How a retired police officer led to the drilling of a new well for Transmitter, Sierra Leone

Friday, February 7th, 2020

The options for water for the 430 people who live near 14 Port Loko Road in Transmitter, Sierra Leone were not good. The local water point was open to contamination, leaving people at risk of contracting waterborne diseases. The nearest clean water point took more than 30 minutes to reach meaning that people had to spend about an hour and a half just to get water each day. The final option was packaged water that is not regulated and is too expensive for people like Pa Chester Mansaray, a retired police officer and community leader, to adfford.

Washing clothes in the open water source

“Currently, I am unemployed and cannot sustain paying for it,” he said.

“So, I resort to drinking water from the swamp source and this exposes me to cholera or diarrhea.”

Pa Chester took it upon himself to solve this problem. He wrote a letter to us describing the challenges that he and his neighbors face. But he didn’t stop there. He made a series of follow-up calls and visits to our office to make his case for a well in his community.

Pa Chester didn’t give up.

Pa Chester Mansaray

Our baseline survey team went in and agreed with Pa Chester that this community needed a new well. He kept his hopes high until he finally noticed that the drill team was moving in to drill a new well. He was filled with strong emotions on that day. Pa Chester was thrilled that he was about to have a well in a community that for decades has been without safe drinking water. But he also grieved because the night before he had lost his son due to a snake bite. Despite this tragedy, he still was the first community member to greet the drill team upon their arrival.

Pa Chester played the lead roll in providing community support for the drill team. Any staff that came here during this project went back to our office with good words about Pa Chester’s hospitality.

Installing the pump for the new well

When the well was done and it was time for the dedication, Pa Chester again took charge of ensuring that everyone would be in attendance. His preparation was demonstrated by the provision of a whole musical set for the dedication ceremony. This was all set up even before the arrival of the team.

Pa Chester organized music to attract people to the dedication of the community’s new well. An older woman, Ya Kadiatu, sat at her veranda close to the well and sang traditional songs in a melodious voice. Her songs attracted more people and the singing soon intensified.

Community members celebrate their new well

People were dancing and celebrating when our teams arrived. Everybody around the tap wanted to have their share of the fun. Children were splashing the water and people were filling up their cups to drink from their new well. After the fun time, selected community people came up to deliver short speeches in appreciation of the project.

Pa Chester was the first speaker and his speech was full of thanks and appreciation for the project. According to him, this community has been run on bad drinking water for many years, until now. He particularly glorified the spirit of charity by the donors and the hard work of the organization’s staff that helped make this well a reality.

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