Internship story: Saline water and hospitality

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This winter Jesse traveled to Central Asia for his internship. 

What was the goal of your trip?

The goal was to find a sustainable water source for Business As Mission fruit and veggetable farming. Long ago, there was a river supplying water. However, because of inefficient and too much irrigation, it is not accesable anymore. What is accessibel is saline ground water. This is prevalent a lot in Central Asia. It is created by a dry climate, irrigation practises and salt accumilation. Saline water is not proper irrigation. That is why a solution is needed. I’ve researched if it is possible and affordable to purify the local ground water with a method called reverse osmosis. This will take the salt out of the water. That makes it suitable for drip irrigation and drinking.

How did you get in contact with this project?

About two years ago I visited a conference called ‘opwekking’. I talked to someone about my dream to travel and that person recommended World Partners. When it was time to go for an internship I gave them a call and that is how it all started.

Did you meet with local people? elke ontmoetingen vond je bijzonder?

I met some local Christians. They invited me to house church services. I saw a lot of devotion. Sometimes, they held three services a day, all three hours long and people drove two hours to get there. In the services they shared amazing testimonies. I heard about youth taking risks to talk about their faith. They were kept safe in miraculous ways.

What struck you about the culture?

What they say about hospitality is really true! It goes much further than what I’m used to in the Netherlands. People who are not well off, go out of their way to prepare nice food for you. Some even sleep on the floor to free a bed for you.

A funny difference came up during diner time. I’m used to wait till everyone has a plate and the host starts the meal. After a long time of awkward glances it became clear that it was my responsibility as a guest to start eating. The second my fork touched the first grain of rice everyone started eating. Luckily, I found an ally whom I could ask: ‘Attack?’ He would tell me when the time was right: ‘Attack’.

What did you take home?

The people that hosted me did not have much. My host takes care of a big family, but he is super generous. Whenever he has something extra he shares. That is something I want to remember. He really inspires me to become more generous. It is something I do not see too much in Dutch culture, but I see that I can do with less and give away more.