Team Trip: Mercy Huts


An update from Dave Lovell on a recent trip to Rote, Indonesia to visit Mercy Huts. Matt and Nat Thistlewaite, the founders of Mercy Huts, welcomed a team from CS Australia, who came to encourage the local mission and start the process of building a new pool which will expand the reach and impact Mercy Huts has in their community.

“Mercy Huts was established in January 2012 when Matt & Nat Thistlewaite moved to Rote the first time to immerse themselves in the local community. They shared a mutual desire to empower people living in poverty in remote Indonesia. In 2010 we were personally impacted whilst visiting communities in East Indonesia. This region is the most severely affected by poverty and has the highest malnutrition and infant mortality rates in all of Indonesia. Locals live on less than USD$1/day. Tourism is currently being promoted in East Indonesia and can often have negative impacts on remote communities. Mercy Huts hopes to be part of the solution in reversing this trend.

Mercy Huts exists to benefit local people living in poverty in Indonesia through the provision of education, employment and training. This will be achieved through the development of beachfront retreats for holiday-makers that give back to the local community. The first of these is located in Rote Island, Indonesia. Rote Island Huts is almost complete.

We believe that everybody should have the opportunity to flourish in life and want to empower communities living in poverty in remote Indonesia. We believe in promoting human rights, preserving the environment, and helping create a sustainable, community-based tourism industry. We want to give others the opportunity to enjoy beachside holidays that empower indigenous communities – to enjoy holidays with purpose."

Jeff Ryan gave us the update on the new Mercy Huts pool; the team came not only to build the pool, but also to use it as an opportunity to work alongside the locals and empower the "new generation of Rote pool builders!"

"The pool shell is poured. It has to cure for a couple of weeks before the next phase of building. The pool will not only lift the level of accomodation but give community access to swimming. Hospitality staff will be trained in swimming and in turn teach the younger children to swim. Drowning among fishermen is an ever present danger. Also the pool operation system will model environmental sustainability to the regional development council. With filter systems that don’t chemically change the water table or impact the fragile marine ecosystem, therefore protecting the local economics of fishing and seaweed farming."