When we stop and think about it, water affects many areas of life. We are so fortunate in the UK to be able to turn on a tap and have water as and when we need it. Maybe we only realise how fortunate we are when there is a problem with the water supply. That is very rare! But water is not just for drinking.
Welcome to Nabzingm village at Benda Toega on the outskirts of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. As with all the townships around the edge of the capital, it has grown up very quickly. The people in this area had to rely on an open well – and they had to walk 2 km to go there. In the dry season, the open wells always dry up and the one they used here is no exception.
Myra’s Wells provided this lovely new well in March 2018. The people there are obviously enjoying drinking the water.
But water is not just for drinking!
Some of our trustees recently paid a visit to Benda Toega and asked them what it meant to them to have a well. And one lady had an unexpected answer! “My husband has water to make bricks and earn money to feed our family.”
It is obvious really. There is a real demand for bricks. People are moving here to try to find a way of earning money. They need houses. When we say “houses”, don’t image new estates like those being put up here by Bovis or Barratt. They will be small one-room huts, without foundations and either aluminium or straw roofs. But to build them, they need bricks. And to make bricks, you need mud. There is no shortage of red dust, but without water, it cannot be turned into bricks.
So having a pump on hand, it is now possible to make bricks.
Will it dry up the pump?
No. When we drill a borehole we always test the “flow rate” before we accept it as “positive”. The “flow rate” has to be more than 700 litres/hour. “Flow rate” measures the rate at which the source is being replenished by underground rivers and surface water. The amount that can be extracted using a hand pump is less than 700 litres/hour. So as long as we know that the “flow rate” is more than 700 litres/hour, we know that the well is truly sustainable.
And at Benda Toega, the flow rate is 10,000 litres/hour!
What else will the water be used for?
Drinking, cooking, washing – these are obvious, of course. It will also be used for the large numbers of livestock who need water. It will also be used to irrigate crops which can be sold. Some people will be able to make money from selling bread and other food that they can now make easily. Others might choose to make pottery articles using the clay. In other words, water is not just for drinking. It helps fuel the local economy. It frees children from having to make long journeys each day to fetch water and allows them to go to school. In short, every aspect of life is improved.
As another lady said, “It means an end to our suffering.”