Bulletin 11 July 2011

Rotary Club Bali Ubud Sunset
District 3400/No.79571
Meeting every Monday at 5:30pm Maya Resort, Ubud

“Harmony with land is like harmony with a friend; you cannot cherish his right hand and chop off his left.”
Aldo Leopold


Attending: Cat, Mr. Chu, Donna, Driya, Lloyd, Jeremy, Marilyn, Philip, Probo, Rosalind, Sue W.

Apologies: Alisa (USA), Bruce (USA for medical treatment), Don and Sue Bennett (USA), Fred and Mandy (USA), Janet, Jody (USA), Rustiasa, Kadek (in the field), Patricia (USA), Rucina, Tjok Raka, Tangsi, Zsuza (Canada)

Guests: Rebecca Sweetman, guest speaker, Bill Page, Shyu Ming Song (Taiwan), Heather, Olivier, Amit, Sherry Entus


Rtn Jeremy had an important announcement…and terrific gifts…to share with club members.  Jeremy had missed the handover on June 25th because of prior commitments off island but wanted to personally congratulate IPP Sue on her successful year as President and to welcome Pres Lloyd as he took on his new duties.   And along with his always charming comments Jeremy presented each member with a new Rotary pin…some diamond studded (or maybe rhinestones?) For the ladies who love bling, it was just the thing.  Thanks for your thoughtfulness Jeremy!

Members and guests enjoy food and fellowship before meeting begins

At the request of Rtn Stew Martin, RC Seaside (Oregon, USA) Rtn Cat was asked to visit Sumba and report back on the progress of Seaside’s District Simplified Grant.  The project was to build composting toilets and water tanks for villagers on this very dry island.  IPP Sue and Rtn Gabe accompanied Cat and they spent several days reviewing this highly successful project. The impact on the villagers has been so very positive…eliminating the need for women and children to trek many kilometers each day for water and making it possible to grow vegetables for household consumption.  Cat prepared a fact filled and very amusing report about the Sumba stay and you’ll find it at the end of this Bulletin.  It will definitely leave you chuckling.

Our own Rtn Gabe will again coordinate +-200 volunteers for the eighth annual Ubud Writers and Readers Festival scheduled for Oct 5-9.  Already over 10% of last years’ volunteers have said they’ll help again this year.  For more information go to www.ubudwritersfestival.com/ and if you want to offer your services, please contact Gabe at gabriel.monson@gmail.com

GLOBAL GRANT: Three of the clubs’ projects are rolling along at good speed!  All five schools participating in the Global Grant are working full bore to complete construction of water towers, installation of piping and water tanks, renovating toilets and building wash basins.  The volunteer workers all got a good start while the kids were out of school for the yearly break.  Thanks to RCs La Jolla Golden Triangle (our sister club) and San Diego Breakfast for making this Global Grant happen!!  The next big step will be to schedule the Basic Health and Hygiene workshops.

TEMUKUS WATER PROJECT: The water project at Temukus was able to move forward thanks to a very surprising source of help.   Because the ATM card that would allow us to access funds took a trip to Sumba, we were rescued by the only villager in Temukus who has ever attended university!  He made arrangements for us to purchase project ‘starter materials’ on his good credit.  Getting these materials in place before July 6 was very important…if we had failed to deliver materials the project would have had to sit idle for the next six weeks due to cultural and religious requirements.   We didn’t want to disappoint our funding friends and we thank Joady Barnes, RC Manningham, Catherine Bonifant, RC Southport and Pauline Stuber, RC Ignacio.

TENGANAN WATER PROJECT: And Rtn Ray Williams let us know that RC Bowral-Mittagong will move forward and fund the water project at Tenganan DuahTukad   We’re waiting for our Rtn Kadek to develop  the materials estimate.


Rebecca Sweetman

One of our favorite people, Rebecca Sweetman, was our guest speaker this evening. Rebecca heads The Paradigm Shift, a non-profit that produces the most amazing films.  Go to her website here to see what we’re talking about!

In a world that seems to be constantly moving from one natural disaster to the next, Rebecca screened a film titled “Voice of Disaster”.  The film addressed how best to help to those in crisis.  Large organizations are often quick to move into disaster struck areas with all good intentions but without intimate knowledge of the villages and villagers affected, their culture and religious beliefs and even the terrain in which they’re located there are strong possibilities that those needing help the most are overlooked.  The film emphasizes the importance of liaising with local NGOs who have firsthand experience at the disaster site and can be of valuable assistance in bringing other volunteers up to speed.  Too often the closest village to NGO’s headquarters gets way more attention and support than those villages that are more difficult to reach and likely to be in far more serious trouble.  A local NGO would know where these isolated villages are and how to reach them.  A foreign NGO could immediately benefit from local NGO information.

When Rebecca was asked if the films produced by The Paradigm Shift were ever pirated, she responded, “The day a film is pirated or sold, I’ll throw a party!”  All Paradigm Shift films are free and downloadable from their website, Facebook, Youtube and Vimeo.  The intention is that the films bring about change so help yourself.

The next film The Paradigm Shift will produce will be about trash in Bali…an ever growing problem that seriously affects our health, the quality of water and our environment…and not only in Bali but in every developing country in the world!


Water and Sanitation DSG from 8 clubs in District 5100 Oregon

Site visit to villages in West Sumba by members of Rotary Club Bali Ubud Sunset  July 1 – 3 2011



In arid West Sumba, water is the most precious commodity in the long dry season.   There are no permanent rivers in this area. Households collect rainwater in the wet season but in the dry season, which can last 8 months, they have no way to store water.  Trucks sell water, but without a storage tank the villagers can’t access it.  Women and children walk for miles several times a day for water that is used for drinking and cooking; in the dry season many children are not bathed for months on end.

The Grant

Simple water storage tanks paid for by eight clubs in District 5100 Oregon ensure year-round access to water.  Each 5 cubic meter tank supplies about 50 people.  The 2011 project will build about 15 of these tanks.  Toilets are extremely rare in poor rural areas and their absence contributes to diarrhoea, skin diseases, intestinal parasites and other illnesses. The DSG will provide about 70 toilets. The project buys materials that need to be purchased such as sand, cement, rebar and nails.  The villagers provide all the labour as well as local stone and wood, and are responsible for building the toilet superstructures. Due to the very long rainy season,  the construction of water tanks and toilets began only in June.

The Site Visits

Rotary Club Bali Ubud Sunset IPP Sue Winski, who was president when this project was approved, visited West Sumba in July 2011 with Rotarians Cat Wheeler and Gabe Monson to check the progress of the project.  Ann McCue, founder of executing agency Project Hope Sumba, accompanied us for the full three days as did Niko, the NGO’s technical expert who helps the villagers design and build the tanks and toilets and monitors progress.  Over three days we visited many villages and extended family settlements to view projects in process and those that were built with the MG last year.

Rtn. Gabe bonds with village women

We were warmly welcomed by the villagers of Kampung Mata Loko, our first stop. As the car pulled up a group of women began ululating a traditional song while one of the men danced with a parang (long knife).  Hand-loomed scarves were placed on our left shoulders, the ingredients for chewing betel were poured into our right hands, and the women rubbed noses with us in the traditional Sumbanese greeting.  Then we were led into the best house in the village and served coffee.  One of the men explained that as guests we were required to chew betel and eat together.  Fortunately the presentation of the betel ingredients was considered sufficient.  The men asked us detailed questions about our grandchildren, which was a bit awkward as three of us were single and childless, but we invented some additional family members. The concept of middle-aged, unmarried women is beyond understanding here.

Man in front of unfinished family toilet

We were then led up the mountain to view the beginnings of the 16 toilets which were being built.  For some of the way we followed a newly constructed irrigation channel.  Villagers explained that this allowed them to irrigate their fields all year round and produce fresh food even in the dry season for their own consumption and for sale.  It will increase the prosperity of the village measurably. So irrigation is another potential water project to consider in the future.

We examined several toilets under construction on the mountainside.  There is just a thin layer of topsoil over limestone bedrock here.  The stones and cement  for the project are carried up the steep hill.  On returning to the house, a ceremonial meal was served to cement our new friendship.  It consisted of local rice, boiled vegetables and roasted dog.  It seemed like a good time to become vegetarian.

After the meal we drove further into the countryside to visit an extended family which had received a water tank from the MG last year. The family gathered around as the head man told us, “We thank you for the water tank, and are sorry that we have nothing to give back to you.  We hope God will repay you.  We consider Pak Niko as part of our family, helping us.  We all worked together on this project.  We have just enough for survival here.”

At another village I took a video interview of a village woman who said (please note that all translations are loose!), “We used to make three trips a day to carry water, so now we have more time.  We use it to plant vegetables near the houses.  This has improved our diet and we can sell the surplus and use the money for the children’s school fees and books.  With the toilets we are all healthier and the compound us cleaner.  The children’s health is much better;– before, they had diarrhoea, parasites and skin diseases.  Now malaria is our only health problem.”

We visit a compound where tanks and composting toilets were built with the MG last year, and the villagers here are also very happy with their permanent water supply and with the toilet.  A woman told us, “Before the tank, we had to work all the time carrying water, leaving at five in the morning to climb down to a spring deep in a gorge.  We could only carry two buckets at a time, on a stick across our shoulders.  Now we can grow vegetables for sale and use the money to buy water in the dry season…”

An old Sumba house. There are many like this.

At another village it was a steep climb downhill (all the springs seem to be in deep ravines!) to the project site where several men were digging out a foundation in the soft earth.  Children carried chunks of limestone down a steep path; it was the school holidays, and they were helping.  Later we climbed a rocky goat path to a little house where lunch was being prepared (eggs, rice, greens and papaya flower stew – no dog, thank heaven!).  There were children everywhere -– the population growth rate here is 4% a year -– and one of the boys climbed 50 feet up a coconut tree to throw down some nuts for us to drink.

After lunch, Niko addressed the men of the village.  “This water tank should have been finished by now.  Look at all these old grandmothers who have come from far away to see the project, and it is still not finished!”  We old grandmothers nodded sadly, and the men immediately pledged to have the tank finished within the week.  Niko is the catalyst that keeps the projects on track.  He is liked and respected by the villagers, and has an encyclopaedic memory of every tank and toilet that has been built.

We visited the house of a midwife who delivers most of the babies in the district – without a permanent water supply until their water tank was built.    We talked to many women who explained how access to water near their homes has changed their lives.


This young girl just couldn't stop pouring water over her head. Such luxury!

In West Sumba, it’s all about water.  Few can take it for granted in this arid province, and the time, energy and money that go into accessing it are a cruel burden on the poor.  These projects transform the simple lives of these people the quality of life is much improved as is the family’s heath, and the spare time created by not having to carry water is being used in income-generating activities that benefit all, especially the children.

Water tanks and toilets are two elements in addressing access to water and sanitation in West Sumba.  Others include permanent wellheads/springheads where people can gather water, bathe and wash clothes, and irrigation channels that allow them to grow crops all year round.  Perhaps these needs can also be considered in future projects.

It’s all about water.  It’s a few bags of cement and some sand.  It’s communities that pull together on projects that benefit all.  It’s the vision and dedication of Ann McCue, who was honoured by the Queen of England for her service to the people of Sumba in 2010.  It’s the commitment of local staff in the field.  And it’s the generosity and open hearts of Rotarians far away that make a profound and lasting difference in many lives.

With deep thanks to Rotary Clubs in District 5100:
Seaside,  Wilsonville, Salem, Milwaukie, North Tillamook County,
Southwest Pacific County-Peninsula, Oregon City and Lake Oswego
Submitted by Cat Wheeler, RC Bali Ubud Sunset

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