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AIDF Ram Pump – The Only Way is Up - Bernard Robert-Charrue - Philippines


I'd already heard about the yogi who hadn't eaten anything for 10 years and the resurrection of Elvis Presley or Lady Di but, of course, I'd never paid any attention to such stories. Then, I discovered amongst the projects selected for the 2010 edition of World Challenge something that seemed as crazy: a water pump that functions non-stop, without electricity or fuel, powered solely by the force of running water.

So I went to Bacolod City, on the island of Negros in the Philippines, to search out the imposter who would have me believe that you only need a touch of genius and know-how to pump drinking water uphill, in pipes stretching over several kilometres, without any other source of energy - it'd be like having Christmas every day!

The miracle-worker's name is Auke Idzenga, a Dutchman who's been living in the Philippines for a quarter of a century and, believe me, he's nothing like a mysterious preacher or a madman! On the contrary, Auke is a genius of an engineer who's practical and hard-working. He's taken a 200 year-old invention of the Montgolfier brothers and refined and perfected it over the last 25 years.

In the mountains of the Philippines, over 50 000 people already receive running water which is brought to them by the Ram Pumps of AIDFI (an NGO created by Auke and his partners). Although this seems miraculous, it's worth remembering that this was a method of pumping water which was invented at a time when oil didn't exist as an energy source. Thanks to the dedicated work of Auke Idzenga, this invention is working today to bring running water to people who would never otherwise have the financial means to pay for it, if it had to pumped using costly energy sources.

So, watch the World Challenge programme about Ram Pumps and you won't believe your eyes that such genius can simply be so well used.

Posted by Bernard Robert-Charrue

AIDF Ram Pump – The Only Way is Up - Bernard Robert-Charrue - Philippines


In advance of the arrival of the film team from I had communications with Bernard Robert-Charrue, the film director. Of course you have your own ideas on how the storyline ideally would be like and your worry that the crew might not get that right. Since ram pumps systems are high up in the mountains I had to ask for longer filming time. Upon arrival it was clear that Bernard was a very professional and experienced guy. He quickly decreased the number of filming sites and united on three sites with all different conditions: drinking water for a community and two mountain schools, a system for livestock and a system under construction. First day we spent filming in the workshop and it was already clear that Bernard and his cameraman Henri were good team players. Sometimes it looked to our technicians, who don’t understand French of course, that they were quarrelling but for me it felt like a very good dynamism between the two. Then we went up to the mountains in our Samurai with very bad springs, but despite the many bumps no complaints. Henri carried in the heat the 15 kilogram heavy camera all the time himself and Bernard would never allow anybody to carry his bagpack . We have walked lots of kilometers but they really never complained, though guys. I observed the more they saw and heard, the more they liked what they were filming. That was how it felt to me. They were never satisfied and never wanted to rush. When we did a day filming in the village of Annague it was just too late to film a kid bathing at a tap stand. So we went home but despite the hard travel and kilometers of walking they decided to come back and maybe shot their best part of the film. Real profs.

Posted by Auke Idzenga


Bottom Brance


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