MT MARTHA resident Sue Smith has returned home after four years in the Solomon Islands as a self-funded volunteer helping small villages.
“Life for people in these communities is very hard in so many respects,” she said. “There is no electricity, no refrigeration, few comforts and the burdensome daily task of water collection is often tedious and demanding.”
The hazards of island life were highlighted last week when a 7.7 magnitude earthquake raised the risk of tsunami waves in the region. Luckily, the danger passed.
Ms Smith’s main role was helping train local people in hospitality and tourism, small business development and to speak English. “Now that I’m back, I’m fundraising to provide rain water tanks for a village which is desperately in need of assistance,” she said. “I have delivered four water tanks already to other needy villages.”
This project aims to help the Mile 6 community in the island’s Western Province where she said villagers have to scramble down the mountain to their local creek three times a day, then back up again, just to collect their daily drinking and cooking water in buckets and 30kg jerry cans.
“It’s an extremely tedious and physically demanding routine.”
Helping Ms Smith, of Osborne Drive, is a young man from Mile 6 – Jackson Quavo – whom she is sponsoring here.
“Together, Jackson and I are hoping to raise awareness and attract donor funding for our Water is Life project,” she said. “Given a positive response, I will personally manage the purchasing, delivery and installation of the tanks in Mile 6, and will be able to reassure donors that their funds are properly used.
“I will take photos of the installed tanks and collect correspondence from community leaders.”
Ms Smith previously has campaigned in Mt Martha and Mornington for Solomon Island projects – including a library. “At the time I was appealing to the community here to donate books,” she said. “You might be pleased to know that a small library was established in Vancouver village and stocked with over 650 books.
“I’m hoping we can raise a similar response to our Water is Life campaign.”
Donations to the Water Is Life project can be sent to ANZ Mornington, BSB 013740, Account No. 294020049.
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