Packaged water is only accessible by a minute fraction of the community population. That means that there is really only one consistent water source for the majority of this community: the swamp.
The swamp receives its supply of water from an underground source and from drainages when it rains. This means that the quantity is higher during the rainy season than in the dry season. When it is not raining, the underground source becomes its greatest supplier. This source does not normally supply enough water to serve the entire community. The situation becomes dire during the dry season. People scoop water from every available hole regardless of quality.
The swamp water is highly contaminated.
"My brother, the thought of drinking from this swamp makes some of us sick. Because some of us do not have the courage to drink from it, we try hard to buy the packaged water from the meager profit we earn," said Fatmata Akai.
First of all, the swamp is under nobody’s control. Everyone behaves the way he or she feels at this source. People flock to this source for different purposes. Some people, for example, use this source for bathing while others use it for laundering. Still, some others use it for farming irrigation.
In all of these cases, care is not given to the source’s sanitation. Nobody pays attention to what the chemicals and dirt from laundering and bathing do to the source. Certainly, poison from detergents ends up in the source. In the same way, this source is contaminated by the gardeners. And it also is open to runoff from the community living uphill from it.
This swamp is not protected and is therefore shared with other wild animals. Some of these are infected with deadly diseases that kill humans. This exposes the people of this community to these deadly diseases.
"I would not drink this water," said our field staff.
What we can do:
We will be drilling this well at The Redeemed Christian Church of God. 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 been pushed to the swamp for their water. By drilling this borehole, community members will be provided with plenty of accessible clean drinking water.
There will be hygiene and sanitation training sessions offered for three days in a row.
Community members will learn how to make a handsfree handwashing station called the "tippy-tap." We 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. We will highlight the need to keep latrines clean, among many other topics.
These trainings will also strengthen a water user committee that will manage and maintain this new well. They will enforce proper behavior and report to us whenever they need our help solving a serious problem, like a pump breakdown.