Tuesday, 09 March 2010 08:38

Faith Lutheran Church Helps Villagers in Papua New Guinea

slide4-faith_lutheran_church_helps_villagers_in_papua_new_guinea.pngAmador County – Five villages in the highlands of Papua New Guinea will soon receive fresh, clean water due to a water project partially sponsored by Faith Lutheran Church located at Red Corral off Highway 88 in Pioneer. The project has become even more important as the island nation struggles to contain its first outbreak of cholera in 34 years. According to the World Health organization, the epidemic has killed at least 40 people and sickened thousands. Cholera is primarily a water-born disease that causes severe diarrhea, usually in villages with poor sanitation like the villages the water project will serve. The water project was first conceived in 2008, when Dawn Solevad and her husband Bafinuc Ilai, both teachers in the Papua New Guinea town of Goroka, brought their newborn son, Bafinuc, Jr., home to Pioneer to meet his grandparents, David and Ellen Solevad. Reverend Solevad has been the pastor of Faith Lutheran Church for nearly 30 years, and Dawn grew up and went to school here in Amador County. In a visit with Reverend Eric and Mrs. Cathy Yochheim (YO-HIME), the Yochheims asked Bafinuc about the water system in his home village and then touched upon the idea of a well. Now, that idea has grown into a water project. Bafinuc’s family has been instrumental in researching materials and costs for the project, and the 100-member congregation of Faith has collected $11,000 toward its completion. About 4000 people live in the location of the project in very mountainous terrain. The people – mostly the women and children – have to hike down a mountain to fetch the water and carry it back up the mountain again to their houses. The current water sources not only make collecting water difficult but are also not very sanitary – some are located not far from open latrines. With help from grants obtained through the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America World Hunger funds, materials were purchased in the city of Lae in June of 2009 and construction began in July. The villagers themselves contributed part of the funds and are doing most of the work. The grants also allow for fresh, clean water to be pumped from streams higher in the mountains. It is hoped that water will eventually be piped to individual villages. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.