Update – February 2012
The weather is getting quite hot now and there are at least an extra two to three water fills a month. I may have a solution to slow down the usage of water by supplying everyone with their own 5 gallon container with a tap. That would be the only container they could fill with water rather than the current situation whereby they fill buckets and any available container, which leads to wastage. If we can reduce the waste we can reduce the cost.
The water tanks need cleaning every so often as there is a lot of dirt in the bottom. I don’t need to deal with that as the dump residents sort it out themselves.
Update – January 2012
This past November, Fred visited Ashland to share his experiences in providing for the basic needs of the Burmese refugees at the garbage dump, and to raise money so that he could continue this vital work. Fred received many generous donations, with one check specifically given for a new water tank. On his return to Mae Sot, he went straight to work, purchased the tank, built the base and had it filled with water. He hopes to be able to purchase a fourth tank, which would fully meet the needs of those living at the dump.
Update – June 2011
A great deal has been accomplished over the last couple of months in bringing clean water to the community living at the garbage dump. Fred has managed to get two water tanks to provide clean water in a more cost-effective and efficient way than the previous system of refilling water bottles (see post below of March 2011).
Fred tells us that he met a man named Gary by chance in Mae Sot about two months ago. Gary and his wife live south of Bangkok, and didn’t know about Fred’s work with the Burmese refugees. After some casual chatting, Gary told Fred that he had some money that he wanted to donate to a good cause, and asked if Fred had any suggestions. Fred responded with, “Would you like me to take you over to the dump and see what I do?” Gary and his wife went with Fred, and were shocked to see that people were living on a garbage dump. They had no idea that people lived that way. Fred told them of the water problem, at which point Gary and his wife decided to help: they paid for two water tanks and the cost of keeping them filled for one year. Gary then had to leave town, and by the time he got back two weeks later Fred had everything completed. As Fred says, he gets by “with a little help from my friends.”
The pictures below tell the story.
Update – March 2011
In the last few weeks, Fred has identified, with the help of his translator, the lack of clean water as the most pressing issue at the garbage dump. This is the dry season in Thailand. The water table has dropped, and the wells they have dug have gone from disgusting to deadly.
Most of the children have gastrointestinal problems caused by the lack of clean drinking water, and diarrhea and fevers are endemic. Fred is very concerned, as are the medical people who visit, that cholera or other similar diseases could strike under these conditions.
Fred has recently bought 10 plastic bottles (four dollars each) but he needs 40 more to supply each family. He collects the empties twice a week and drives to the water company where refills cost less than 50 cents each. There are about 50 families, so the expense runs to about $50 per week, or $200 per month. Below, the water ‘factory,’ a facility that filters and bottles water.
Fred drives the water over to the dump and the people retrieve their bottles:
The water is used for cooking rice and for drinking. Not much is available for bathing or washing up, which are currently done in a highly polluted, algae-clogged pond adjacent to the dump.
The women carry the water back to their homes in the garbage dump. Eyes to Burma is looking for donations to support this water project. Fred will do the work, but needs $200/month to purchase the filtered water. Donations of any amount are appreciated, with recurring donations especially helpful.