“Without the well, we would be dead.” It sounds dramatic, but this is what one lady said recently to one of our wonderful helpers, Michel, in Burkina Faso. Michel visited her village because of a death that there had occurred there.
Where is this life-saving well?
Tanghin-Dassouri is a Department in the province of Kadiogo in Burkina Faso, just to the west of Ouagadougou. The largest town, with a population of around 50,000, is also called Tanghin-Dassouri – it is common in Burkina Faso for the Department to be named after the largest town. It should not be confused with the area in Ouagadougou, also called Tanghin!
This news item is about a village, in this Department, called Taonsgho. There is a well there! We know that because Myra’s Wells drilled it back in 2012. It is number 20 on the list of wells that Myra’s Wells has drilled.
Michel’s visit to the village
The reason for the visit was not a particularly happy one. However, what he saw there was very pleasing.
The pump is still working very well after 8 years, dispensing plenty of clean water. The people told Michel that from 6 am until 6 pm, the ladies use the well. When he arrived, there were not so many using it this particular day – many of the ladies were at the wake. Normally, there would be many ladies fetching water. As you would expect, this would be water for drinking, cooking and washing.
However, they have another job to do here – there is a thriving market garden cottage industry. There is an opportunity to grow fresh produce all the year round. The people at Taonsgho are now able to sell any surpus and earn some money. Growing crops needs water and the well makes this possible. The ladies use the pump to water the crops. There are onions, tomatoes and cucumbers all flourishing here, despite the rainy season having finished 8 months ago.
It is not just the ladies using the pump! After 6 pm, it is the men’s turn. They use the pump and take over the job of watering the crops.
What about that quote – “Without the well, we would be dead.”?
It is quite simple. Without the well, the ladies would need to spend a large part of the day going to find water somewhere else. In some places, this can take the entire day. Here at Taonsgho, with water right where it is needed, people can spend the time tending to the crops instead. You can’t water crops if you have to bring the water from a long way away. So, the people here benefit in (at least) three ways:
- They have clean water, on hand, to drink and use for cooking. That immediately improves their heath. Without the well, they would have to walk long distances to find water – and it could be dirty water when they get it.
- Also, they have enough healthy food to eat. Without the well, they may not have had enough to eat. And to walk a long way for water is difficult on an empty stomach.
- In addition, the market garden actively brings in money. That means they can pay school fees and buy other things which they could not afford before – things that we might count as essential, but which would be “luxuries” in Burkina Faso.
So, we can understand why one lady said, “Without the well, we would be dead.”
Here is a link to the previous story about this village.