News: Kyrgyz villagers celebrate water improvement project
Story by Tech. Sgt. Rachel Martinez
MANAS, Kyrgyz Republic - For centuries, water sources have been a gathering place for people.
Water brought people together when representatives from the Kyrgyz Republic, Transit Center at Manas, and U.S. Embassy in Bishkek gathered at a well site in Jangi Jer Village for a dedication ceremony April 5, 2013.
The dedication ceremony celebrated completing a humanitarian assistance project that involved renovating three water wells, significantly improving the water quality and availability for the more than 9,000 residents of Jangi Jer. The $97,400 project took approximately four months to complete. It included replacing water pumps, piping and electrical systems to run the three wells, installing of ultraviolet purification systems and constructing a pump house.
"Before the project, the water was not reliable," said Staff. Sgt. Timothy Wellman, TCM Theater Security Cooperation Division program manager. "The old pumps were rusted and would shut off. Some of the piping was above ground, which in the harsh winters here would sometimes freeze. We wanted to do this project and do it quickly because it's the main water supply for 9,000 residents."
The humanitarian project was greatly appreciated by village leaders, especially considering the cost of repairs.
"If we were to do this project ourselves, we would have to have used our budget for the whole year; we wouldn't be able to pay for anything else," said Tezekbaev Nasirdin Kazievich, Jangi Jer mayor. "We're grateful to the people of America and the Transit Center for doing this project for the people of our village. Water is an important source of life. And now our water is greatly improved."
Access to clean water is the foundation of healthy and thriving community, said the U.S. Embassy in Bishkek cultural affairs attaché, Johanna Fernando.
"This is just one example of how the Transit Center works to improve the provision of public services in nearby communities," Fernando said. "We continue to work closely with the government of the Kyrgyz Republic on improving quality of life and providing better opportunities for the people of Kyrgyzstan."
The dedication ceremony was more than a celebration of improved quality of life; it was a celebration of the partnership and friendship between the Kyrgyz Republic and the United States.
"We appreciate the partnership with the U.S. government," said Kenjebaev Amankan Batyrbekovich, deputy state regional administrator. "The greatest gift we can give back is to make you all honorary citizens of this village."