This is a good question. After all, we are 2643 miles from Ouagadougou according to www.timeanddate.com. So, it would be difficult to select sites for wells without a lot of help.
Contacts in Burkina Faso
We have three main contacts who are able to help us. Our contacts are Christine (wearing a yellow dress) in Ouagadougou, Boureima (in the purple shirt) who is based about 50 miles north east of Ouagadougou and Jeremy. Jeremy lives in Christchurch, just down the road from our base in West Moors, but he travels to Burkina Faso frequently. Each of these contacts has, in turn, many contacts in different parts of Burkina Faso. Through their church connections, they know pastors and evangelists all over the country. They know the situation in villages in their areas. We are always looking out for more contacts like Christine, Boureima and Jeremy.
We have an application form to establish the situation at places which are nominated. We can’t select sites for wells without having facts. So, when we hear about a place where they would like a well, someone will take the form and go to visit. Often, this is one of our wonderful volunteers in Ouagadougou. It might mean a whole weekend given up as some places can be 250 miles or more away. This is David on a visit to complete a form at Yerganga. The chief and a number of the men from the village will always be there. (We have drilled a well here at Yerganga – click here to read the story.)
What do we need to know before we select sites for wells?
The application form asks obvious questions about the population, not forgetting the cattle who also need water. There are questions about where the people go to find water at the moment. How far away is it? What type of source is it? – open well, proper drilled borehole with a pump, river, lake etc. Are there restrictions on who can use it (there often are)? Does it dry up? Where do they go when it does dry up?
We ask for any stories about the people there. Is there a school? Why should we drill at that place rather then another place? After all, we don’t have infinite resources and almost everywhere needs a well. We also ask about the church situation as we love to know that a well will help with the work of the gospel.
Here is a selection of some of the comments we hear over and over:
“To fetch water, they have to go down to the dirty marshes and dig all over to finish up with a small amount of water after a long wait.”
“There is no school, no hospital, no water.”
“They have to go to Liulougou 10 km for the school, 8 km to get water.”
We ask for pictures. Often, they tell us more than words can.
Decisions, decisions. We must select sites for wells!
Then we have decisions to make. Usually, we end up asking more questions. But, eventually, we have to make a decision. This is difficult. There is so much need. We know how much money we have available and we select sites for wells based on the information we have been given.
At the moment, we have given the go-ahead for 12 more places. We expect to approve more over the next weeks. And, as the Lord makes funds available, we pray that we shall be able to approve more of the 60 other requests we have in the “to do” pile.
Our wells list now has 115 completed wells on it. Click here to view it. We still promise to use 100% of the donations we receive to drill wells and continue, as trustees, to fund all other expenses.