Our time back in the States hasn't just been for connection, rest and seeing family. The time back has also given us an opportunity to develop some skills that can help us in South East Asia. This past week I spent 5 days in West Texas learning how to drill water wells from Water For All.
Before getting any farther, I just want to take a minute and brag on Water For All. The course was run by a couple of missionaries who had decades of overseas experience. While living overseas they developed a simple, indigenous, and easily replicated method of meeting a need among their people. Basically, instead of someone spending thousands of dollars on digging a water well, a well can be dug using the WFA method for about $100. This allows the local people to create their own wells, fix them when they break and create a movement to teach others to dig wells for themselves. It is a great model and f you have a few extra minutes it is worth checking out their video on how and why they do what they do.
So what do water wells have to do with coffee?
Actually a lot.
A huge misconception is that the world needs water wells because people lack clean water. A more true statement would be that the world needs water wells because people lack water at all. The problem is more of a quantity issue instead of a quality issue. If people have a reliable source of water they can usually clean it up by straining, boiling, etc. The real problem lies in not having a close reliable source of water. And close is an important word in that statement. Hauling a few gallons of water several miles each day (even if it is clean water from a well) gets old in a hurry. So having a close reliable source of water is essential. This is especially true when it comes to agriculture.
Where we live in South East Asia, there is little irrigation. If farmers want water they have to find a river and haul it to their farm. We're having to do this now in order to water our shade trees (at least until I dig our well this spring). Hauling water isn't feasible for most, so they rely on rainfall. But having water would change the lives of most of these famers. For example, in our country the rice farmers get one crop a year. Right across the border in country where most farmers irrigate, farmers can get three crops a year. This means triple their income. And when you sit down with someone and tell them about how they can quickly make three times more money in a year, you'll become very good friends. And good friends are open to talking about anything, including the Gospel.
So it was a great week learning how to dig a water well. It becomes another tool in my toolbox for being able to reach the people in South East Asia. And my hope is that it will be a benefit not only to our farm, but possibly to all the farmers in our area.