During the visit to Burkina Faso in January, we went to a number of villages where they had no accessible clean water. We also met a number of people from similar villages where they had no clean water. They came to meet us in Ouagadougou. They all asked the same question – “Please can we have a well?”
About four years ago, the Burkina government figures indicated that there was a need for 7,500 more wells in the country. Since that time, Myra’s Wells has been able to provide about 110 wells. We know of other similar organisations who have provided about the same number. That still leaves probably 7000 being needed! A year ago, the government promised to provide 1200 wells. So far, there is little evidence of that happening. They simply do not have the resources.
A village where they said “Please can we have a well?”
We turned off the tarmac road and onto a typical compacted dust track. It was very uneven and we reached for the handles in the minibus to hold on tightly. After about 20 minutes, we arrived in the village. The first thing we saw was a good working well. Another 500 metres further on, the minibus stopped outside the church building and we all got out. The pastor greeted us and explained that he would like us to put a well near to this church.
We looked around and the first question we had to ask was, “Where are the houses?” The church was in a small clearing among the trees, but we could not see any houses. So, we explained that we had to put wells were the people live.
Where are the people?
Then we asked how many people come to the church and the pastor said “200”. They must live somewhere! It seems that this village is, actually, six small communities, all of which are about 500/600 metres from the church which is in the middle of them all. A well here would be a central point. So maybe this would be a good place to put a well after all.
Wait a minute though!
What about the one we passed as we came into the village? It is only 500 metres away. And there was not a queue there. That must be fairly central for all the six communities.
As a Christian Charity, Myra’s Wells is committed to providing wells in the places where the need is greatest. The ethnic and religious backgrounds of the people living there are not important. The well is provided as a testimony to the love of God to the people there. However, our funds are limited. At the moment, we have over 60 requests which we judge to have great need of a well.
In many of these requests, people are having to walk 3, 4, 5 – even 7 kilometres (2 – 4 miles) both ways for clean water. These clearly have a greater need than a place where there is clean water available about 1 kilometre away. In other places, they may have open wells or rivers very close. But the water they provide is dirty water. They, also, have much more need than this village.
Of course they need water here at this village. However, the need seems to be greater in other places. Our funds have to go where the need is greatest.
We find it so difficult to say “No”. At this village, we have asked them to send us a sketch map showing where people live and how far it is for them to go to the well we drove past.
As we left, they gave us a gift of a chicken to thank us for visiting. We know they need water – but so do so many other places. We pray for wisdom in using funds wisely! Our promise is that all funds donated will be used to drill wells, not to pay for “marketing” or “promotional” or administrative or travel costs. Our trustees fund these costs personally.
Many other places need wells
At the time of writing, Myra’s Wells has provided 172 wells. This is a link to the full list. However, we constantly receive requests. “Please can we have a well?” Each one is probably needed. While funds are available, we will continue to provide wells in the most needy places.