Thousands have lived without love, not one without WATER (W.H. Auden)The ABCs of humanitarian service are food, shelter, medical care, and WATER. Dionne and I have began working on water projects the moment we arrived in Bosnia. We have cleaned drinking wells in Croatia, brought running water to school children in the village of Cikotska Rijeka, built septic tanks in Domaljevac, and fixed school bathrooms in Zinice and Sapna.
|Bosnia was built around its beautiful and powerful rivers (rijeka). Every major city has a river flowing through it. Nearly every road either goes over a mountain or winds along a river.|
Ironically, as Day Two of the "Light the World" campaign highlighted the admonition "I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink," we were signing a contract to bring clean drinking water to the people who live in the village of Hrasno. LDS Charities initiated this project in 2013. The journey of this project is the subject of today's post.
Day Two - Light the World
The rain descended, and the floods came (Matthew 7:25)In 2013 LDS Charities started a project with the municipality of Kalesija to bring drinking water to the village of Hrasno.
|This street is the dividing line between the have's and the have not's. Houses to the left have water while houses to the right do not.|
|The city engineer points out where the holding tank is to be built.|
|These are stock photos of the flooding damage across Bosnia.|
|Aerial view of Doboj.|
|The main street of Kalesija.|
|The location of the existing water tank. This is also where they were going to build the new holding tank.|
|Love this vintage tractor in Hrasno.|
|The new location for the holding tank.|
The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy
Martin Luther King
We can learn much about others (along with ourselves) during times of difficulty. In am reminded of the immortal poetic words of Judge Smell...
|"It's easy to grin when your ship comes in, and you've got the stock market beat, but the man worthwhile, is the man who can smile, when his shorts are too tight in the seat." Caddyshack|
When we arrived in 2016, we were asked to find out what was happening with the Hrasno project. There had been no communication for over a year. An election had occurred and there was a new major in Kalesija. All the church knew was that the new holding tank had not been built.
|Meeting with the new administration October 2016.|
|Our friend Ilma who translated for us on this trip. This was taken on the way back from Kalesija.|
|Reviewing the new plans.|
|In the main boardroom at Kalesija's mayor's offices.|
But when I brought back the problem to the leaders of LDS Charities, I was heartened and encouraged by their response. First, they realized that we had made a critical error in judgment by paying for the supplies and not requiring immediate delivery. (We also should never have used this vendor in the first place either...a local friend has told me that his reputation is questionable). So the church immediately took ownership of their mistakes without trying to ascribe blame on others. And while we did pursue the bankruptcy court option, we had no interest in the "shaming" or "job pressure" strategy which the team had discussed.
Second, the church also realized that the need was still there. We were dispatched to visit Hrasno again, access the current water conditions, and to make recommendations on moving forward.
|Touring the new holding tank site with local Hrasno leadership and my Red Cross friend, Davor. The head of the local town council has graciously offered part of his land as the site for the new holding tank. The main village is in the background.|
Third, as much as possible, the church worked hard to make everything right again. Despite the dubious history of this project, more money was allotted to finish this project. Better controls have been put in place.
|Signing day with the new major of Kalesija.|
|Signed contracts...now time to get to work!|
With regards to our service here in Bosnia, Dionne and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. We only have a handful of project remaining to finish. I was talking to Nermin, a Bosnian who has worked as a translator for LDS Charities since 2009. He said that his favorite project was bringing water to Novo Bila. At the closing ceremony, he met an 80-year old man who came up and shook his hand, thanking him profusely. The man said he had lived in this village all of his life and this is the first time he had had running water in his home.
Be the reason someone smiles today
|A bucket of hauled water next to a pipe that has not worked in years.|