Archive for January, 2012

Ram Pumps and Other Aeta Dreams

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

It’s been a long time coming.

More than a year ago, at an evening meeting in Barangay Villar, inside the Aetas ancestral domain, we shared our dreams which started with our partnership for Aeta learning and leadership. After a lot of discussion, they agreed on one priority – water for drinking and for irrigation. But the spring source was 100 meters below the plateau where their huts and farms were.

Fortunately, we got to know about the ram pump technology which has been refined and further developed by the Alternative Indigenous Development Foundation Inc. (AIDFI)

ELF negotiated for funding from the Department of Agriculture, AIDFI surveyed the water source and the path for the pipes and hoses, and we asked the LGU of Botolan for counterpart assistance. A long, tedious process, not without moments of frustration. Bgy, Villar Chairman Pabalic said that many of his fellow Aetas were skeptical about the project ever happening.

But steadily, though slowly, the negotiations and preparations proceeded. Last January 28-29, I had a chance to visit the ram pump site. At last, the Aetas got a glimpse of a future that is just weeks away.

But the Aetas’ dreams go beyond the water that the ram pump will supply. At the community meeting and in the various conversations, we talked about the organic farms that they would develop, the post-harvest facilities to process and store their surplus crops, a trading cooperative they will set up, barangay and sitio electrification, perhaps even a pool of farm equipment. And still, the constant dream of lifelong learning about their indigenous knowledge and traditions and what they need to learn to interact with the dominant lowland and market society.

Here are a few pictures from the visit:

Aeta Ram PumpAeta Ram Pump 2Bgy Villar meeting