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South Africa: Troubled Water -- Reported by Amy Costello

AMY COSTELLO, Correspondent:  [voice-over]  Five years ago, I reported a story for FRONTLINE/World.

In many parts of the world, it is impossible to find clean drinking water, especially here in South Africa—

It was about the challenges of getting water in Africa, and a promising new technology called the PlayPump.  After years of covering bad news in Africa, I was happy to report a story that seemed to offer something to cheer about.

GIRL:  There were no toys at school that we could play with, so I thought this merry-go-round I could play with and have—

AMY COSTELLO:  [on camera]  And what?

GIRL:  Some fun.

AMY COSTELLO:  [voice-over]  My FRONTLINE story showed how simple it might be for children to pump fresh water just by playing, and behind it all, a South African entrepreneur named Trevor Field.

TREVOR FIELD:  As the kids spin here, and it doesn't matter which direction they go, it works in both directions—

AMY COSTELLO:  Trevor told me he'd made his money in advertising, but when he heard about this new device, he formed a company and started making PlayPumps himself.

TREVOR FIELD:  Not only can you hear the water going into the pump, you can actually feel it.  It's getting very cold.

AMY COSTELLO:  Cold, yeah.

TREVOR FIELD:  And then from there, there's an outlet pipe and it goes across to that tap.  When you turn it on, you just get cold, clean fresh drinking water coming out of there.

AMY COSTELLO:  To cover maintenance costs, Trevor proposed selling ads on the sides of the water tower.  He said the PlayPump model would be a big improvement over the hand pumps that Africans have been using for years.

AMY COSTELLO:  How's that feel, Trevor?

TREVOR FIELD:  Hey, it's hard work!

AMY COSTELLO:  Trevor Field would become the PlayPump's public face and most tireless salesman.

TREVOR FIELD:  If we could put a thousand pumps in each country that's water-stressed, we'd make a monster difference to rural water supplies.

AMY COSTELLO:  When my story aired back in 2005, there was an outpouring from across the country and around the globe.  Then just a few months later, in late 2006, I was invited to an event in New York where the PlayPump was being taken to a whole new level.  Celebrities, politicians, and most important, major donors had been hearing about the PlayPump, and, I'd been told, watching my FRONTLINE story.

BILL CLINTON, Former President of the United States:  Please join me in welcoming America's first lady, Laura Bush.

AMY COSTELLO:  PlayPump founder Trevor Field watched from his office in South Africa.

TREVOR FIELD:  From a small little outfit in South Africa, all of a sudden, you're getting the acknowledgement of the world.  We were very, very excited.  We hired a flat-screen TV and got a live link-up and watched the announcement.

LAURA BUSH:  Together with our partners, we commit to bringing the benefits of clean drinking water to more than a thousand communities and schools in sub-Saharan Africa through the PlayPump water system.

AMY COSTELLO:  The United States government had pledged $10 million.  Another $5 million came from a foundation run by Steve Case, the founder of America Online, and his wife, Jean.

STEVE CASE:  The idea of PlayPumps was so simple, but so perfect— you know, send the kids out to spin on a merry-go-round, and it pumps water that the whole village can use.

AMY COSTELLO:  The Cases would soon create PlayPumps International, a new non-profit with an ambitious marketing plan.  Jean Case told me that my FRONTLINE story was the first thing she showed potential funders.  Soon there would be FaceBook, Twitter, and fund-raising campaigns on charitable Web sites.  With the promise of all that money, Trevor Field began expanding his factory and turning out hundreds of new PlayPumps.

TREVOR FIELD:  $16.4 million to PlayPumps— that was from outer space.

AMY COSTELLO:  As part of the fund-raising push, PlayPumps International helped arrange for hip-hop legend Jay Z to donate a PlayPump with MTV cameras rolling.

JAY Z:  We came out here to build PlayPumps and bring awareness to the water for life fight.

AMY COSTELLO:  Later, there would be a benefit concert.  It was all part of a plan to raise more than $60 million for PlayPumps by 2010.  I watched as my little story about the PlayPump became a big-time cause.  Just a few months later, Trevor Field was expanding his PlayPump program in neighboring Mozambique.

TREVOR FIELD:  We've got a program of 30.  I think we've installed 26 already, thereabouts.

AMY COSTELLO:  PlayPumps International planned to help Trevor roll out the pump in 10 African nations.

[on camera]  Where are we, Trevor?

TREVOR FIELD:  This is the approach to Intaka school.  Intaka's up there on the right.

AMY COSTELLO:  [voice-over]  Schools, Trevor said, were the ideal sites, and he seemed confident in the new technology he was delivering to Intaka Primary.

TREVOR FIELD:  It's pumping like crazy, man!

AMY COSTELLO:  The water was surging through these pipes and being stored in a tank above.  The children seemed to be having fun, and everyone here apparently had a reliable supply of clean drinking water.

TREVOR FIELD:  There was a time when I thought this little roundabout was just going to be a fun little thing, but now yeah, its going to change the world, for sure.

AMY COSTELLO:  As the roll-out continued, the media ran with the story.

NEWSCASTER:  It's simple and it's sustainable.  All these kids have to do is play on the pump—

TREVOR FIELD:  It's basically a windmill on its side.  That's what it is.

AMY COSTELLO:  Trevor and PlayPumps International now wanted to triple the number of pumps in the ground, and to get it done it fast.

Three years later

AMY COSTELLO:  I'm back in Mozambique.  I'd heard that the PlayPump roll-out had run into trouble and I wanted to see what had happened.  This is the site I'd visited with Trevor Field on my last trip here.

[on camera]  So we're back here at Intaka primary school, a few years after we first visited.  And if we look over at what's happening at the PlayPump now, the children are just kind of standing idle.

[voice-over]  The boy pulls the lever, but no water comes out.  The assistant principal tells me there's a problem.

ASST. PRINCIPAL:  [subtitles]  We don't know why, but no water is stored in the tank.  Initially, it wasn't like that.  The kids would spin and it would fill the tank.

AMY COSTELLO:  With no water in the tank, one group of children has to spin in order for others to drink.  The PlayPump was supposed to be fun, but this looks like work.  And when the water finally comes, the kids battle over it.

[www.pbs.org: More on water security]

I decided to visit more PlayPump sites.  The next one was in a more remote part of Mozambique with not nearly as many children around.  I'd heard this village used to get its water from a hand pump, but then some people arrived one day to install a PlayPump.

[on camera]  When the PlayPump came, were you expecting it?  Had anybody told you, ``We'd like to bring a PlayPump to this community''?

REGINA PIEDAD:  [subtitles]  No, we had no information.  They came here with stones and cement and built this well and fixed this tank.  The community leader said we should start getting water here.

AMY COSTELLO:  [voice-over]  Regina showed me how she managed to use the pump, which was designed for children, but she's young.

REGINA PIEDAD:  [subtitles]  These old women wouldn't do it like this.

AMY COSTELLO:  [on camera]  Show me what you would do.  You can't use it?  Can you use it?

REGINA PIEDAD:  No.

WOMAN:  [subtitles]  From 5:00 AM, we are in the fields, working for six hours.   Then we come to this pump and have to turn it.  From this, your arms start to hurt.  The old hand pump was much easier.

AMY COSTELLO:  [voice-over]  And these women have a bigger problem.

REGINA PIEDAD:  [subtitles]  There's nothing.  No water.

AMY COSTELLO:  Regina says this PlayPump hasn't produced any water for six months.

Trevor Field's plan to cover maintenance with revenue from billboards wasn't working here.  And when the women called or texted the repair line, they told me they got no response.

I met with Joaqim George.  He's with Mozambique's Rural Water Authority. 

JOAQIM GEORGE:  Once the pump breaks, and it takes more than three months to repair, people in these communities no longer trust the PlayPumps because they are demoralized.  It doesn't work properly.  We know it is for free, but it doesn't work properly.

AMY COSTELLO:  I asked George about a report the government commissioned on the PlayPump that was never released.  It was based on visits to more than 100 sites and detailed a long list of problems like the ones I'd found, the strange operation technique for women, pumps out of commission for up to 17 months, and maintenance ``a real disaster.''

[www.pbs.org: Read the full report]

Perhaps most concerning, they found children not really using the PlayPump in the way that it had been touted, something I'd seen for myself at Intaka Primary School.

I wanted to talk about all of this with PlayPump founder Trevor Field, but he was reluctant to speak.  Then in Mozambique's capital, I met someone who would talk.

JOHN GRABOWSKI, Save the Children, Mozambique:  Good question, and I'm not sure—

AMY COSTELLO:  John Grabowski said his group, Save the Children, worked with Trevor Field to install dozens of pumps in Mozambique just before Grabowski became the group's country director.

JOHN GRABOWSKI:  In December of 2007, all of the pumps were operational.  Right now, there are only 13.

AMY COSTELLO:  [on camera]  That are operational?

JOHN GRABOWSKI:  Of those 42.

AMY COSTELLO:  Why?

JOHN GRABOWSKI:  Again, they're just not operating.

AMY COSTELLO:  But you don't know what's wrong with those pumps?

JOHN GRABOWSKI:  Technologically. no.

AMY COSTELLO:  [voice-over]  The Mozambique government report in part blamed Save the Children itself for not properly testing sites and the quality of water at those sites before PlayPumps were installed there.  Then, later, Save the Children proved unable to resolve complaints from the field.

[on camera]  You then begin to hear negative responses from the community.  Do you know when you started to hear those negative responses?

JOHN GRABOWSKI:  Actually, pretty much right after installation, again, if you look at the reports that we were submitting back to PlayPumps.  I mean—

AMY COSTELLO:  And how did PlayPumps International respond to the feedback that you were giving them?

JOHN GRABOWSKI:  Good question.  And I'm not sure I have an answer to that one.

AMY COSTELLO:  [voice-over]  This is the Washington headquarters of the Case Foundation and PlayPumps International.  I wanted to ask about the problems I'd found on the ground in Africa.

[on camera]  And I've been trying to get an interview with PlayPumps International Washington and have been told through their media spokesperson that the CEO is much, much too busy to see me.  I asked today, since I was coming to Washington, for five minutes of his time.  They promised to get back to me today, and they haven't.

[voice-over]  I got nowhere that day.  And over the course of six months of interview requests, no one from the Case Foundation or PlayPumps International would agree to speak with me.  Others were reluctant to criticize the pump's backers.

Then late last fall, I obtained this UNICEF report.  It was circulating among major funders and laid out more problems with the pump and the roll-out.

CLARISSA BROCKLEHURST, UNICEF Chief of Water, Sanitation & Hygiene:  I can see that you've already done the research.  You know some of that already.

AMY COSTELLO:  At UNICEF'S New York headquarters, Clarissa Brocklehurst told me about the aid group's brief experiment with the PlayPump.

CLARISSA BROCKLEHURST:  We found that the model didn't work as well as we had hoped.  And the country offices that tried it out came to the conclusion that it wasn't a good option, given the type of programming that UNICEF wanted to do.

AMY COSTELLO:  After installing dozens of PlayPumps, UNICEF concluded the system was not as sustainable as it needed to be to work in rural Africa.

CLARISSA BROCKLEHURST:  You can put in a beautiful, perfect pump, and if it breaks down and there's no spare parts, then it was only as good as the six weeks or six months that it ever lasted for in the first place.

PROMOTIONAL VIDEO:  The pump takes about a day to assemble.

AMY COSTELLO:  [voice-over]  Despite the negative reports, PlayPumps International continued to push for more pumps across southern Africa.

PROMOTIONAL VIDEO:  You could help PlayPumps International reach its goal of 100 pumps in 100 days—

AMY COSTELLO:  They stepped up the fund-raising to meet their goal of 4,000 pumps by 2010.

PROMOTIONAL VIDEO:  PlayPump water system utilizes the power of children playing.

AMY COSTELLO:  Kristina Gubic visited more than 100 PlayPump sites when she was communications manager for PlayPumps South Africa.  But along the way, she told us, she developed misgivings.

KRISTINA GUBIC, PlayPumps Intl., South Africa, 2007-08:  Well, I did encounter pumps in the field that weren't working.  If I was doing a community site visit and I encountered a non-working pump, all I could do was feed back that information.

AMY COSTELLO:  [on camera]  You know, you're not the first person to say, ``Hey, we were giving negative feedback to PlayPumps International, and especially the people in Washington just didn't want to hear it.''

KRISTINA GUBIC:  Well, I think— I think you might be right.  And I feel that the intention was always positive and always well meant, but possibly could have been less focused on achieving quantity and more focused on getting it right from the outset, rather than the pressure to— you know, to roll out as many pumps as you can.

AMY COSTELLO:  [voice-over]  Back in Mozambique, the flawed PlayPump roll-out was still having repercussions.  For six months, Regina and the 150 families with a non-working PlayPump have had to walk to a neighboring village to get their water.  They say it takes 40 minutes, and the daily influx of all these people is causing tension.

1st VILLAGE WOMAN:  [subtitles]  We get very upset when we see people coming from there because it's very crowded here.

2nd VILLAGE WOMAN: [subtitles]  The PlayPump is not good.

[www.pbs.org: Q & A with the reporter]

AMY COSTELLO:  Earlier this year, I tried again to speak to the man who had always been at the center of this story.  And this time, after months of discussion, Trevor Field agreed to sit for an interview.

[on camera]  I want to talk about what's happened recently.

[voice-over]  We met in Johannesburg, where he told me his side of what had happened with the PlayPump roll-out.

TREVOR FIELD, PlayPumps Founder:  The roll-out was a bit frustrating because we wanted to try and hit targets.  We wanted everybody to be extremely happy.  We wanted loads of money coming in so we'd get out there and put the $16 million do 4,000 pumps.  We— that's why we jacked up the capacity at the factory.  That's why we invested loads of money in people and time and computers and equipment, and we were on the brink of making our own robotics machines.

AMY COSTELLO:  [on camera]  The fact that I went to a community that had been without drinking water for six months because their PlayPump was broken, that gets to the issue of maintenance, one of the big challenges that has occurred during this roll-out of the PlayPump across Africa.

TREVOR FIELD:  We might not have been 100 percent fixing all of the pumps all of the time.  But the majority of the pumps are working, way more than the majority are working, 80 to 90 percent of them are working 100 percent.  And the rest of them will get attended to.

AMY COSTELLO:  [voice-over]  Trevor said he didn't think he was responsible for what had gone wrong with a few dozen pumps in Mozambique.  He says he told Save the Children that the sites they'd chosen would never work.

TREVOR FIELD:  We tried to fix it.  We went back once, we went back twice, we went back three times, four times to try and repair it, and we said to him, ``Hey, this is not going to work.''  And we informed PlayPumps International.  We informed Save the Children in Mozambique.  No response.

AMY COSTELLO:  [on camera]  Save the Children never responded to you?

TREVOR FIELD:  Didn't respond.

AMY COSTELLO:  How did PlayPumps Washington respond?

TREVOR FIELD:  Didn't respond.

AMY COSTELLO:  For how long.

TREVOR FIELD:  Months.

AMY COSTELLO:  Months of no response?

TREVOR FIELD:  No response to our requests, you know, ``What are we going to do about this?''

AMY COSTELLO:  In the meantime, there's communities of 150 families who don't have drinking water for six months—

TREVOR FIELD:  Sure.  Sure.

AMY COSTELLO:  —while everybody's busy pointing fingers.

TREVOR FIELD:  Obviously, we want to give the people water, but we can't keep endlessly changing equipment one after the other because who's going to pay for it?

AMY COSTELLO:  [voice-over]  No one wanted to take sole responsibility for paying to replace the on-working pumps, it seemed.  So months went by without any resolution.  Meanwhile, with some 1,500 pumps still in the ground and others being installed, I wanted to know if Trevor still believed in the basic premise of the PlayPump, which so many were now questioning.

[on camera]  Are children a reliable source of energy for pumping drinking water?

TREVOR FIELD:  I think they are.  People say, you know, ``Well, the kids don't play on it and there's no water in the tank.''  You know, it's easy to be critical, but our policy is that we're trying to give children drinking water, a liter, a liter-and-a-half for the day, and the pump does do that.

As we go along, we find out where our failures are.  In the field, you find out, well, you know, we're getting a lot of failures on cylinders.

AMY COSTELLO:  [voice-over]  Trevor told us that he's learning and improving his technology along the way.  But he now concedes that the PlayPump, which is mainly effective at large schools, will likely never live up to its initial promise.

[on camera]  When I hear the narrative of what happened since the announcement in Washington in 2006, part of it feels to me like too much, too soon, too fast.

TREVOR FIELD:  It might have been a bit ambitious, you know?  But hey, you've got to dream big, yeah?  Everybody's always said, ``Oh, that's such a great idea!''

AMY COSTELLO:  [voice-over]  Three years after its big launch, the PlayPump roll-out came to a very quiet end.  The only official acknowledgment of what had happened would be this brief letter on the PlayPumps International Web site, posted right around the time we started asking questions.  It said that the organization had long-standing challenges with the PlayPump and that the campaign had been ``hard and humbling work.''  They would ultimately hand over their inventory of unused PlayPumps to another charity, which plans to use them only in limited circumstances.

CLARISSA BROCKLEHURST, UNICEF Chief of Water, Sanitation & Hygiene:  We would all love there to be a magic bullet that would solve the problem, but the fact is that that's not the way it works.  It's a big, complicated sector.  The needs are enormous.  The challenges are huge.  In the end, we'll discover always that the solution comes with some sort of caveats, and it'll be applicable in some cases and it won't be applicable in others.

AMY COSTELLO:  As FRONTLINE prepared this report, we heard that PlayPumps International, Save the Children and others had at last addressed the problem of the non-working pumps in Mozambique and the villagers here finally got the simple solution to their water problems that they'd been asking for, their old hand pumps back.

KRISTINA GUBIC, PlayPumps Intl., South Africa, 2007-08:  How often do we hear about a development agency admitting their mistakes and going, ``We messed up, but don't worry, we're dealing with it.'' It's not something that is part of development culture, to admit your flaws.  And this is what— this is what development is about.  It's challenging.  It's about finding solutions for problems.  It's not going to be plain sailing.

West Papua: The Clever One -- Reported by: Josiah Hooper

JOSIAH HOOPER, Correspondent:  [voice-over]  The highlands of New Guinea are one of the most remote corners of the world.  For my friend, Mary Jo McConnell, this is the only place where she can do her unusual work.

As we head deep into the Arfak Mountains, the road is treacherous and almost impassable.  But even at 70, Mary Jo is determined.  It's her obsession that's driving the expedition.  We're on the trail of a mysterious bird.

We finally arrive past midnight, and the welcoming party is waiting up for us with a hot meal.  I woke up in a farming village called Hungku.

JOSIAH HOOPER:  Our arrival was broadcast by the village voice.

VILLAGE MAN:  [subtitles]  No working in the fields today!

JOSIAH HOOPER:  Moses Saiba is the chief of Hungku.  He has known Mary Jo McConnell for 15 years and has been anxiously awaiting her return.

MOSES SAIBA:  [subtitles]  Mary Jo is like a member of the family, like a parent or mother.  We call her our mother, Mary Jo.

MARY JO McCONNELL:  It feels great.  I'm excited again.  I never really dreamed I'd get back.

I can't fix it.  You have to carry it like this.

JOSIAH HOOPER:  It's getting harder for Mary Jo to make the trip, but she says her work compels her to return.

MARY JO McCONNELL:  I'm sure tomorrow, when it's time to up there, everything'll come together just fine, and I think I'm going to get my best paintings ever.

He's carrying my canvas for me.  He's going to carry it up to my— where I'm going to paint.

JOSIAH HOOPER:  [on camera]  Very important thing you have there, huh?

[voice-over]  Mary Jo is an artist, and to reach her elusive subject, we'll need to travel hours more up the mountain.

MARY JO McCONNELL:  That's our hotel and the home fires are burning already.

JOSIAH HOOPER:  The villagers build Mary Jo a base camp every time she visits.

MARY JO McCONNELL:  Hotel Hungku!

JOSIAH HOOPER:  Few outsiders come here, so Mary Jo is a one-woman tourist industry.

MARY JO McCONNELL:  Beautiful!

JOSIAH HOOPER:  For a couple hundred U.S. dollars, they've pulled out all the stops.

MARY JO McCONNELL:  They've built me a beautiful house again.  They've put this floor all together with fern fronds.  And they built me a kitchen, and they're now cooking me a dinner with chicken.

JOSIAH HOOPER:  From our base camp, we plan to hike further into the rain forest.  We're on the trail of the creature that's consumed Mary Jo's life for nearly 20 years.

The highlands of New Guinea are home to thousands of plants and animals unknown to scientists, and Mary Jo collects them along the way.

[on camera]  What's that?

MARY JO McCONNELL:  A pitcher plant.  Cobra.  They call it cobra.  It has an antibiotic in it.  He puts it in his ear for an earache.

JOSIAH HOOPER:  There's a bower right up ahead here.

[voice-over]  Finally, through the brush, we see what we came for.  It's called a bower.  Incredibly, a bird the size of your fist made this roof of woven twigs and carefully arranged piles of seeds and berries in front.  According to scientists, the bower is built to attract a female.  The bower with the most striking collection of flowers and seeds will give the bird that built it the greatest chance at finding a mate.

Mary Jo remembers when she came upon a bower for the first time.

MARY JO McCONNELL:  We went through swamps and muck and we saw a bower.  And I just sat down with tears in my eyes.  It was just this green moss mat with flowers beautifully arranged, and I just couldn't believe that a bird could have done this.  So I decided, ``But I wish I could just paint these things.''

That's my Leonardo.  Leonardo always has a feather.  And if he has two, he has them crossed.

JOSIAH HOOPER:  Leonardo is one of four birds Mary Jo has been tracking for years.  She's come to think of him and the others as artists, each with a distinctive style.

MARY JO McCONNELL:  Andy Warhol— he's a very unusual guy.  He's had a tin can that he's had for about 15 years, an old sardine can.  And he usually puts it in a different arrangement.  He'll arrange it with an empty battery or a piece of tape.  And he's not as concerned with composition as he is with making a statement about the way the forest is changing.

It's kind of hard because you don't have an easel.

JOSIAH HOOPER:  Mary Jo starts with a rough sketch of the bower.  As she works, she says, she feels a strong connection to the bird.

MARY JO McCONNELL:  The more I started watching the bird working, and working along with him, the more I realized he was doing exactly the same things I do as I work.  And when I found the bird, I found in the bird a soulmate.

JOSIAH HOOPER:  Mary Jo will work up here for days and never see the elusive bird.  So I went off with the chief to try to find it.

[on camera]  So we're going to bower three?

MOSES SAIBA:  Four.

JOSIAH HOOPER:  Four.  OK.

[voice-over]  Moses leads me to a favorite spot where he says we're sure to find another bower, and hopefully, the bird itself.

[on camera]  And that's the bower bird saying, ``Get away from my bower'' somewhere out here.

[voice-over]  Moses calls them ``the clever ones.''

MOSES SAIBA:  [subtitles]  The significance of the bird was not known to us or our ancestors.  We hunted them.  We abused the forest.  But not anymore.  The first time I met Mary in Hungku, I thought she was just a tourist.  Then she made her paintings, and I realized the Clever Bird nest is very important.

MARY JO McCONNELL:  It's just an amazing place in the world that no one seems to know about.  I can let my fantasies go wild.

JOSIAH HOOPER:  This is where Mary Jo finishes the paintings she began in the forest.  She says her work is one artist's tribute to another.  Mary Jo lives in Marblehead, Massachusetts.  But even here, she's made a life among the birds.

MARY JO McCONNELL:  Hi, Millie!  Breakfast is ready!

JOSIAH HOOPER:  For years, Mary Jo has bred birds of every stripe.  But her walls are a study of the bird that has captivated her the most, the ``clever one'' and its vibrant bowers.

It's a project that's intriguing to more than just artists.  For the last 15 years, Mary Jo has been a kind of secret agent for Harvard scientists, bringing back rare samples from parts of the rain forest few of them ever reach.

GARY ALPERT, Ph.D., Environmental Biologist, Harvard Univ.:  Mary Jo back in the 1990s, in the middle of her project of painting bower birds, showed up here at the museum and volunteered.

JOSIAH HOOPER:  Scientist Gary Alpert is always amazed by what Mary Jo brings back.

GARY ALPERT:  You can see its a very unusual silk bag, and it was full of caterpillars, literally, probably moth caterpillars, larvae.  So it's extremely rare for scientists to ever see these.

MARY JO McCONNELL:  That's fabulous.  Well, that's what I want to do, is just collect all the things that I can from this little micro-environment.

GARY ALPERT:  To have an artist who literally has a sharp eye and a memory and who's painting, and who's going back to the same site year after year, that's golden for our collection.

MARY JO McCONNELL:  They went up a tree, like you do for a coconut, you know, and brought down a case.  And I think maybe they eat the insects inside it.

GARY ALPERT:  They might.

JOSIAH HOOPER:  Mary Jo's happy to be of service to science.  But as she continues her work, she's developed her own theory on the bower birds.

MARY JO McCONNELL:  I'm convinced they're artists.  They have had no formal training.  They have no books.  But they see the same kind of joy and beauty and wonder in something that I see.  Artists all through the centuries have used light in different ways.  I have become over the years so aware of how the bird is using light.  He chooses a place in the rain forest where there's a hole in the canopy and he always faces his bower into the east so he gets the morning light.

Notice how the sun is coming down, making a reflection and making this material shine now.  Can you see that, the shine on there and the shine on here?

Actually, I found a quote in Darwin, who's saying that, ``There's no doubt in my mind,'' he says, ``that the birds find pleasure in building these bowers,'' which made me very happy because there are very few scientists will think that the motivation is anything other than mating or attracting a female.  I want the world to know more about how wonderful these birds are.  This whole land's going to disappear and these bowers are going to disappear, but no one will ever know.

JOSIAH HOOPER:  These days, the people of Hungku are holding onto their land and their way of life, but just barely.  A new road is being built by the Indonesian government, and the local chiefs are being pressured to let the modern world in.

MOSES SAIBA:  [subtitles]  We know the road is helpful to us.  It links us to Manokwori and Ransiki.  But we are not going to allow it to go through Hungku.  We will help the government to develop and expand, but we will still protect the forest.

MARY JO McCONNELL:  The villagers are very concerned right now because many of the chiefs are selling off their land.  There's gold and copper underneath this rain forest, and the game is to first sell off the lumber rights and make some money that way.

JOSIAH HOOPER:  Mary Jo knows the chiefs will sell out if they think it's their only option, so she's developing a project to bring clean drinking water to Hungku.  And she's working with Moses, designing low-impact trails to lure eco-tourists and bird watchers.

MOSES SAIBA:  [subtitles]  In my opinion, we will protect Hungku.  And with the ideas Mary Jo gave us, we can be just as strong as people in Bali or Boston, in America.

JOSIAH HOOPER:  Mary Jo's time in the cloud forest is coming to an end.  Back at the bowers, she's still trying to capture the work of Leonardo and Andy Warhol.  But I suspect the ``clever ones'' will always be one step ahead.

MARY JO McCONNELL:  OK, I think I got it.  I think I got the feeling for it.  I think I know what he's trying to say.  [laughs]