Mathem is a rural village with most of its vegetation untouched. This community is largely peaceful because most able-bodied men and women are on their farms doing their daily farm chores all day.
The village water source used to be at the center of the community, but people re-located their homes roughly one mile away. It is an entirely open, dangerous source.
The people cut palm trees and lay them across the opening of the waterhole. And they will stand on top of these palm trees to lower the rope and bucket down. This can be a very dangerous act, especially for the kids who can be so playful and lose their balance.
There are no rules around this water source nor attempts to keep the area clean. Some of these people have very little, if any at all, hygiene orientation.
So when they go to this water point, many people deposit all sorts of rubbish around the water area and when they launder near the water, some of the wastewater drains back into the hole.
Some people in this community do some domestic gardening around their homes and come to this source a lot to get water for irrigation.
Because this community lacks clean drinking water, some people will choose to trek to Lokomasama Junction which is about seven kilometers away. And on one these occasions, an elderly man on a motorbike carrying his drinking water hit an elderly lady in this village.
"If I don’t have enough clean drinking water and decides to drink water from another source that is unprotected, I experience stomachache. In extreme cases I suffer from diarrhea," Mr. Abu Sesay said.
Fewer than half of households here have latrines. Some of the latrines here are made of locally produced mud bricks whiles others are made of fabric. The floors are paved with kernel shells from the palm nuts mixed with mud, but the holes are constantly left open with mosquitoes and flies all over the place. The few that have handwashing facilities do not have any water in them.
"I must confess that our state of hygiene in this community is very poor," Mama Boiyoh Kamara said.
"Our farming engagements will not allow us to observe a proper hygiene upkeep. As you have seen most people will go to the bush very early in the morning not minding any hygiene practice. So I cannot tell you that our status is anywhere near satisfactory."
Here’s what we plan to do about it:
There will be hygiene and sanitation training sessions offered for three days in a row.
After our visit, the hygiene and sanitation trainer decided it would be best to teach community members how to build a tippy tap (a handwashing station built with a jerrycan, string, and sticks). They will use these tippy taps for handwashing demonstrations, and will also teach about other tools like dish racks and the importance of properly penning in animals.
These trainings will also build up and strengthen a water user committee that will manage and maintain this well. They will enforce proper behavior and report to us whenever they need our help solving a serious problem, like a pump breakdown.
This borehole will in Mathem Village, which is the best location because there are no latrines nearby.
Our team will drive over the LS200 mud rotary drill rig and set up camp for a couple of nights. Once the well is drilled to a sufficient water column, it will be cased, developed, and then tested. If these tests are positive, our mechanics will install a new India Mark II pump.
This community has struggled to find clean water to drink. By drilling this borehole, people living in Mathem Village will be provided with plenty of safe drinking water.