Tanks A Lot

May 1, 2022 | by Brad Rowland

Tanks A Lot

By: Lt. Colonel Allen Satterlee

The Salvation Army in the Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands Territory is growing so fast that it is difficult to track much less predict its growth. This, despite being two of the poorest countries in the world and facing many obstacles. Papua New Guinea has a population of 8.9 million people (less than the State of Georgia), with over 850 languages and dialects. With Owen Stanley Range along its spine, the mountains soar to over 14,000 feet, the same as the Rocky Mountains. Because of this, there is no highway system that spans the little country. Many villages are so remote that it takes days to reach them on foot or, in an emergency, accessed by helicopter. Most of the country still does not have electricity, telephone service, internet, or any municipal services. Walking in the many of the villages of Papua New Guinea is like going back a hundred years.

These obstacles, coupled with yearly droughts, mean water supply is critical. While there is an abundance of streams and rivers, accessing them is difficult because of the hilly terrain. Water has to be carried by hand, sometimes long distances. There is a rainy season, so efforts are made to capture whatever water possible to span the seasons of drought. Although drilling wells is helpful in some sections of the country, they don't work in others. And with the lack of electricity to power the pumps, they are many times impractical.

The alternative is to install water tanks. Water is channeled from roofs into pipes and then stored in large water tanks. Because they are sealed, there is less likely to contamination although there is less protection from microbes. But most villagers build up a resistance early and can tolerate the water even though visitors, even from other tribes, likely cannot. Bottom line: if you visit, carry bottled water!

A further advantage of the water tanks is that they deny mosquitoes a place to lay eggs and grow larvae. While mosquitoes are a nuisance here, they are deadly in Papua New Guinea as they spread malaria and incurable, untreatable diseases like dengue fever. Each year, the territory loses officers and soldiers to these dreaded diseases.

In response to the urgent need for water tanks in the rural areas, The Salvation Army USA Southern Territory Men's Ministries has launched the 4:14 Project, the theme based on John 4:14, "Whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life."

The Papua Guinea and Solomon Islands Territory has shared that a 1500-gallon water tank can be purchased, shipped, and installed for approximately $2000 each.

"We are challenging the men across the USA Southern Territory to provide this vital need that will not only benefit The Salvation Army, but all the people who live in the where the Army operates," said Major Mark Satterlee, Territorial Men's Ministries Secretary, "We are challenging men across the territory to provide ten of these tanks. If we go over our goal, we will be able to provide even more tanks, or larger ones, to villages standing in line to get them."

For information on how to help, visit Southern Men on Facebook or contact Major Satterlee at: mark.satterlee@uss.salvationarmy.org.

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