Chairperson: Dan Furlan welcomed Anton Van Doornik once again to our club. Anton is a PP from Geelong Rotary, manages the DIK Program, is an active/driving participant in the Sariri Village schedule, PNG and is a retired teacher. He showed an excellent slide show and answered many questions.

Anton started the Sariri Village Pilot Program 4 years ago when cyclone damage and subsequent flooding of the river caused villages to be washed away and the loss of 9 lives. 7 tribes in the area then moved 2km inland, away from the river. A local man, Elijah Sarigari was given the Joyce & Jean Abbey Scholarship to study at Creswick for 3 months learning farm management, how to cut and store timber, and how to build garden beds with drainage channels. He returned to PNG to pass on his knowledge and work with volunteer groups from Rotary as well as his own villagers. Rotary bought a moveable saw mill for $30,000 (with a matching grant), which is transported to the felled tree and re-assembled around it. It cuts timber to 5”x6” and also cuts weatherboards.

  •  Aim for each family to build home with garden, sell excess vegies/fruit. With proper handling, housing should last 3 years; white ants are a problem. Two bedroom houses with living area, veranda, some with water tank, some open sided.
  • Guest house built for volunteer’s accommodation, with bathroom. Can rent out these rooms for $40/night as extra income.
  • National Agricultural Research Team came to inspect village and declared it the best in PNG lowlands.
  • Sustain forests by planting 2 saplings for each tree felled.
  • Taro crop has been propagated, will distribute tubers to other villages.

  • Small red peppers are harvested then dried, sorted, sold for $3/kg.
  • Given Muscovite ducks to raise and sell eggs.
  • Water sanitation a problem; children collect in buckets from river after school.
  • Trying to dig a well but it fills with water quickly and collapses. Will try elsewhere.
  • Building 4m high tank stand with solar pump, 2km pipe from river, hose and taps extending down road for villagers.
  • Last vehicle purchased for $4000 is worn out due to rough conditions.
  • Rotary sent a large raft which crosses the river using a cable system. Going to try getting the tractor across!
  • Building 2 room school with storeroom, open plan. Also to be used for meetings, sewing groups and cooking classes. Putting solar panels on roof to gain 240V power, batteries last 10 years, will send power to other buildings too.
  • The 7 village chiefs are the 7 Directors of Sariri Village operations. Have bank account, project director, board of directors.
  • Future plans include water supply, septic tank behind guest house, vehicle, housing for villagers, tractor storage shed, school – major expense!!
  • Next Rotary team of 6 people travels to PNG in May 2013.
Dan thanked Anton for a highly interesting and passionate delivery, which was followed by countless questions.