Pastor Irvin lives in a small town on the road from Ouagadougou to Gaoua. During Myra’s Wells trustees visit to Burkina Faso in January 2020, he told us that there was a well that needs to be repaired in the town.
How we met Irvin
We were on our way to Gaoua to see some wells that had been drilled recently. There was also a place where the people had asked for a well to be drilled. We wanted to take a look there ourselves to assess its priority in the list of over 60 places that are on our list. None of us knew the way to this village so Irvin came with us to guide us.
Irvin and his wife are very kind people. They have “adopted” a 21 year-old girl who was orphaned and in need to urgent medical care. Their little house is very small and they hardly have room to do this, but that has not stopped them.
There is a well that needs to be repaired
After we visited the village where they wanted a new well, we took Irvin back to his home. While we were driving, we talked to him and it emerged that, near to where he lived, there was the well that needs to be repaired. He told us that, before it became broken, it had been a very busy well.
It is also near to a school. The main road from Ouagadougou to Gaoua runs through the town. The broken well was on the west side of the road – and so is the school. So, people, including children from the school now had to cross the road to fetch water from the well on the east side of the road.
We asked if anyone had assessed the damaged. Yes – they had a quotation from an engineer. It was 240,000 CFA. Don’t be frightened by the number of “0”s! There are approximately 750 CFA to £1. So, this is about £320. Compared with the average cost of new wells – approx. £5,200 – it is not very much. We said we would pay for the repairs.
Four weeks on
When we arrived back in Ouagadougou, we asked Christine to make the arrangements. Then we came home from Burkina Faso. Christine spoke to Irvin and checked the details with the engineer. On 19th February, we were delighted to receive these photographs from Christine. Clearly the people here are very happy to have the pump working again. Judging by the number of containers that are waiting to be filled, Irvin was not exaggerating when he said it was a very busy well.
Making sure that the well continues to operate properly
We will set up a well management committee to maintain this well and make sure that it does not fall into disrepair again. However, this place is not alone in having a well that needs to be repaired. When we find other places like this, we usually ask if it is better to repair the existing well, rather than drill a new one.