Last night, I had light in my home. We played a few games, read some books, and watched a little TV, as a typical American family for whom everyday life goes on even when the sun goes down. I’m sure every one of you reading this can say the same. And this morning, like each of you, I woke and enjoyed clean running water for my shower and to drink. Most days these are luxuries that I consume without notice and appreciate without fanfare. But this week, I had a lovely reminder from now lifelong friends in Indonesia, which brought back a sweet gratitude for these modern luxuries.
It’s been almost a year since we returned from Indonesia, the third installment in our 7 Continents in 7 Years journey. While there we worked on solar installations, a clean water project, reforestation and agroforestry projects and community education. Like every year of these journeys, our experience in Indonesia was a bonding and rewarding one for each of us who traveled there. Indonesia holds a special spot in each of our hearts who were fortunate enough to travel there. What I am most grateful for is the knowledge that we brought the simple luxuries of light and water to many in those sweet communities to enjoy. These gifts are not opened one time and discarded … they are sustainable and long-lasting.
This month we received word from Anton Ario, our local Indonesian guide from Conservation International, about the progress of our projects and efforts in the Gedapahala Region where we served. As I read through his updates, I smiled. Here we are a world away from Gedapahala and Bodogol, and yet we are forever and intrinsically connected to the people, the livelihoods and the ecosystem of this little spot in the world. I am reminded how small and simple things can truly blossom and grow. I am reminded again about the very real power of a ripple effect and the ability of each of us to catalyze tremendous change through one small action.
Here are some highlights from his update. As you read these, I encourage you to think about the incredible power that Generation V has. It is because thousands of customers continue to use their lights and live very normal lives, we are able to create a tremendous, collective impact, at home and abroad.
The solar on the Gedepahala Education Center and Gibbon Rehabilitation Center are in excellent working condition. Anton shared that the staff at both centers use the light in the evenings to extend their education and park management activities and are able to charge laptops, phones and other mobile devices, extending their communication ability.
In the small village of Genteng, life has been transformed by access to light for the villagers. Anton shared that children love having access to light in the evenings so they can continue to read and study. This ability to focus on school work after daylight working hours, lends a true advantage to students there.
Clean Water Project:
The community of Bodogol is a village of about 475 people who are able to now use the water sourced from the forest. Anton shared that the community is maintaining the facility and the piping and the water pressure is strong. Water is flowing and the villagers are enjoying the simple pleasures that come with having water available close to home.
Reforestation & agroforestry:
Our reforestation work is providing a short-term income source for the local community who continue to maintain the site as the seedlings take root. The seedlings we planted have had an 85% survival rate and those that did not take root have been replanted by the local community. Over time these trees will continue to grow and protect the vital watershed, enhancing the lives and livelihoods of hundreds of farmers in the area.
Viridian’s seed funding has enabled the local Conservation International team to continue its educational awareness program throughout the region, visiting many schools and inviting students to the education center. The local team is able to replicate the education activities we did a year ago four times every month with a new classroom, reaching about 750 students to date.
Wow. Again I ponder the simple luxuries of our life. Tonight as I tuck my babies in, I will smile as they close their books and turn out their lights. And I will not take for granted the miracle of running water as I brush my teeth. And I will think fondly of our friends in Indonesia who can now incorporate just a little bit of our world into their own beautiful and rich land.
Today I am grateful and proud to be part of Generation V.