ACTNews, ATAMBUA – If you visit Haekrit Hamlet, Manleten Village, East Tasifeto Sub-District, Belu Regency, in the middle of the year, you’ll see nothing but dry and barren land. When we visited on the day of Eid-ul-Adha, it was still dry and barren.
Along Global Qurban – Aksi Cepat Tanggap (ACT)’s journey to Haekrit, our eyes saw nothing but barren hills and dry farmlands. It was on Thursday (8/23) afternoon, but the wind was quite hot. Our pickup truck speeded across the dusty land.
After a thirty-minute-journey from the center of Atambua city, our truck rolled on rocky road, marking our entrance to Haekrit. It is a hamlet where most of its inhabitants are former East Timorese who chose to be on the side of Indonesia after the 1999 referendum.
In Haekrit, during the qurbani distribution, we found another devastating fact. We saw the children in the hamlet with jerry cans in their hands running towards a water well. Ali Abdullah Duru, one of the locals we met, explained to us about the peculiar sight.
He told us that such sight had been very common in the village in the last five months. He explained that Haekrit had been affected by drought.
“The main problem in this village is drought and water crisis. We have two water wells here to support 200 families. Clean water is something for which we compete. The sooner one comes, he will get the water after waiting in line with other villagers,” said Duru.
Ali recounted to us his condition after the 1999 referendum. The dry condition of the village is not at all unfamiliar to him and his family. They chose to side with Indonesia and had to live their house and wealth in East Timor. They crossed the border bringing only clothes they could carry. After moving from one place to another, he settled in Haekrit Hamlet in 2004, a hamlet with only 11 Muslim families.
After settling in Haekrit, living in wooden house with roof made of zinc sheets, he still has to endure the rather unfriendly natural condition. His house has no plumbing. To fulfill his needs, he has to stand in queue for water with other villagers.
“Here, we have to stand in line to get clean water. Some even have to stand in line at 2 or 3 a.m. in the morning. When the water runs out, we have to wait for another 1 or 2 hours until the water comes back up. For those who have money, they can afford to buy clean water,” he said.
Ali and other villagers can only hope for rain, which hasn’t fallen a drop since April. For a few months, the villagers have to live in severe drought and water crisis. With the river in the village dried up, the two water-wells became the sole water sources for the people of Haekrit.
Thriving amidst difficulties
Water crisis wasn’t the only problem in Haekrit. Electricity has also been unavailable in Haekrit for the last 15 years.
For their lighting, they rely on solar power for which they have to pay. Those who can’t afford have to be content with life without electricity. Another problem is inadequate sanitary facilities.
“Three main problems in this hamlet are broken roads, lack of electricity, and clean water crisis,” said Muhammad Imam, a local religious leader.
Living in difficulties does not dampen the spirit of the Muslim minority in Haekrit to keep practicing Islam. Monthly Islamic classes are often held, attended by adults, while Quranic classes for kids are held twice a week.
“We are a minority here; we have to borrow a villager’s house and turn it into makeshift mosque. Alhamdulillah, the enthusiasm is quite strong,” said Imam.
In the midst of difficult condition, Muslim population in Haekrit were very grateful for Global Qurban’s arrival to their village, bringing the blessings of qurbani. It was the first time for them to receive a whole cow carcass. Previously, they only received pieces of qurbani meat from Hidayatullah mosque in Atambua.
May the qurbani distribution from Global Qurban bring smile on the faces of Muslim population in Haekrit amidst the difficulties that they endure.