Al-Maulin is a remote village in the Indonesian country of Timor Leste. (see map) The mountainous region provides extremely rich soil, exceptional for farming. The 97 households (about 500 people) are subsistence farmers. They are able to grow a wide variety of sought-after fruits and vegtables. Their harvest is always popular in the markets. However, the primitive path to the market is difficult to navigate and must be done by foot or horseback. Motorized vehicles can not use this primitive pathway.
The nearest population centers to Al-Maulin, are Laclubar (12 miles north) and Soibada (12 miles south). There is a single lane stone road between Laclubar and Soibada. Access to Al-Maulin from this road is the steep primitive pathway.
Elementary aged children must walk 1.5 hrs each way to attend school. Secondary school children must find a place to board in Laclubar during the school year. As a result, many children do not attend school and have few opportunities outside the village of Al-Maulin.
It is the same 1.5 hour walk to church and the cemetary, for adults. The medical clinic (government sponsored) is a 2 hr walk, which is impractical for expectant mothers and also for other sick/injured villagers. The general health of the villagers is poor, and all the births are dangerous.
Development has been slow, with respect to knowledge of new crops and agricultural techniques due to lack of communication with the outside world. Economic activity is confined to the villagers subsistence farming. Twice a week, women make their way to the local market at Laclubar. In order to arrive at 7am with their load of fruits and vegetables, they must leave Al-Maulin by 2am. In the
heat of the afternoon they must make their exhausting return trip up the mountain to Al-Maulin.
A solution has been designed. The best access is a road from Al-Maulin that would go around the steep access path and meet close to the summit of the Laclubar-Soibada road. This all weather road would be built to handle motorized vehicles up to light trucks.
A 33-year-old villager, named Judith, says, “we have corn, cassava, banana, mangos and many other fruits and vegetables. How do we get them to market without a good road? We desperately hope for a very good road to market, and so our children get to school. Many in our village are uneducated and a good road will make a big difference.”
Maria has 6 children. One son is 18yo and not going to school because “the road is full of jungle and dangerous to go alone. Only 1 son, age 7 is going to school; the other 4 are not. They said, “to go to school you need money to buy their necessities for the school, but our income is really limited and sometimes we don’t have money at all.” They have corn, banana & other fruits to sell, but access to their village is really limited. “We hope that one day we can build the road and we will be able to support our children to go to school.”
Roslia is 25 years old and has 2 children, and expecting her 3rd. She will deliver this child in the village birthing place, where her 2 other children were born. “We pray this baby to be safe and we trust God. We can not leave our situation and go to a hospital. We have to accept our situation now.” But we pray God will bless us so our road can be built soon.”