Every day, we are bombarded with terrible stories from across the world. The COVID pandemic, landslides, earthquakes, and war– all resulting in tragic outcomes. But here in our small country of Timor-Leste, Red Cross has brought help to two small villages, and giving us a good news story.
In the south-west of Timor-Leste, there is a small community of Lela village (Holpilat in the Municipality of Covalima – near the Indonesia border), and their lives have been turned around.
Alzira da Costa, was tired and worried; they had no access to clean water. “We were in a lot of trouble. We had to travel a long way to collect water from the river. We would often have to wait our turn to get clean water. Sometimes after we collected it we would have to carry it a long way to our homes. We would help each other and share the load – but there was never enough water.”
“Sometimes we would have to pay $2 (USD), for a motorbike to carry us 25 litres… $2 is a lot of money for our poor village. Students went to school without being able to bathe. Sometimes there would be fights in homes, because there was not enough water. The most serious resulted in a divorce, because of the constant wait to get water; sometimes from noon until the next morning.”
“But now our life has turned around. Thanks to the CVTL (Red Cross Timor-Leste) we now have water in our village. We have six water taps and a schedule for when we can collect the water. We no longer need to walk down to the river. Our children are clean when they go to school – and our clothes are no longer dirty!”
Terezinha da Costa, from Hatu village in the same area tells a similar story. “Sometimes we had to wait overnight to get the water from the river, as there were so many people there from both villages of Hatu and Lela. But we no longer have that problem, and we have more time to do other important tasks. Now, even in the dry season we have water. We just need to walk a few steps from our house, and we have cool clean water. We are so happy.”
Late last year, IFRC and Timor- Leste Red Cross were in Covalima Municipality monitoring the implementation of the ICBRR program about bringing clean water to these villages, and helping people’s daily lives.