Beyond the paved road bordering Jackson Field, left down three miles of mud and gravel, through the river crossing, right at the peanut patch and through the last half mile of waist high grass now stands a triumph of humanity. If our myths tell us of a tower erected on a plain where, when humanity came together to climb to the gods, a threatened deity “confused their language”, we now have a tower where tribes of many languages came together and made a little heaven on Earth! As I stood one last time atop 10 meters of steel side-by-side with my dad, Aaron and looked across the treetops to soak in the last views of this past week’s efforts, thunder and lightning danced just beyond the hill that looked down on us. And walking through the downpour on the mud filled trails with Greg Smith, Dylan Korelich, my bride of nearly 25 years, Colleen, and nearly 40 villagers from the Eastern Highlands, I could hold, for a moment, the knowledge that every myth that has separated us from each other and Heaven from Earth is just that – a myth. For when people choose to come together to address humanity’s most intractable challenges and sweat and bleed and toil together all the heavens can do is clap.
Together with my parents, Aaron and Ruth, a team totaling 9 of us (the aforementioned plus: Katie Martin; Dustin DiPerna; Theresa Arek) became woven into the fabric of one of Papua New Guinea’s newest communities – Farea Model Village. Hosted on S.K.’s expansive land to the east of the airport and built on the vision of Clemence Kanau and Tivien Aya, five tribes dislocated from the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea now have water. Shipped from the generous team at Aermotor in San Angelo Texas via California and Singapore, a 5 meter windmill now is pumping water to hydrate the land and its new inhabitants. Using M•CAM’s Sovereign Technology Credit Obligation fusion business model, this community now owns a water utility that will sell water services to an estimated 5,000 people – many of whom are displaced from their ancestral homes by Exxon’s LNG project. The proceeds of this utility will be placed in trust to reinvest in expanding additional water projects (including the building and acquisition of similar windmills) to equally situated groups throughout the country.
This project, the first of its kind in Papua New Guinea, was also supported by Ken Dabkowski, Edward West and Andrew Trabulsi together with the M•CAM and Fusion Lab teams. To be in Farea yesterday was to see raw, unrestrained joy – from the tears of joy when the water flowed to the loud songs and dances that turned the once quiet land into a land echoing with the chorus of humanity.
Many themes will flow from this week’s events but, for now, join us in singing the Song of Farea and celebrate the land where water now flows!