BY BJ SANDERS
When the Wantakians wake up in the morning, they’re thinking, “Do we have wood to make the fire, clean water for cooking, and kaukau to eat?” In Wantakia, carrying water is the woman’s job, and every day these women hike with their water pots to the nearest water source, which could be up to a mile away. Most times they’re also carrying bags full of their laundry, dirty dishes, food from their garden, firewood, and a small child for good measure. It’s insane to see them hiking these trails while carrying those enormous burdens. The Wantakians say, "Water is life," but their daily trek to get it makes that life a difficult one.
A year ago, Jason Mellinger came to Wantakia to set up the solar electric systems on our houses. One day, he wandered off into the jungle and found a water source high above the village that had lots of clean, flowing water.
This year, Jason made the long journey across the Pacific with his family and Charlie Hawks from Helping Hands Alaska to come be a blessing to our people—they tapped into that mountain spring and brought clean water to the center our village!
Here’s how it went down.
Back in December, Jack, Jeremy and I wrote a proposal to our PNG parliament member requesting funds for a water supply project for our people. Because of the holidays, we didn’t hear back from him until the day before Jason and the team were supposed to jump on the chopper and head out here. The answer was yes! The government had all the materials in storage in Aiyura. Thankfully, the Lord arranged for the NTM chopper to be out of commission, so Jason and the team had to drive to Aiyura and get on the Wycliffe chopper—which just so happened to be right next door to the government storage building with all the materials for our project!
“The next morning Charlie and I walked over to see what materials the government had in storage and discovered they had exactly everything that we didn't have but desperately needed: 1.2 kilometers of pipe, all the fittings, and a 5,000-liter storage tank,” Jason said. The team grabbed a tractor from the hangar, loaded everything up in the chopper, and by the next day the team and all the supplies were in our village!
Jason discovered something else about the mountain spring. “There was even a trench someone had dug to bring water further down the trail that eliminated our need to survey altitude and cut days off the project.”
“It only took us one work day to roll out, connect, and bury the pipe, so water could start flowing into the 5,000-liter storage tank at the top of the village. Then we piped the water a little further down the mountain to the 9,000-liter tank in the middle of the village. Each tank was drilled and tapped for faucets, and within several hours we had 14,000 liters of drinkable water stored in the village”
We were so happy to do some community development work in order to help them with some of their felt needs; however, we always pointed them back to the work we’ve promised to do—bring them ‘God’s Talk’ in their language. They say that water is life, but one day they will finally understand what Jesus meant when He said that the water He gives will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life!