Filming for Kiva, Indonesia TAKE FIVE

This was probably the most anticipated day of my Kiva journey - a chance to go on a field trip with Father Charlie (See Filming for Kiva, Indonesia TAKE ONE for info on Fr. Charlie). One of the newer initiatives that Father Charlie is working on is the transformation of a vast area of useless swampland into fertile farmland.
First site visit. Photo credit: Yungkit

We were told that to get to this area, we would have a bit of a bumpy ride. That was an understatement... Because of the unpaved road we ventured on, we were bouncing around the car like never before. At one point, I was concerned that the car might roll over from the massive potholes. Does anyone remember Ace Ventura Two where Ace is bouncing around the Jeep as he's driving? This as a bit reminiscent of that, except for real. But it's ok, we made it safe and sound.
Filming Father Charlie in his car - bumpy ride when there are no roads! Photo credit: Yungkit

Beautiful field - soon to provide hundreds of families a home and a better way of life. Photo credit: Yungkit

Forty years ago, most of the surrounding area of Cilacap was part of the sea, but due to sedimentation, much of it has disappeared and those who were previously fisherman have had to change careers and go into farming.  There are several areas near Cilacap that have now turned into marshlands - neither good for fishing or farming. As such, Father Charlie, along with various heads of the villages have worked together to pump water out of the marsh lands so that the land can be used for farming.Workers/Volunteers building dock. Photo credit: Yungkit[/caption]
Worker mixing cement for the dock building. Photo credit: Yungkit

Father Charlie was able to raise several hundred thousand Euros from Ireland and Germany as grants to develop this area. However, this money is not a handout to the people. Both Father Charlie and the locals of the area do not believe in simple hand outs. Father Charlie explained it as being an idea that is deeply ingrained in Indonesian culture - to work and earn for themselves. Taking handouts without working for it would bring shame and dishonor to them. As such, through these grants, YSBS funds 70% of the initiative and the people of the village are responsible for 30%.
Group of initiative leaders discussing next steps. Photo credit: Yungkit
Worker taking a break. Photo credit: Yungkit
Filming Father Charlie's interview. Photo credit: Yungkit

When we visited the area with the large pump that was pumping out the water from the marsh land, almost all of the people working were volunteers. They showed up to help their community. Father Charlie was visiting the site today to check on the progress of the pump - and to discuss the plan of which areas they would be pumping water out of. As we were driving, we could already see the areas that had been converted to farmland, specifically an area that was being prepped to grow coconut trees. Once complete, the land would be able to support 600 to 700 families. 
Giant water pump pumping out water to provide fertile land. Photo credit: Yungkit
Building the dock for the platoon. Photo credit: Yungkit

Part of our agenda with Father Charlie today was to see how well the pumps were working. The should be pumping water from the mini lake to other areas for irrigation. We followed the large tubing from the lake all the way to the other end and waited for the water to come out. While we were waiting, there were tiny children from the neighboring houses playing in the mud and sand. With no regard to the dirt or the mud, the kids had the time of their lives digging around. Pretty adorable stuff. We witnessed the water pump out of the tubing and saw that the main pump was doing it's job. They were definitely making great progress, but still had a long way to go.
Kids waiting by the water pump to watch the water flow through. Photo credit: Yungkit
Mike filming the pipe from the water pump. Photo credit: Yungkit
Father Charlie and kids watching the pumped water come out of the pipe. Photo credit: Yungkit

Back in town, we did a walking interview. Father Charlie gave us a tour of the area and showed us how much it has changed since development began several years ago. There were some nice new houses popping up here and there from people and their children earning a better living.
More interviewing Father Charlie. Photo credit: Yungkit
Mike and Father Charlie. Photo credit: Yungkit

The people of Indonesia are certainly some of the kindest and most hospitable people I have met, happily welcoming us into their home for lunch and some fresh coconuts. Although some of the organizers grew up with nothing more than a 4th grade education, they were able to work hard and achieve something great, together.
Town leader with Father Charlie and Mike. Photo credit: Yungkit
Mike in the field (this land was previously all under water). Photo credit: Yungkit

After a couple more mini interviews and shots of the great landscape, we started to make our bumpy road back to the main town of Cilacap. Being able to spend the day with Father Charlie, hearing him explain so much of what he has done was an amazing experience. 
Lost in thought. Photo credit: Yungkit
Father Charlie looking out at all his work - we didn't even ask him to pose for this one. Photo credit: Yungkit
Filming Father Charlie's last interview. Photo credit: Yungkit


On the way back, Father Charlie was nice enough to stop the car for me to film the magestic sunset. It was the perfect end to the perfect day!
Father Charlie taking his final walk to the car after a long day's work. Photo credit: Yungkit
Mike filming in the soon-to-be coconut tree fields. Photo credit: Yungkit
A perfect sunset to end off a perfect day. Photo credit: Yungkit

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After many years working as a producer and director at a Manhattan creative agency, Michael decided to make a change and put his skill-set to use creating meaningful content for causes he believed in. While in Guatemala on a video shoot, he had a chance encounter with a Kiva Fellow that resulted in a successful experience producing videos for Kiva's Women-Owned Businesses initiative. He profiled indigenous women and their businesses around Lake Atitlan and produced a best practices video for the local field partner, Friendship Bridge. These experiences in Central America helped him grow as a filmmaker and instilled a newfound desire to apply his craft telling the stories of the people around the world who have used microfinancing to change their lives. Michael is elated to be continuing his work with Kiva in Southeast Asia this fall. He will be tackling a new Media Fellowship, searching for the borrowers that best exemplify the power of Kiva to give people the resources to lift themselves out of poverty. This Kiva Fellowship is Michael's calling and was the opportunity he was looking for to make a difference.