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Smiles all round as water project eases lives of Chiang Rai villagers

Sep 15. 2015
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By Kantamanee Bai-ngern,
Sirin S

The smiles on the faces of Lisu hilltribe people in Chiang Rai's Muang district, when mentioning the newly installed water pipeline distribution system from the local mountain, were not just expressions of happiness, but also of great relief from past ha

The pipeline system constructed at the Dusit Technical Border Patrol Police School in Tambon Huai Chom Phu has been welcomed as an aid in times of water shortage, a major problem that the residents and students have endured for years.

Lisu villager Itsama Tamee told The Nation that she was happy that they would no longer need to walk 10 kilometres to access water.

"From now on, I can be sure that I will have more than enough water to use in my household and for my farming," she said, commenting about the system that replaced the old, unreliable and poorer-built tap-water system.

Many locals, including the schoolchildren, expressed similar opinions about how the project would benefit the community, such as by functioning as a more efficient and sustainable water-supply network for agriculture and livestock.

The construction was jointly organised by Boon Rawd Brewery’s Singha Asa volunteers group, the Phraya Bhirom Bhakdi Foundation and Mae Fah Luang University.

Besides the Dusit Technical Border Patrol Police School, the project will also soon equip another 17 remote schools under the Border Patrol Police’s care with pipeline distribution systems.

These 18 Chiang Rai schools are all part of the HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn-initiated rural children and youth development project, which also includes activities like growing vegetables and raising animals for school lunches.

Construction of the new water system at Huai Chom Phu took three days to complete at the end of last month and was partaken in by over 50 volunteers, most of them Mae Fah Luang University students.

In order to create a shorter path for water from the high mountain to the school and village below, the volunteers diligently lined up and installed the PVC pipes, while also crosschecking for any flaws in the pipework.

A Mae Fah Luang student from Greece, Stella Gkovesi, said she was excited about taking part in this volunteer activity.

"I’m really happy to help bring water to the school and village people who had endured difficulties in life. I think it’s a good experience to do this, and I believe that people with more privilege should be helping other people who are deprived of some basic needs."

Gkovesi added that, although she did not get to talk much with the villagers due to the language barrier, she could feel the gentle kindness of the local people.

"They have been helpful and made us feel welcome in many ways, such as providing us with delicious dishes," she said.

"This camp has made me enthusiastic to participate in other volunteer activities. There is another project to build a school soon, next January, so I hope that I can join it. For those who are interested in joining volunteer camps, I urge you not to hesitate.

"Not only does it reward you with unforgettable experiences, but it also gives you pride and a better attitude towards working with others from different backgrounds," she explained.

Another Mae Fah Luang student, Paveesuda Tasingkum, said: "I usually like to do outdoor activities to balance my life in a relaxing and energising way. Partaking in the Singha camp is no exception. I think it is necessary for people who are more privileged in their lives to assist those are in need and crying out for help."

"The most challenging part during this camp is the process of digging in hard ground to lay down pipeline, but with the help of these kind-hearted villagers, such difficulty has been made a lot easier," she said, adding that the camp was one of the best experiences of her life.

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