One and a half hours outside of Palu, Sulawesi there is a small village called Mbuwu. When Richard, CEO of Entrust, and Jim from the Waterjars, first visited Mbuwu there were no sanitary options for the locals. Together with Henny and her husband Agus, they met Yulianus Santo, a local pastor of a church which was looking for funding for a roof and flooring. He explained the village's sanitation problem to Richard and Jim and introduced them to the locals. They presented their urgent need to build a church and renovate their pastor's house. Working with the locals, Richard helped them sift through their needs to find what was the most crucial. Families had no access to toilets as they live in houses the size of a king-sized bed. With no other option they used the forest and river to relieve themselves. The government supplied water tanks for storage but there was no way of filtering the water directly to the houses. There was a basic need for better hygiene in the village and this is the one they chose to focus on. The idea for a toilet and water project was formed to provide the community with better sanitation and hygiene.
From the start, the project would be run as a community development mission. By empowering the villagers to build their own toilets the projects encourages sense of ownership and maintenance once the project is completed. Approaches like this limit the involvement of outsiders; to the locals this is an effort to overcome their own problem. A committee of leaders within the village was chosen to run the construction of 40 toilets and 2 water tanks, enough for each household. Shane Wilson, an Australian living in Indonesia, joined to bring his water and sanitation expertise to the project.The committee through a treasurer, Agus, receives the money sent by Entrust, which they take to a shop that supplies the community the raw materials. This way the committee receives the raw materials and can unite the village to build the toilets themselves.
What started as a community development project also became a spiritual development opportunity. Originally the Christians in the village were unsure of how this project should extend to non-Christian neighbours. By putting the Jesus’ words into practice, the locals realised what it means to love God and to love their neighbours by practical means. Other non-Christains are also their 'neighbours', 'brothers and sisters'. They can come together and share their stories of life and faith.
The process has not been smooth, as different challenges have come forward at every stage. The community had to be helped to understand why sanitation was more urgent than building a church. Results have not been instant since the first visit and everyone has had to learn to be patient while the project comes together.
In spite of the challenges, the committee has not lost their passion in their call to lead their community. The process has proven that basic needs like hygiene must be met for people to receive the Gospel. By cleansing and purifying the villagers’ physical needs, the experience has allowed their faith in God to quench the need in their hearts
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