Monday, September 25, 2023

Local couple builds clean water wells around the world

TBM Water team, Tim Wint and Larry Bentley on the left and Dee Dee Wint on the right, and Aruamu drilling team at the celebration ceremony for the first water well in the village of Tiap, Papua New Guinea (photo courtesy of Tim Wint).

A Flower Mound couple is working to help bring clean water to people all over the world, one water well at a time.

Tim and DeeDee Wint recently returned from three weeks in the remote jungle of the southwestern Pacific island of Papua New Guinea, off the northern coast of Australia.

They– and the Texas Baptist Men (TBM) organization– worked to equip a small, primarily remote village called Tiap with clean drinking water.

“If you look at the hierarchy of needs, water is the most basic of all needs, right after air,” Tim said. “Where we went, the concept of clear drinking water is nothing like they’ve ever seen; they don’t even recognize it.”

The Wints said the dirty water– in the primitive northeastern village of Tiap in the undeveloped part of the country– takes its toll on the health of the Aruamu people there.

“They’re sick, and they have no idea they’re as sick as they are,” Tim said. “They think it’s the way life is. Their life expectancy is mid-40s.”

DeeDee, the vice president of the Water Ministry of TBM, said they got involved with these missions after they volunteered with flood disaster relief in Colorado in 2014.

Tim, 71, has a background in water and engineering and, after meeting someone in charge of the water ministry, “we realized it’s something we wanted to do,” DeeDee said.

“I began to understand how difficult it is for many places around the world to have anything close to clean water,” Tim said. “Here in the U.S., we take it for granted. But, in many other places, life is not nearly as easy as it is here.”

The first water from the first well in Tiap, Madang Province, Papua New Guinea (photo courtesy of Tim Wint).

DeeDee said TBM, which is headquartered in Dallas, receives online requests for water aid from people around the world, oftentimes from local pastors. They vet the requests and evaluate how they can help. The process can take years.

They’ve worked on water projects in many African countries, as well as Peru and Papua New Guinea. Sometimes the projects are primarily about installing water treatment-systems; and, other times, they’re about installing new wells. But, every time, the main priority is equipping and teaching the people there to be able to do the work themselves.

“There’s a limited amount of time we can spend in the country, so we try to train locals to do what we do,” Tim said. “It’s an intense assignment. A lot of the locals have never had any mechanical experience at all, so it’s very difficult to take them from no experience to drilling a water well in three weeks. But, we’ve done it in several places.”

The Wints said the Aruamu people were extremely strong and hard-working.

“The equipment is heavy and there’s no vehicle or even wheelbarrow to help transport it,” DeeDee said. “We were so impressed that they weren’t daunted by any of it. It was inspiring to watch them accomplish this.”

Tim noticed that while the people were poor, they were not struggling, like some people he has seen in African countries.

“They don’t have a lot of cash, but they have a lot of resources,” Tim said. “They’re not hungry. Poverty doesn’t seem to be equal, compared to other places.”

Their experiences helping people in other countries has shown the Wints that the people’s problems aren’t the result of a lack of work ethic.

“If hard work brought you out of poverty, they would be the richest people in the world,” Tim said. “It’s not the fault of not having the desire to better yourself, it’s the circumstances and oftentimes the corruption in their countries … Basically what we like to do is touch peoples’ lives, physically and spiritually and show them a little bit of a path.”

The Wints returned home from their three weeks in Papua New Guinea in early December and they’re leaving in March to go to Uganda for another big project.

“There’s a refugee camp of 2.5-million people– mainly from south Sudan– and the water system is terrible,” DeeDee said. “The wells they have can’t nearly produce enough water, so they’re getting dirty water from the Nile River. We’re going to train a team to drill and, hopefully, they can take this skill and drill and help alleviate this problem.”

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Mark Smith
Mark Smith
Mark Smith is the Digital Editor of The Cross Timbers Gazette.

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