I was painting my name on a wall with a can of silver paint when an older woman with only one tooth who spoke decent English came up to me and asked what I was doing. I could see years of hard times in her eyes. I told her that I was painting my name and she said that “it must be nice to be able to just spray money into the air” and went on to say that if she had paint she could make the old fence in front of her shack look brand new. She had a point. I had some more cans so we painted the fence together and when we finished I couldn’t believe how happy she was. She never asked me for money or anything beyond painting the fence she just wanted to talk. She lived right in front of a filthy brown river full of garbage and eventually the conversation turned towards water. As we talked I learned that people in the neighborhood used to get water from a well but it had been broken for a while. She often had to go without food because she spent most of her money buying water from street sellers. Even with the well, water had to be boiled so residents spent a large chunk of their salaries on kerosene. After our conversation she thanked me for the fence and we parted ways.
I left Jakarta the next day and started doing a lot of research on water. The more I read I realized that there was nothing more important than water, this is what I really needed to focus on. A few months later I decided to go back to Indonesia and just set this off with my own money. A good friend of mine with a lot of connects lived in Jakarta and was down to come on board.