31 Jan 19 - Source: The Inverell Times - I have just returned from visiting the 52 water tanks in the dry zone of central Myanmar, built in 2018, and as always I feel a special sense of pride when I see "Inverell" on some of the plaques in this most remote and forgotten part of our world.
I have been doing some sums and realise that since the start of the project about six years ago, 254 water tanks have been completed, 77 of which had donors from Inverell, Delungra and Armidale.
I also added up the number of people, villagers and schoolchildren, who received clean drinking water in 2018 and it was an amazing 29,767, more than twice the number of the inhabitants of Inverell.
There were some heart-warming stories – one village I had visited two years ago was in a particularly remote and dry area.
The men were traveling for three hours in their ox-carts to the nearest river for water while the schoolchildren had a ninety-minute walk to the nearest school.
These children could only start school at age eight instead of five because the tracks were too rough and demanding.
Once this village got a water-tank attached to a bore, the men decided they had time to build a little school and get a teacher.
The government has since declared that the building was not up to standard and now a four classroom school is almost completed with four teachers now employed.
All this has happened because a water tank was built there – the gratitude of the villagers I pass on to all who made this possible.
January is usually a dry month in Myanmar but on one occasion there was a day of heavy rain and all the water tanks which rely on rainwater were replenished except for two, one a village tank and one next to a newly-built clinic.
Both were new tanks and I was sorry to hear that they were filling them from the local pond, which had very muddy water. It was that or nothing but it was disappointing to see.
However, I had to remind myself of those who did receive clean drinking water and the thousands of people whose lives have been changed by the generosity of so many people in Inverell, across Australia and the world.
Thanks to so many people, the Inverell Library for the books, Alastair Williams for the football jerseys, Mollie and Toby McCudden who gave presents to the school children, as well as all those who contributed financially to the project.
In a world of so much negativity, you have made a good news story, thousands of lives in one of the poorest countries changed so much for the better by your interest and generosity.
Rosemary Breen (Australian Coordinator of Living Water Myanmar)