Wasaya is a newly formed community in Lungi, Sierra Leone. What used to be a forest has now been turned into an up-and-coming community with great development hopes. All large trees have been cut down to make room for the newly built homes by people looking to escape the more developed communities' hustle and bustle. It is a well-known place for people to come to harvest palm fruit. All the large and thick bushes have been cut to reveal a stunning landscape.
Since the community is newly formed, it lacks the necessary access to adequate and safe water. The 109 people currently living here rely on water from the swamp for drinking as well as domestic uses. The water is unsafe for consumption. According to interviewees, the reported health consequences of using water from this source range from cholera, diarrhea, dysentery, typhoid, and several stomach illnesses.
"The availability of safe and clean water is a determinant of the growth of any community. The quickest way for a community to develop is to have access to water facilities, schools within the community, and access to medical care," said 70-year-old Bunting Samuels.
There is an open well, but it is not accessible for most community members since it is on private property. Additionally, since it is open, the well is just as prone to contamination as the swamp. So, most people use the swamp anyway because it is open for anyone to fetch water, and not restricted like the private well.
Family members spend a large portion of each day fetching water at the swamp to accommodate their families' water needs. The swamp water is contaminated due to the repeated use of fertilizers on the fruits and vegetable gardens surrounding it. One of the convenient things about the swamp, however, is that the water is always available year-round, even if it is limited during the dry season. When the water reduces, people dig scoop holes into the swamp's mud to access the water. It takes between 10 to 15 minutes round-trip to access any of the scoop holes. It isn't easy to access clean water anywhere in the community.
The children and women make their way to the swamp each morning and afternoon to supply their families with the only available source of water. The best time to fetch water from the swamp is very early in the morning, community members say, before it is greatly disturbed by many people walking in it to fetch it. The quality of water fetched very early in the morning, according to them, is of better quality than the water fetched during the afternoon and evening hours. Morning water, therefore, is used strictly for drinking and cooking, while afternoon water is reserved for doing the laundry, bathing, and other domestic chores.
The proposed project will be the first of its kind in the Wasaya community, and it will help to serve an additional number of homes as development increases. Having access to safe water improves both a community's overall health and the rate at which they are able to develop.
"We suffer to get clean water to drink," said teenager Yeanoah K.
"Since it is my responsibility to make sure there is always clean water available, I am at a loss for words to describe the way that I felt when I heard the great news of getting a borehole in our community. The proposed location is less than a minute walk from my house."
What we can do:
We will be drilling is centrally located and will relieve many people of the long journey to fetch water. This project will relieve the people here of their water challenges.
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 open contaminated well for their water. By drilling this borehole, Wayasa Community 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 hands-free 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 restrooms clean, among many other topics.
This training 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 in solving a serious problem, like a pump breakdown.