Saturday, June 23, 2012

Water Well



Welcome to Water Well Week here at OPOD. We start with this fine photo  of a couple of guys installing a hand pump on a newly dug well. The picture was taken in Missouri in 1938.

I guess I had never appreciated how important water is until recently. When we think of poverty in Africa, I had always thought of it from the perspective of the need for clean water to prevent disease. As I have spent the summer here, I have learned that there is another critically important issue . . . how far you are from clean water. You see, the further you are from the well, the longer it takes to carry the water to your house (more accurately, mud hut), and the less time you have for other critical activities. If a woman has to walk 45 minutes to the well, and 45 minutes back, that is 1.5 hours consumed just to have water. If she has a well in her village, she could use that 1.5 hours to perhaps raise a few more vegetables, and instead of just barely having enough to eat, she might have a little excess produce to sell, hence obtaining a path to break the cycle of poverty.

Funny we should be talking about water . . . a few days ago I was in the market in town, and ran into a very poor local African guy who has started his own orphanage. The orphanage has 1/2 acre of land, a mud brick dormitory with tin roof and no doors (just openings). He has taken in 20 kids which he takes care of there. He has no support from anyone. The children survive based on the kindness of very poor neighbors. Perhaps a farmer drops off a cabbage for them, or someone gives them a bag of maze. He was eager to show me his operation, so  I went with him to check it out.


I was happy to see that the children were relatively well nourished, and had reasonable clothes. The man who is doing this, Charles, told me that he and the children really wanted to support themselves, but that their biggest problem is that they had no water. They have a garden, but the garden does not produce, because they do not have water. The children have to walk a long distance and carry water, enough for drinking and a little cleaning, but not enough to operate a garden. He said that if they had water, the soil was fertile and they could produce much of what they needed to eat themselves. The children all get up at 5:00 AM each morning, and spend  2 hours reading their Bibles and in prayer. Then they walk to school. They attend a poor public school down the road a ways. In the evening, they go for water, and have a little time for play. Their rooms are completely empty. They each have a bed with a horrible rotted mattress. There is nothing else in the room except beds and mattresses. The food is cooked outdoors on a little jiko wood stove. It really does not get much poorer than this, but thankfully the children are getting food.

I am thinking someone needs to dig them a water well. Oh well, hopefully someone will come along and help these people.

14 comments:

  1. How deep is the water table?

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  2. Can you determine how much it would cost to dig a well and build the system to bring the water to the surface and store it in a safe clean manner? I would bet that the blogers at this site would be willing to provide a relatively small donation so you could make it happen on that end. Put me on your list.

    Perhaps a windmill with an elevated storage tank plus plumbing could be one approach.

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    Replies
    1. Really don't know much about what it will take, but stay tuned, we will see what happens.

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  3. I am not a member of the Rotary Club but I do know that drilling wells is one of their projects in third world countries. World Vision also drills wells sometimes.

    This website gives info on setting up 5 gallon bucket drip systems for watering gardens:

    http://www.bigpictureagriculture.com/2011/06/guest-post-a-plan-for-food-security-in-a-climate-with-weather-volatility.html

    The 5 gallon Bucket irrigation system exists in Kenya.

    Or it might be easier to google gravity drip bucket irrigation.

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  4. We are really blessed by an ample supply of safe clean water.

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  5. Water Aid America - http://www.wateraidamerica.org/donate/give_water_give_life.aspx

    Clean Water for the World -
    http://www.wateraidamerica.org/donate/give_water_give_life.aspx

    Water.org (Matt Damon leads this cause)-
    http://water.org/water-crisis/water-facts/water/

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  6. For their current situation, it would seem that two hours of prayer could be reduced to one or less, or dropped to fewer days so that those hours could (as you noted with the woman) be used for fetching water. The Lord helps those who help themselves, right?
    Maybe they could pray in shifts, sending half the children for water, while the others prayed for their safe return. They could pray for water, but as you know, reality gets in the way of that, as evidenced by the flood (pun!) of replies outsourcing the issue to entities who can actually deliver same.

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    1. I agree with you, if they would spend one day not praying and used that day to get the extra water, then that would be a blessing in it self. Or break up into shifts of praying and getting water. or praying while they went to get water.
      That last one sounds the best to me, prayiong while they get water, and they could do it every day and then their garden would grow a bountiful harvest.

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    2. Anon,
      I will have to respectfully disagree . . . the Bible does not say "the Lord helps those who help themselves". That is a saying of man is not Biblical. The Bible says "Pray Continuously". So, these children have spent the last year in prayer . . . lets see if perhaps those prayers might be answered. :)

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  7. It's nice to know where your daughter got her heart.
    I do hope there is something ticking along in that brain of yours?

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  8. Can you buy wheelbarrows in a nearby town? If so, what is the cost. Wheelbarrows would increase the efficiency of hauling water tremendously. Sending money to Haiti for several currently. Have started an experimental project for putting a wheelbarrow with a family with the understanding that the family will share the wheelbarrow with other families. Excited about the project. Have helped drill many wells. Families still have to carry water long distances.

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