Andre Graff: A French Water Well-Digger From Sumba


Some people might find the idea of abandoning the comfort of their home terrifying, but Andre Graff didn’t. This Frenchman settled in West Sumba, Indonesia, happily leaving behind the comforts of his former life. He started a new life mission and worked as a water well-digger there in the East Nusa Tenggara region.

Andre Graff did not decide to alter his life on an impulsive basis. In actuality, a sequence of circumstances brought him to Indonesia. He had been a hot air balloon aviator in his homeland for many years. André later got sick, almost dying from the illness. He started reevaluating his life after he had healed. So he decided that it needed to serve a greater purpose.

Andre Graff developed an interest in the way of living there after visiting. A pattern emerged as he travelled through the Ruing islands, Sabu Raijua, Sumba, and Lembata. He came across many people who were having trouble finding clean water.

He observed in awe as residents of West Sumba travelled two kilometres daily to collect water. And Andre Graff was aware of the need to assist them. Consequently, he decided to take well-digging lessons.

Graff dug deeply into his wallet to pay for concrete culverts that help prevent sediment from contaminating the water and Andre Graff went to the excavation sites directly and completed the job himself rather than hiring an enterprise to do it for him.

Read more about his inspiring story here 

He didn’t stop there Graff wants to make it as easy as feasible for the residents to appreciate their new drinking water. He’s also developing a water filtration system now that the project is well-advanced. Using less fuel to boil the water will decrease environmental harm and pollution and save time. While Andre Graff is presently working on the West Sumba project on his own, he hopes that the Indonesian government will eventually cooperate with him on this project together.

He started this big project in 2004 when no one cared about the locals’ quality of life. His hard work, however, paid off in recent years when more and more people were encouraged to give him a hand, from the locals, and government, to a well-known Indonesian plumbing company, Shimizu. 

locals help Andre Graff to build a water well in Sumba
Source West Sumba twitter account

By the end of 2023, there will be over 40 wells that he has successfully dug, helping almost the entire area of West Sumba. A story like Andre Graff’s needs to be highlighted more often. A story about how a human could genuinely fall in love with the beautiful nature of West Sumba, which gave him enough strength to help others in need without hoping for anything in return. 

“If I die, I want to be buried here with my people, don’t bring me back to French” Andre Graff makes sure that people around him know how much he loves Sumba and would like to get buried there. We might say that he is a true hero

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