Community Plumbing Challenge 2017: Day 8

Community Plumbing Challenge 2017: Day 8

Editor’s Note: Randy Lorge is one of the coaches for the Community Plumbing Challenge team, which is currently in Indonesia doing a project for a school in a small village. It’s the third year for the program that aims to bring together plumbers and engineers from around the world to help regions that still lack basic sanitation and access to clean drinking water. Lorge will be blogging each day during the team’s time in Indonesia, detailing the work that they are doing.


Where did eight days go? Today was the last day for a majority of the Community Plumbing Challenge team. We started at 7:30 a.m. and pushed through the day until finally calling it quits at 4:30 p.m.

Finish work for plumbing, welding, masonry, tile, carpentry, and everything in between was happening today. I think I worked on every facet of the project as did the rest of the team in one way or another to help complete the job. There were smiles and laughs galore from the entire group. The children were in class as well and the sounds of them learning, laughing and singing filled the air. I can’t even describe the amount of satisfaction that the team was feeling from the thought of accomplishing such a steep task. Things fell into place as they should all day long.

In addition to all the work that was taking place on the site today, something historic was also happening. With coordination from the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials – Indonesia, area contractors, engineers, plumbing product manufacturers, and standards officials joined together today to tour the site. Many of the materials that were used to construct the plumbing system were donated from the various groups gathered.

The “historic part” that was happening was something I never dreamed I might be a small part of. The group that gathered pledged to form the first-ever plumbing association in Indonesia. For the first time in this country’s history, an effort will be made to bring these groups together to work toward standardizing the various aspects of plumbing, which will significantly lead to better plumbing conditions for all of Indonesia in the coming years. The group gathered for a press conference on site as well and posed for pictures in front of a plaque that was donated in commemoration of the work that our team did and for this historic day in Indonesian plumbing history.

The day ended with a closing ceremony and tokens of appreciation were given to all the team members before they began heading back to their respective countries.

While it was an exciting day with the anticipation of completing the job and of returning home to our families, I know that at least for myself, there was still a feeling of sadness. Maybe sadness isn’t the right word, but it kind of tugged at my heartstrings to know that we were leaving and there was so much more work that could have been done that was beyond the scope of the original project. It’s kind of hard to explain, but being a husband, a dad, a son, a brother, a friend, a plumber and most importantly someone who believes in God, I know that all of those things take some form of commitment to truly be good at them. They require that we never give up and to always try our best.

While the Community Plumbing Challenge team and I gave it our best and never gave up, I just think that somehow I could have done more. I can only hope that the newly formed plumbing association and the teachers we worked with carry the torch from here.

And even more, that one day, the one little boy in the corner who raised his hand when I asked, “Who wants to be a plumber when they grow up?” grows up to indeed become a plumber. Then he can train people about the importance of plumbing and continue the plumber’s quest to protect the health of the nation.



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