Friday 12:56pm (Indonesia Time) - Solo, Indonesia - Report submitted by Joe Hurston

Yesterday began with an early departure from Solo to Bantul, about a 2 hour drive. Bantul was the hardest hit district of Indonesia in the devastating quake that killed over 6,000 and left nearly 1,000,000 homeless. Our first meeting was with the Red Cross and a wonderful volunteer named Chanti. Our plan was to visit a very hard hit district that lacked clean water. As we drove through the rice paddies and down the narrow dirt roads, the evidence of the quake was everywhere with whole villages completely flattened.

We arrived at the village of Pranti in the Imogiri district. Every structure in the village had been either severely damaged or completely destroyed. We searched and found a well. We noted that the well was either very deep or nearly dry. We would soon find out our answer. Often, earthquakes dramatically disrupt water sources.

The villagers immediately began coming to our location to see the foreigners and the strange little machine. Soon we were pumping very clean water and drinking it before their eyes. Our audience was shocked! The buckets began to appear. We set up 2 Vortex Voyagers TM because the vessels kept coming. The faces of the villagers indicated hard working, determined people trying to put their lives back together. Just gazing into their faces keeps us doing this!

Things were working very well. We were planning to spend the next couple of hours meeting the most basic of needs, clean water. We noticed the bucket coming up from the bottom of the well began to have more and more mud. Soon, we realized that we were at the bottom of the well. With regret, we had to shut down. The villagers were disappointed. The earthquake had likely damaged the well.

We headed back to the Red Cross Headquarters. Though we had been unable to fill all the vessels, we gave a tremendous demonstration to the Red Cross on the Vortex Voyager's TM amazing ability to purify the most contaminated water. We agreed to get together to discuss future deployment plans.

We then headed back to Solo to replenish our supplies before heading up to Mount Merapi (an hour and a half drive). We were going to attend a most extraordinary event. The local guides had planned a fund raiser for the locals to assist the earthquake victims in Bantul. We were so moved by their heart to help their countrymen, we had to attend this event. We were not disappointed!

The head of the Merapi Guide Club, Sony, met us. Sony had done a superb job of putting this event together. The crowds were beginning to come. The atmosphere was festive. We saw where the young men were being prepared for the presentation. The costumes were stunning and the seriousness in the dancers was evident. This was a huge event and it was clear, being a native dancer was a high privilege.

The dance unfolded like a grand story of past battles against impossible odds, filled with victories, courage, valor and defeat. The music was stunning. The dancers moved in synch with precision and grace. All of this taking place in the shadow of Mount Merapi for the purpose of raising money for earthquake victims far away. Our hearts were so touched by the evening.

At the end of this day, we had determined that we would be able to work very well with this group. We then headed down the mountain back to Solo. A long, but very fruitful day.

Today has been spent in meetings, phone calls, planning and getting our equipment ready for the next deployment. Many pieces to this complex puzzle of saving lives are coming together with the awesome help of our Lord! Will write more later.

Joe, Cindy and Barbara - The Indonesian Air Mobile Team