Water matters in West Timor

Monroe. The Monroe CROP, set for this Sunday, Oct. 27, helps the hungry across the world as well as those who need local food banks.

| 23 Oct 2019 | 08:16

Like many other villagers in the area, the 30 families in Eonfetnai hamlet in West Timor, Indonesia, live in a drought-prone area.

Before 2013, the hamlet had only one water source – an unprotected spring that, when it filled up, was contaminated by dirt, falling leaves and animal droppings. In the dry season, there was little or no water at all, and families spent a lot of time collecting water from distant and scarce sources.

In recent years, thanks to CROP Hunger Walks and other donors, Church World Service (CWS) has been able to reach hamlets like Eonfetnai through their Timor Zero Hunger program, which is an integrated community development project to help some of Indonesia’s poorest families improve their lives.

Remembering the times before they had their safe and plentiful water, a young farmer named Yabes Tefa recalls that her then 4-year-old daughter, Sifralili “was often sick because I had no water and could not keep our home in a hygienic way. Also, because we had no water, we rarely ate vegetables because we couldn’t plant a garden and, back then, we could not afford to buy them in the market, either.”

For Yabes, having enough safe, nearby water has meant less time spent collecting water and more time for other things like planting vegetables and making organic fertilizer – both of which she was able to do with additional CWS support.

To increase their own successes, Yabes and other women in Eonfetnai created a farmer’s group and divided a shared garden into two sections: one for vegetables to be used for family meals and one for vegetables to be sold in the market.

“Now, we can make 200,000 Rupiah ($15) every week from selling vegetables in the market,” said Yabes. And, with diversified CWS support, in April 2017 the group expanded to raising chickens to help ensure more diverse diets, especially for their children.

The group members learned how to build chicken coops, make chicken feed and hatch chickens in a simple incubator.

“Now I have more than 50 chickens!” says Yabes. “At the moment, I don’t have any plans to sell the chickens, only the eggs – for 2,500 Rupiah (18¢) each – and, so far, I have used some of my profit to renovate our latrine so it is sanitary, which I learned how to do with help from the CWS team.”

If you go
You can help Yabes and many others raise their families by joining the Monroe CROP Hunger Walk. The walk will be held on Sunday, Oct. 27, beginning at 2 p.m. at Monroe United Methodist Church. The CROP Walk also helps our local food pantries. If you would like to pitch in and join the CROP Walk, call Fred Schuepfer at 782-8386 or email at fredsc@juno.com.