Wonder Women provide drinking water to thousands of Semana Santa pilgrims in Larantuka, East Flores

by Feby Ramadhani

Larantuka is a small coastal town located at the eastern tip of Flores, Indonesia. In the 16th century, the Portuguese came here for trade, and Catholicism was slowly introduced. Now, each year, in the week before Easter Sunday, the quiet little town of Larantuka comes alive with a unique religious tradition celebrating the holy week, known as ‘Semana Santa’.

Semana Santa is an acculturation of Portuguese and local cultures. After over five decades, Larantuka is now one of the prime destinations of pilgrimage for all Catholics across Indonesia and the world. By participating in this event, pilgrims get a deeper understanding about the real meaning of Easter — to commemorate the Holy Easter ritual and reflect on the purification of the soul and to connect more with spirituality together.

This year, an influx of 10,000 visitors flocked to sleepy Larantuka to celebrate Semana Santa. For a town with an already limited freshwater supply, providing water to this huge number of pilgrims becomes a critical challenge for the organizers. So, this year Kopernik’s Wonder Women assisted by volunteering their time to set up drinking water stations with Nazava water filters in the main areas, ensuring easy access to safe and clean drinking water.

Wonder Women — Mama Kris, Mama Ana, and Mama Luku — took charge of the four water stations. Each station was situated in high traffic areas, allowing pilgrims to refill their water bottles throughout the celebration. Kopernik’s Program Officer, Yan Kanahebi, explained the logistics behind the water stations, “We have installed 11 water filters in four key points which can be moved from one place to another, depending on the flow of the people. “

In addition to addressing the water supply issue, the stations also presented environmental benefits. In past years, a huge number of disposable plastic water bottles litter the pilgrimage trails and walkways contributing to plastic waste problem post the event. “When you refill a reusable water bottle, there will be less plastic bottles ending up along the trail”, said Hery, one of the local committees in charge for the event.

Kopernik and the participating Wonder Women were proud to support this event and the consolidated effort and commitment from event organizers to making it as environmentally friendly as possible. “We look forward to be involved in this event again and for many years to come,” said Yan.